Author: admin

WEBINAR: Hybrid Board Meetings Are Here to Stay

As associations look for ways to improve meeting efficiency and effectiveness post-pandemic, hybrid board meetings that combine in-person and virtual attendance are becoming a permanent fixture. However, while hybrid meetings offer advantages, they also come with potential challenges.

In this on-demand webinar, Matt McEwan of Minutes Solutions, Dave Bergeson of Association Management Center, Jordan Castel of Onboard, and Eileen Murray of the American Epilepsy Society share best practices for creating engaging and purposeful hybrid meetings, structuring agendas effectively, and leveraging technology for seamless execution.

Discover expert advice on engaging virtual attendees and creating an inclusive environment that fosters productivity and collaboration. Whether you’re a board member, association leader, or simply interested in the evolving landscape of board meetings, this webinar provides invaluable insights and practical tips to help you shape the future of your association’s board meetings.

To access the full webinar, simply follow the link provided.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions takes the minutes for ASAE and CSAE boards and committees. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make association meetings more effective and allow staff to focus on the meeting and what they do best.

3 Steps to More Efficient Condo and HOA Board Meetings

Community association board meetings are the primary forum for directors to make formal decisions that affect the community. With so many moving parts and topics to discuss, running effective meetings that make the best use of everyone’s time can be challenging. Here are three strategies for running efficient meetings.

  1. Define the Goal

A clear meeting goal helps keep discussion on track and ensure decision-making is aligned with the association’s overall objectives. A well-defined purpose allows attendees to come prepared with meaningful information or ideas. A goal can build a sense of community and promote decisions that represent the association’s needs and priorities. 

  1. Add a Consent Agenda to the Meeting Agenda

As you build your meeting agenda around what the gathering should achieve, make one of the items the consent agenda. A consent agenda is a list of routine, uncontroversial items that the board votes on as a single proposition. This allows directors to rule on several undisputed topics quickly without discussion, freeing up more time for subjects that require in-depth conversations. Typical topics include: minutes of previous meetings; informational reports or updates; routine financial transactions that directors have already vetted, such as straightforward maintenance or repair work; and formal approval of proposals that were considered thoroughly and were informally agreed to at a previous board meeting. 

Distribute background materials for both the meeting and consent agenda in advance so that board members have time to consider the issues and arrive at the meeting ready to contribute. In particular, participants should resolve concerns or questions about consent agenda items before they meet; they should agree to remove any topics that still need clarification during the meeting and add them to the general meeting agenda for separate discussion. A small number of perfunctory queries about consent agenda items are permissible, but subjects needing more deliberation should have designated time on the broader meeting agenda.

At the meeting, the facilitator should briefly review the consent agenda items; if there are no objections, the board can then vote to approve the entire consent agenda as a single item.

  1. Have a Strong and Active Chair

A capable chair enforces any time limits on the meeting agenda and helps the group reach consensus by professionally and respectfully mediating disputes that may arise during the meeting. A good chair prevents conflicts from escalating and keeps discussion focused on important issues.


Well-run condo and HOA board meetings can have a significant and positive impact on the daily lives of residents. By defining a goal for each meeting, including a consent agenda with the meeting agenda, and having a strong and active chair, associations can improve the productivity and effectiveness of their board meetings and, ultimately, enhance the entire community.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions is a professional, third-party minute-taking company that specializes in prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for community associations. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America, including the Community Associations Institute. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help protect community associations and instill confidence in residents, allowing community managers to focus on operational responsibilities.

PANEL: Strategies for Shaping the Culture of Your Association

Associations have long played a vital role in various industries, providing platforms for collaboration, networking, knowledge sharing, and advocacy on behalf of their members. However, in order to remain relevant, increase member engagement, and attract a younger generation, associations must continuously assess their culture and ensure it aligns with the shared values of the organization.

In this on-demand webinar, Ashley Perkins of Minutes Solutions and Michael Hoffman of Gather Voices provide practical tips and strategies for developing a positive association culture that fosters growth and engagement. They also delve into the importance of effective communication channels and tactics that facilitate collaboration and transparency within associations.

Recognizing that a strong and inclusive culture positively impacts all areas of an association, Perkins and Hoffman stress the significance of active listening. By actively listening to their members, associations can gain valuable insights, measure their culture, gather feedback, and implement changes that lead to the creation of a culture that everyone can be proud of.

Gain expert advice on developing a thriving association culture, learn strategies for soliciting member feedback, and discover the transformative power of creating a culture where every individual feels valued and empowered. To access the full webinar, simply register by clicking this button:

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions takes the minutes for ASAE and CSAE boards and committees. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make association meetings more effective and allow staff to focus on the meeting and what they do best.

Storing and Distributing the Minutes

The minutes are written – now what?

Proper handling of meeting records is key. Important considerations include reviewing for accuracy, making corrections, distribution, filing and storage.

In our years of running a professional minute-taking company working with more than 500 condominium boards across Ontario, we’ve noticed that the management of meeting minutes differs from board to board. Of course, taking minutes is not only good practice, it is mandatory as part of keeping an official minute book under the Condominium Act. But precisely what happens after the minutes are taken and how they are distributed are points of contention.

A central consideration when deciding who should take your meeting minutes is delivery time: often a designated board member, a property manager or a hired third party is enlisted. One benefit of hiring a professional minute taker is that the delivery time of the completed minutes should be clearly disclosed prior to engaging. A deadline should also be set if it is the board secretary who takes the minutes; it can depend on the protocol of the board, but receiving the completed document within one week of the meeting is a good guideline.

Prompt receipt of the minutes allows ample time for them to be reviewed before the next meeting, which improves the efficiency of meetings: instead of analyzing the previous minutes at length for the first part of each meeting, most of the legwork can and should be done via email, weeks in advance. It also reduces potential unnecessary discussion and debate during the meeting, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Distribution, Part 1

Minutes should be submitted to the building manager and the board president, who should take a day or two to review them separately and then compare reviews with one another via email. Next, they should formulate one email to the rest of the board with their suggested amendments in the body of the email and attach a first draft of the minutes. The other directors should be asked to submit their opinions and their own proposed changes by a deadline – three to five days, for example.

Once the board has had the chance to respond, the manager should send the amendments on which there is consensus to the recording secretary or the minute-taking company to be entered into the working copy of the minutes. This sets the stage for efficient board meetings with the goal of getting the previous set of minutes approved and signed promptly. Disputed changes should not be made to the minutes; rather, the board should be notified in advance that those proposed amendments will be discussed at the next meeting.

Once the board agrees on all the amendments to be made to the previous minutes, they can be approved with a formal motion during the next meeting and signed.

Distribution, Part 2

Once minutes are approved, how they should be distributed and stored?

Minutes only need to be distributed to individual owners upon request, in which case it is important to ensure that only the open minutes are released — not the in-camera minutes. In-camera minutes pertain to actual or contemplated litigation, insurance investigations involving the corporation, and items related to corporation employees (not including contracts) and specific unit owners. These items do not need to be disclosed in the regular minutes and the board has the discretion to keep these subjects confidential.

How to Store Minutes

The best solution for filing and storing minutes is a cloud-based system that is available to both board members and managers, making the documents available to all relevant parties.

Condominium records (including minutes) are often misplaced or difficult to obtain because the turnover of board members, management companies and managers is quite common. At Minutes Solutions, we frequently get calls from boards saying, “Can you please send us the minutes for the last two years? We recently got a new manager and the old manager is not reachable.” Or simply, “Can you send these minutes — we can’t seem to find them.”

Keeping minutes and meeting documents on a centralized system allows 24/7 access to board members and managers and solves the issue of misplacing, losing, or not being able to access minutes. Some professional minute-taking companies offer a storage service that does exactly this. With a cloud-based system managed by a professional minute-taking company, boards can limit and regulate access in case anything were to happen with the manager or a rogue board member.

Although every board may have a unique way of distributing and managing their meeting records, following these steps will establish a straightforward protocol to ensure that they are abiding by legislation and providing prompt access to minutes and records.

8 Steps to Great Minute Taking – How to Take Minutes

Meetings play a pivotal role in decision-making, idea generation, and team alignment. A vital component at the center of these interactions is meeting minutes. These seemingly straightforward documents form the foundation of organizational memory, capturing the core of conversations, consensus, and action items. Meeting minutes are a cornerstone for every organization, whether corporate entities or community associations, crucial for reaching resolutions and tracking progress.

As boards often find themselves delving into the intricacies of past deliberations or judgments, the necessity of reviewing meeting minutes becomes apparent. However, this task can become cumbersome, particularly if the minutes are improperly transcribed or challenging to recall. Learning how to take minutes effectively, therefore, proves important for any organization.

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

Understanding the Purpose and Significance of Minutes

To comprehend how to take minutes effectively, it’s crucial to recognize their multifaceted role. Meeting minutes serve as more than just records; they encapsulate the essence of meetings, providing a tangible reference for understanding discussions, decisions, and follow-up actions.

While the task of minute-taking may seem daunting, it is undeniably crucial. Crafting meaningful minutes isn’t solely about transcribing dialogue; it’s an art that demands precision, clarity, and a profound understanding of the meeting. Maintaining a fair and unbiased record of decisions significantly contributes to reinforcing a proactive relationship between the board, management, and all participants.

The Art and Science of Minute-Taking

Minute-taking is a nuanced blend of both art and science, amalgamating structured methodologies with subjective interpretation and effective communication. Scientifically, it involves systematic recording, standardized formats, accuracy, and adherence to compliance standards. It demands technical proficiency and objective representation, ensuring the accuracy and legality of the recorded information.

However, the art of minute-taking lies in selective interpretation, clarity in communication, and contextual understanding. It involves distilling discussions into clear, concise records, capturing not just words but also the essence and implications behind them. The minute-taker must adapt their style based on the meeting’s nature, balancing structured methodologies with adaptability.

8 Steps to Great Minute-Taking

A question that often arises is: How can I ensure I’m taking good meeting minutes? Here are eight tips for crafting a quality set of minutes:

  1. Listen actively: Active listening plays a crucial role in the process of how to take minutes effectively during meetings. It involves more than just hearing words; it’s about understanding the underlying messages, key points, and decisions being communicated. This skill enables the minute-taker to capture not only the facts but also the context, when appropriate. When one masters how to take minutes through active listening, they can accurately record the essence of the meeting, ensuring that the minutes are a reliable and useful resource for all stakeholders. Active listening aids in distinguishing between critical decisions and general discussions, making the minutes concise and focused.
  2. Know what to include: When taking minutes, discretion is necessary. Not every spoken word finds its place in the minutes. Table talk that does not contribute to relevant topics should be omitted. Focus on substantive content; avoid including non-contributory information that does not align with the meeting’s objectives.
  3. Be clear: Minutes should provide a clear snapshot of who participated and the backdrop in which discussions unfolded. 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. List out meeting attendees by name, title, and affiliation or purpose, including guests and representatives.
  4. Be consistent: A good set of minutes maintains consistency throughout, fostering readability and professionalism. From formatting to language use, maintaining a standardized approach across all minutes enhances their accessibility and comprehension.
  5. Use impartial language: Objective language is pivotal in minute-taking. Using impartial language, free from personal biases or affiliations, ensures neutrality and accuracy in recording decisions and discussions. Refrain from writing in the first or second person.
  6. Understand when to use in-camera minutes: Confidential matters require discretion. Items pertaining to employees of the organization, investigations, lawsuits, or specific members or residents typically need to be kept separate in an in-camera section, ensuring restricted access as necessary.
  7. Edit carefully: Key to understanding how to take minutes is understanding how to edit minutes. The integrity of minutes hinges on their accuracy and clarity. Implement stringent editing procedures to refine and enhance the quality of your minutes. Ensure your minutes are properly edited for content, grammar, and syntax.
  8. Structure your notes: Knowing how to take minutes effectively includes systematically organizing your notes. Utilize bullet points or structured outlines to ensure a logical flow, making it easier to comprehend and reference later.

Mistakes to Avoid When Taking Minutes

While mastering the art and science of minute-taking is crucial, steering clear of common pitfalls is equally essential for crafting effective and error-free meeting minutes. Here are some mistakes to be wary of:

  1. Lack of Preparation: Failing to prepare adequately before a meeting can lead to incomplete or inaccurate minutes. Review the agenda and other meeting materials, understand the meeting’s objectives, and familiarize yourself with the topics to ensure you capture the substance of the discussions accurately.
  2. Ignoring Context: A common mistake is overlooking the context of discussions. Ensure that your minutes provide enough context for future readers to understand the rationale behind decisions and action items. Context is key to the comprehensibility of the documented information.
  3. Lack of Clarity in Action Items: Clearly articulating action items is vital for accountability and follow-up. Ambiguous or unclear descriptions of tasks can lead to confusion and hinder the effective execution of decisions made during the meeting.
  4. Inadequate Archiving: Failing to properly archive minutes is a significant oversight. Ensure that you have a secure and easily accessible storage space for your meeting minutes. This step is crucial not only for maintaining legal compliance but also for future reference, audits, or unexpected circumstances where historical meeting records become essential.

By steering clear of these common mistakes, you not only enhance the quality of your meeting minutes but also contribute to the overall effectiveness and professionalism of your organization’s documentation processes.

How Professional Minute-Taking Can Help

While the aforementioned tips can assist in creating a good document, it is equally important to recognize the value of professional third-party minute-taking services. While internal minute-taking efforts may be effective, there are distinct advantages to outsourcing this crucial task to specialized providers.

One compelling reason to consider professional third-party minute-taking services is the assurance of impartiality and objectivity. External minute takers bring a level of independence that can be challenging to achieve internally. Their primary focus is on accurately capturing the proceedings without being influenced by internal dynamics or biases, ensuring a more neutral and objective record of the meeting.

Moreover, professional minute-taking companies often employ seasoned experts who are well-versed in the intricacies of minute-taking. The minute takers at Minutes Solutions, for instance, undergo in industry best practices, ensuring a high level of accuracy, consistency, and adherence to legal and compliance standards. By entrusting minute-taking to skilled specialists, organizations can benefit from a comprehensive and reliable record of their meetings.

Another advantage of opting for professional third-party services is the potential for increased efficiency and time savings. Dedicated minute-taking companies have streamlined processes and resources in place to handle minute-taking efficiently. This allows internal teams to focus on their core responsibilities, enhancing overall productivity and freeing up valuable time for more strategic tasks.

Furthermore, the use of third-party minute-taking services adds an extra layer of accountability to the process. At Minutes Solutions, we have established protocols for and editing, ensuring that the final minutes undergo thorough scrutiny before being presented to the board for approval. This systematic approach minimizes the risk of errors or oversights, providing a higher level of confidence in the accuracy and completeness of the minutes.


Meetings constitute a pivotal aspect of organizational dynamics, playing a central role in decision-making, and the crucial component that sustains the essence of these interactions is meeting minutes. As seemingly straightforward documents, they serve as the foundation of organizational memory, capturing the core of conversations, consensus, and action items.

Whether in corporate or community settings, they serve as a cornerstone for resolutions and progress tracking. However, the process of navigating through these minutes can be cumbersome, especially when improperly transcribed or challenging to recall. Hence, understanding the art and science of minute-taking becomes indispensable for any organization. In addition to following the eight steps for effective minute-taking, it’s equally essential to be mindful of common mistakes that can compromise the quality of meeting minutes.

By recognizing the multifaceted role of meeting minutes and avoiding pitfalls such as lack of preparation, ignoring context, unclear action items, and inadequate archiving, organizations can enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of their documentation processes.

Considering the value of impartiality, expertise, efficiency, and accountability, organizations may find significant benefits in opting for professional third-party minute-taking services. Providers like Minutes Solutions Inc. bring a wealth of experience, rigorous training, and a commitment to industry best practices. Outsourcing minute-taking ensures an unbiased and accurate record of meetings, allowing internal teams to focus on strategic tasks while benefiting from the expertise of dedicated specialists. Board members and management can confidently review the final product, knowing it reflects a professional and unbiased perspective on the proceedings.

In the fast-paced and demanding landscape of modern organizations, the decision to leverage professional minute-taking services can be a strategic investment in the efficiency and effectiveness of organizational processes.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions is your dedicated and trusted ally, committed to enhancing the efficiency and accountability of organizations. As a professional third-party minute-taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for boards across various fields. Since its establishment in 2014, the company has provided minute-taking services for over 45,000 meetings, benefiting more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 150 professionally trained minute-takers in Canada and the U.S. undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices. This unwavering commitment ensures that boards can streamline their administrative processes, allowing them to focus on what they do best.

Why a Manager Should Not Take Minutes

The job of a property manager is a challenging one. They are responsible for coordinating the maintenance of the building, supervising outside contractors for any major projects, keeping in close communication with the board of directors, and managing the daily issues that arise. With many irons in the fire, monthly board meetings can be an extensive amount of work to prepare for. It would seem natural for the manager to also keep the minutes of the board meeting, since they are the ones who are most aware of all of the activity that is happening in the condo. However, there are many reasons that the manager is not the best person for the job.

5 Reasons Why a Manager

Should Not Take the Minutes


1. Impartiality

When aspects of the property manager’s job are being questioned or challenged by board members, it can be difficult to keep impartial and professional minutes. However, it is essential for information to be given that is without bias or emotion. It would be nice if every board of directors got along harmoniously and worked together, but this is not always the case. Residents need to know that they are getting the impartial truth and will not have to question what they are reading.

2. Professionalism

It is easy to get caught up in the “he said, she said” of board meetings. However, minutes from board meetings are not a transcript of every word that was said. In properly formatted minutes, things like decisions, approvals and motions need to be included. Of course, there are things that need to be left on the cutting room floor: he said, she said, table fodder, as well as personal opinions or preferences.

It is also important that minutes are recorded in a proper format that makes the document easily readable, understandable, and consistent from month to month. Points are laid out clearly and succinctly. If they are not, the reader could misinterpret the meaning of the document. Property managers have tremendously demanding jobs. If they are responsible for taking the minutes, editing and formatting may take a back seat to other priorities that require more immediate attention. This, as well as other factors, can cause a delay in their completion and accuracy, if the responsibility to take the minutes falls on them.

3. Active Versus Passive Participation

Robert’s Rules of Order is a parliamentary model for conducting board meetings which provides procedures and rules that permit a deliberative assembly to come up with efficient decisions.[1] It is used by many types of organizations, including the United Nations. Robert’s rules suggest that minute takers are not to be active participants in the conversation.

4. Minutes That Will Stand up in Court

Minutes are an official and legal record of a meeting. Having properly documented minutes is required under the Condominium Act. Unfortunately, there are times when minutes are required in the event of a lawsuit. No one wants their corporation to be liable because of minutes that were not taken properly. Clear and concise minutes will only help a corporation in the case of a potential lawsuit.

5. CMRAO Code of Ethics

The CMRAO stands for The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario and is a self-funded non-profit corporation that is accountable to the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS).[2] This corporation helps managers and management companies by providing protection in the increasingly popular condo market in Ontario. The Code of Ethics gives the rules that condo managers and management companies need to follow.  One of the requirements covered by the Code attempts to prevent fraud, error or conflict of interest.  Having a manager or board member take the minutes can be a conflict of interest.

Possible Solutions

So That Your Minutes Are Done Properly


1. Using a Board Member to Take Minutes

It is important for the property manager to be fully engaged in a meeting. One way to do this is to use the board secretary or another board member to record the minutes. Although it is not ideal, it is a better option than having it fall to the busy property manager.

2. Hiring a Third-Party Minute Taker Is Well Worth the Investment

The best possible solution is to find a trusted third-party minute taking company to record the minutes for your meetings. This will ensure unbiased and honest records about the decisions the board is making. Just as you would use a real estate agent to sell your home, trust only a professional with the important details about your condominium. Using a professional will give residents confidence and trust in their condominium board and manager. Happy residents ultimately make the job of a property manager much easier.



Why Minutes are Important for HOAs & Condos

Taking minutes for an HOA or condo meeting can be arduous, intimidating, and a misunderstood procedure. But make no mistake, meeting minutes are crucial and – if taken incorrectly – could cost the community financially.

Condo board meeting minutes are not supposed to be a verbatim recording of what happened at the meeting, but rather they are an official record of the decisions taken by the board of directors. It is where the motions, votes on motions, action items, and notations of items tabled for a future meeting are memorialized. These minutes play a pivotal role in maintaining transparency and accountability within the community.

They are a living written history of the association and provide a linear record of the decisions made over the tenure of many boards of directors. Minutes should be kept for many years and, depending on where you live, there are often time horizons given for how long they are to be kept. They provide continuity and if there is a lawsuit, condo board meeting minutes are considered a significant evidentiary document.

This is why it is critical that minute taking is done properly. Boards often consult the meeting minutes to resolve conflicts and incorrectly taken minutes may instead escalate a dispute. The accuracy and clarity of these minutes can significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of board decision-making.

Some associations adapt an established set of rules of order such as Robert’s to their own needs to run their meeting. Rules of order give specific direction on how a meeting is conducted and how the meeting minutes should be recorded.

Unless the organization’s governing documents are specific as to who is responsible for composing the condo board meeting minutes, almost anybody can do this task – but this does not mean anybody should. The importance of accuracy in these minutes cannot be overstated, as they serve as a legal record of the board’s actions.

Minute taking is sometimes done by the property manager or directors on the board – often the secretary. Look at your governing documents to see who is responsible for the minutes and in most cases, it will be the secretary. But while the board’s secretary is the keeper of the association’s important documents including the minutes, it does not mean they have to – or should – actually write them. Having a board member take minutes sidelines a key decision maker who may be too distracted by the task of writing about the meeting to actually contribute to it.

Another option is to engage a third party to take the minutes. These services provide clients with a professional who is well-versed in what must be in condo board meeting minutes and what should not be. A professional minute taker is experienced at documenting the board’s decisions in objective language, which may protect directors from liability in the event of a legal dispute. Minutes by an outside recording secretary have more credibility because the individual who took them wasn’t also involved in making the decisions for the association.

A professional minute taker is also unbiased from the point of view that they are not involved in ownership of any units in the building or home and have no vested interest in the financial outcome or decisions. Thus, allowing them to create minutes on exactly what happened at the meeting and not have the urge to skew the minutes in their favor for a potential financial gain.

Conversely, emotional arguments of who said what are not necessary or advisable in condo board meeting minutes and can even end up making individual board members personally vulnerable in a lawsuit.

Once the meeting minutes are voted upon in a subsequent meeting and approved, they become the official record of the association. This means that they are subject to inspection by the members of the association. Paper copies of board minutes are nice, but lots of documents get lost, and it is always a good idea to digitize them and put them in a folder such as Google Drive that resides in cyberspace. If your association or management company has a fire or flood, and the minutes are lost, that can cause a big problem for the governance of the association.

If you digitize and put them in cyberspace, you can keep the minutes for as long or as little as needed and there is extraordinarily little cost to keep them. There may be great cost of not having them done right and not keeping them for a minimum of at least seven years. To paraphrase an old credit card commercial…Don’t leave a meeting without them.

Minutes Solutions

Minutes Solutions is a professional, third-party minute-taking company that specializes in prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for community associations. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 45,000 meetings for more than 3,000 communities and organizations across North America, including the Community Associations Institute. Its cohort of over 125 professionally trained minute takers in Canada and the US undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help protect community associations and instil confidence in residents, allowing community managers to focus on operational responsibilities.

Benefits of Virtual Meetings

There is no doubt that the last few months of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the rise of virtual meetings. While it might seem like online meetings would make holding discussions or developing processes disjointed, there are several advantages of virtual meetings – especially when gathering in person is difficult or impossible.

Many condo boards have recognized the importance of meeting virtually to keep the board, owners, management, and service providers informed on next steps, decisions, and actions. Whichever platform your corporation has chosen to use, the following advantages of virtual meetings will help ensure progress when physical distancing is encouraged or required.

1. Virtual meetings accomplish the tasks and processes that wouldn’t otherwise be possible

As the phases of reopening are varied, the option of meeting in person might not be a possibility, or desire, for every board. For condominiums in particular, this raises concerns around the ability to not only hold board meetings but also other larger and equally important gatherings such as town hall meetings or annual general meetings (AGMs). Virtual platforms overcome the physical obstacles by allowing those meetings to take place anyway and for decision-making processes to move forward in an informed and timely fashion.

Without virtual meetings, board meetings and owners’ meetings might not be possible. This results in your board putting off decisions and actions that need to be addressed now. Therefore, one of the key benefits of virtual meetings is that they allow those next steps to take place and for tasks to be accomplished that could not otherwise be completed when in-person meetings are challenging or out of the question.

2. Virtual meetings are effective and efficient

Virtual meetings make the decision-making process more productive and efficient. Sometimes progress can only be achieved with regular verbal and visual check-ins and ongoing communication — a tangled e-mail thread amongst board members and management just won’t cut it. Virtual meetings keep things moving.

Especially when accompanied by an agenda, a virtual meeting tends to keep attendees focused. Although online attention spans can be shorter, this creates a sense of urgency to efficiently address the agenda. There is less table talk and more productive conversation and streamlined decision-making — boards can concentrate on action items and execute them effectively. Face-to-face online conversations between team members keep the flow of decisions and actions moving forward and keep organizations and boards up-to-date and on track.

3. Virtual meetings are cost-effective

In this time of financial difficulty, most corporations are seeking savings wherever possible. One of the most important benefits of virtual meetings is their ability to significantly lower overhead costs, including expenses related to travel, venue rental, and the refreshments typically provided at in-person meetings. Additionally, virtual meetings can lead to a reduction in meeting materials and office expenses. For instance, hard copies of documents, which are often printed for in-person gatherings, can be substituted with electronic copies presented virtually using screen-sharing features. This approach is not only cost-effective but also very environmentally friendly.

4. Virtual meetings are universally accessible

The accessibility of virtual meetings is second to none and ensures that all the people who need to attend can do so. All one needs is a device with an internet connection (e.g., smartphone, tablet, or computer) or an old-fashioned telephone.

Another of the many benefits of virtual meetings is that they open the opportunity for additional parties to easily attend. This could include other teams within your corporation, service providers, or your minute-taker, if you use an external vendor. The accessibility of virtual meetings is reason enough to take your discussions online to ensure that those who need to participate can and are comfortable doing so.

Conclusion: The organization that meets together stays together

The changes to the way meetings are being conducted right now don’t mean that your processes will be ineffective. Take your meetings online to keep your corporation on track and moving forward through good virtual communication to allow for streamlined discussions and decision-making. The cost-saving and accessibility benefits of virtual meetings facilitate these needs, and they are key elements in maintaining the viability of your team as you move through challenging times together.

In-Camera vs. Restricted Records

There have been some recent decisions regarding the use of the term “in-camera”. Minutes Solutions has reviewed the decisions and discussed them in detail with our legal counsel. Here, we would like to clearly set out the main issues of each case and our stance going forward. The recent decisions are summarized below:

Decision 1: The main issue being the original request for minutes did not result in all of the minutes being provided. There was a lack of explanation as to why certain portions of the minutes were not provided, and why they were redacted. (Robinson v. Durham Condominium Corporation No. 139, 2021 ONCAT 81)[]

Decision 2: The main issue being the original request for minutes did not result in all the minutes being provided and an overall lack of good minute taking practices by the board. (Russell v. York Condominium Corporation No. 50, 2021 ONCAT 103)[]

Decision 3: The main issue being the original request for minutes did not result in any minutes being provided and a complete lack of response by the board. (Zamfir v. York Condominium Corporation No. 238, 2021 ONCAT 118)[]

The takeaway from all three cases is not only the importance of good minute taking and record keeping, but also the erroneous use of the term “in-camera”, which is not referenced in the legislation governing these decisions. Overall, it is critical to ensure that each request for records is in alignment with the requirements of the applicable legislation and regulations for your region.  As a result of these decisions, Minutes Solutions will no longer be utilizing the term “in-camera” and instead will use the term “restricted records” as we feel it is a more applicable term for our clients, no matter the region.

If there is a request to review records (from a person or entity that is allowed to see the records) the Board is responsible for providing the minutes and ensuring that there are no records omitted, either purposely or unintentionally. If there is a requirement for any redactions to those minutes, then the board must ensure that there is a reason supplied for each redaction.

Minutes Solutions is of the opinion that separating open minutes and restricted records has proven to be a benefit. Separate sets provide ease and efficiency for our clients, particularly in instances where redacting is required. Separate sets help the person redacting the minutes to identify which items are likely to contain portions that should be blacked out. Requesters have the right to review restricted records as long as the appropriate redactions have been made.

We are happy to continue providing minute taking services for restricted records for our clients and will continue to do so for all clients we currently provide this service for. If you no longer wish to receive a separate document with ‘restricted records’ please let us know and we will stop. Ultimately, we will continue to operate with the best interest of our clients at heart.

The Future of Board Meetings

Virtual Minute Taking

Like lots of things lately, communication as we know it has changed and virtual meetings have gone from a begrudged necessity to the comfortable new norm across the corporate landscape. With lots of the commonly experienced technical difficulties ironed out over the last year, organizations are now finding that their processes can carry on as normal despite the limitations on gathering in-person. In fact, lots of businesses have found that many of their processes have actually improved due to the en-masse introduction of virtual and hybrid meetings.

This is because online technology has flexibility and staying power: the convenience of meeting virtually wherever participants are located physically will stick around post-pandemic and complement face-to-face gatherings even after restrictions are lifted.

And it won’t just be a choice between meeting in-person or virtually — the technology expands the meeting possibilities to include a hybrid option as well, allowing for a combination of both.

There are many benefits for going fully virtual with meetings or utilizing a hybrid approach, so let’s explore the differences between the two.

All Virtual

Firstly, an all virtual meeting means that every participant logs in to the meeting and attends remotely. They can do so from anywhere in the world and thanks to the pandemic, this has become commonplace across many industries and businesses.

The advantages of virtual meetings are many and as a result, they will likely dictate post-pandemic professional gatherings. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of going fully virtual.

More flexibility for scheduling. Before virtual meetings became commonplace, attendees often experienced scheduling difficulties — participants were expected to be on-site, for example, sometimes well outside regular office hours. Now it’s as simple as dialing in from home where you are able to simply log in after dinner, hold the meeting, and still have family time afterward.

And with participants dialing in from their homes or preferred work locations, it has never been easier to reschedule should a last-minute conflict arise for one of the key members. Availability in general has also increased, which has consequently facilitated further flexibility.

Always start on time. Eliminating the commute to a meeting also increases the chances of them starting on time. Traffic jams or half-eaten meals are no longer issues — you’re already at your workspace and you’re covered. (You may, however, want to keep your video off while you finish breakfast).

Increased efficiency. People love to chat when gathering face-to-face, which can slow the decision-making process and decrease efficiency during a meeting, especially for a larger conference. Virtual interaction has become so popular in the past year for both the personal and business realms that online work meetings now tend to cut right to the chase. This is down to the fact that if we’re going to spend extra time on a video chat, we likely want this time to be spent with loved ones.

Dial in from anywhere. Perhaps the most obvious of all of the advantages of going fully virtual for meetings is that attendees can take part from anywhere in the world. This makes accessibility incredibly simple and most online platforms even provide the option to dial in via telephone if you’ve really gone off the grid and are without Wi-Fi. This makes meeting attendance possible from anywhere with nothing more required than a phone line.

An influx of new knowledge. After nearly a year of restricted physical contact, even the most tech-reluctant now have some comfort level with engaging online, whether for work or personal socializing with family or friends. These technological skills now go beyond virtual meetings and add up to a better understanding of computers overall. This boost in general computer literacy will inevitably lead to increased productivity in the workplace whether you’re at home or in the office.

Share screens, save trees. An ecologically friendly approach to business is something that is growing in importance in the modern era. With screen-sharing becoming the new normal when discussing documents in online meetings, hard copies of reports and supplementary materials have become obsolete in favour of digital copies and counterparts. Paper waste is reduced when our minds are trained to accept these documents in their virtual form, which is fast becoming the norm in society.

Hybrid Meetings

Of course, there are still lots of scenarios in which face-to-face interaction is beneficial. Enter the hybrid meeting — a combination of virtual and in-person contact and a form of meeting that in turn, utilizes the benefits of both. But what does a hybrid approach to business communication look like and when should you use it?

Guests dial in. The organization’s key players are able to physically distance together in a large conference room while guests such as industry experts or those conducting virtual minute taking can dial in via teleconference. This helps to limit all in-person interaction to essential participants only which is often required, especially in recent months.

Site visits. Some projects require industry professionals, such as engineers or technicians, to investigate on-site issues, provide recommendations, and undertake critical work that is simply impossible to carry out virtually. When multiple eyes must be on a project, an in-person exploration by one individual with the remaining meeting participants attending by video chat can get the job done effectively.

AGMs. Some routine decisions to be made during an AGM are a no brainer for the virtual platform, while other more sensitive or important decisions such as the election of new board members for example, can benefit from a personal touch. This is where a hybrid AGM can make sense: features such as the approval of the previous AGM minutes and presentation of the president’s report can occur virtually, while voting and the question-and-answer portion can be held in-person. When the weather improves, hybrid meetings will be even more desirable. There will also be many opportunities for outdoor physical distancing for larger meetings or for items requiring in-person discussion or a vote.

One Last Key Ingredient

Even though comfort with online meetings has increased across the board, the proceedings always need at least one individual who knows the technology inside-out and can take the lead on logistics. Particularly for a major meeting such as an AGM, if your organization doesn’t have an in-house tech guru, consider using a professional virtual meeting platform whose services include providing an experienced and capable moderator.

A meeting plagued by tech issues can make your organization appear unprofessional and incompetent. Even worse, with an absence of dedicated software and an objective third party monitoring the proceedings, important decisions that require a vote could be misrepresented or mishandled, which could put your organization in legal jeopardy. Be sure to reserve your professional platform well ahead of time, though – it’s common for the schedules of virtual governance platforms to be filled months in advance.

The Future of Board Meetings – A Summary

To summarize, the future of board meetings is a virtual future, and one that embraces and works with the changes brought about due to the pandemic. The advantages of going at least somewhat virtual are hard to ignore and the simplicity of either a fully virtual or utilizing a hybrid approach means that it’s a bit of a no-brainer for most businesses.

With benefits to participants and businesses on a wider scale such as increased accessibility and flexibility, reduced environmental costs and travel costs, better engagement, and more, virtual and hybrid approaches look set to dominate the boardroom for years to come.

Get in Touch with Minutes Solutions

Minutes Solutions Inc. provides virtual minute taking and transcriptional services for organizations of all kinds. Our team are highly skilled and well-trained when it comes to virtual minute taking and we approach every task with high levels of accuracy and professionalism, working strictly to your requirements and timescales.

To find out more about our virtual minute taking or transcriptional services we provide, or to receive a free quote, please get in touch today. And to book a meeting or view your current meetings, visit our Client Portal.