Every board has come across circumstances where meeting minutes needed to be reviewed in order to understand the details of a past discussion or decision. Wading through minutes can be a very cumbersome experience, especially if they are not properly transcribed or easily recalled.
Minute-taking can be a daunting task, but it is also crucial. Keeping a fair and unbiased record of decisions can go a long way toward reinforcing a proactive relationship between the board, management and the condo’s residents.
A question that often comes up is: How can I make sure I’m taking good meeting minutes?
Here are eight tips for crafting a quality set of minutes:
- Understand the purpose of minutes: Minutes should serve as a tangible summary of what was discussed at a meeting – keeping them relevant and succinct requires keen attention.
- Know what to include: When taking minutes, discretion is necessary. Table talk that does not contribute to relevant topics (he said she said) should be omitted.
- Be clear: If a future board member recalls past minutes, they should be able to clearly identify who was present and understand the context of what took place.
- Be consistent: A good set of minutes maintains consistency throughout. This includes the way parties are addressed, nomenclature, titles, formatting, spacing, and motions.
- Identify who is in attendance: The attendants of the meeting should be clearly identified by name, title and affiliation or purpose. This includes guests and representatives.
- Use impartial language: Refrain from writing in the first or second person. Avoid using pronouns such as “I”, “we”, “us” or “you”, even if you belong to the board.
- Understand when to use in-camera minutes: Items pertaining to employees of the corporation, investigations, lawsuits, or specific units, should be kept in a separate in-camera section.
- Edit carefully: Ensure your minutes are properly edited for content, grammar and syntax. If using a third party, inquire about their editing methods or processes.
Although the aforementioned tips can assist with creating a good document, it also important to remember that minutes remain completely objective. Board members and management are encouraged to carefully review the final product, prior to approval, as a thorough review of the minutes will help mitigate discrepancies.
And finally, now that you have put together a comprehensive set of minutes, make SURE the document is properly archived – you never know when you’re going to need it!