Category: General

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.

Virtual Meeting Options


Virtual technology has greatly increased the options for taking part in meetings. It’s hard to believe there was a time when we were relegated to only meeting in-person. The possibilities for meeting are now virtually endless — pun intended. Even before the new reality of COVID-19 and social distancing, many organizations had largely moved to virtual meetings to promote engagement, flexibility, traffic reduction, and time optimization, to name just a few advantages.

We have seen our clients migrate in this direction since now — and for the immediate future — virtual meetings are essentially the only option. At first the choices can be overwhelming, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the technology. We have outlined some of the most versatile virtual solutions that are available to everyone. Before using any of the options below, make sure you are doing your own research to learn about each platform and picking the one that works best for your organization.

Online Meeting

Real-time virtual meetings are an excellent alternative to in-person meetings and are easily facilitated through a wide variety of online software platforms. A good option for virtual board meetings is webinar software. This option also works well for AGMs and other owners’ meetings as this software typically has a chat window for viewers to pose questions in real time or to virtually “put up their hand”.

Good choices of conferencing/webinar software are:


Full-Service Solution

Minutes Solutions’s full-service virtual meeting option takes care of all the scheduling and hosting details for you. We organize the meeting with a virtual link and a dial-in number, invite your attendees, assign a minute taker, and then hand the meeting over to you.

Phone Call/Conference Call

One of our recording secretaries can call into a direct phone line, or a bridged conference line, in order to attend and create the minutes remotely.

Recorded Meetings

Most virtual solutions for hosting meetings have a “record” capability. If you record the meeting, we can convert the recording into a comprehensive set of minutes.

Equipment and Meeting Preparation

With the new normal we are all trying to navigate, meeting virtually is something that must play a major role. For a high-quality, virtual broadcast, you will need a laptop or smartphone with a strong Internet connection. And of course, structure and planning are just as imperative for successful virtual meetings as they are for in-person ones.

If You’re on Time, You’re Already Late

Ever rushed into a meeting in the nick of time and pretended to have your bearings, even though your mind was racing to catch up? The meeting starts, but wait, you haven’t opened your template or pulled up your agenda! Your laptop isn’t plugged in and you didn’t have a moment to learn everyone’s names. You manage to focus after about 10 minutes, but by then you’ve likely missed a piece or two of critical information. Later, when you’re editing, you’re spending twice the time you normally would combing through the recording (if you had time to set up your recording device at all!)

Who hasn’t had a boss turn the phrase, “If you’re on time you’re already late”? In the world of minute taking, where motions can signify the movement of massive dollar amounts, this certainly holds true. Being late affects you in several ways:

You look unprofessional

Being on time “gives others insight into how you view them and yourself.” —

In the professional world, meetings begin at the proposed start time. Period. When building a professional relationship, employers may not want to work with you again if they think there is even a possibility you will be consistently late. Tardiness can make it seem like you don’t take yourself, or your profession, seriously.

There is no excuse

In the modern world, there are many technologies that help us to be on time. Between transit tracking apps and maps, we have several different ways to move through the city. If there is a personal or family emergency, be honest and communicative. Everyone knows you’ve got a cellphone, so use it.

Lateness causes stress

Being late does not just stress out your employer, who is counting on you to deliver a professional document that begins with the start of the meeting, the call to order. A survey of 2,000 adults by natural health company A.Vogel found that 81% said “being late is the No. 1 cause of [my] stress.” We don’t like to be late, so why do we do it? It just might be that those habits seem impossible to break.

How to Break the Tardiness Cycle

Being late will continue to affect your job performance until you take steps to improve your habits. Here are some simple adjustments to get yourself on track:

  • Plan for trouble: Always add 25% to your estimated travel time.
  • Pack your bag well before you have to leave: God forbid you end up without the materials or technology you need when important information is at stake.
  • Use tech: There are several time-tracking apps you can download on your phone to log your actions and learn how long typical tasks take to complete.
  • Trick your calendar: Schedule events in your calendar for 10 minutes earlier than they actually take place so your reminder comes a little early.


It may feel hard to change when you’re used to relying on the fastest travel times or trying to squeeze in one more email before you head to work, but with persistence, your efforts will be noticed and appreciated by employers and colleagues alike.


The Importance of a Good Agenda

Ever been in a meeting that was called about a certain topic, only to find that some completely irrelevant tangent ends up dominating the discussion?

A critical tool for keeping a meeting productive and on track is the often-underestimated agenda. Preparation is key to crafting a clear, defined road map that sets the framework for an efficient and functional meeting, even if the dynamic isn’t particularly harmonious.

If a board doesn’t use an agenda for its meeting, or relies on one that isn’t well thought out, it can end up having a wide-ranging, aimless discussion that achieves nothing.

The following steps show how to craft a good agenda that will mitigate redundant conversations and poor time management in meetings and ensure the group gets to the point quickly and stays focused.

1. Define the goal

Before putting down the first agenda item, answer this question: “What do we want to accomplish at this meeting?”

The person drafting the agenda should understand the priority of each topic to be discussed and develop a hierarchy of points that need to be covered to build a strong skeleton for the meeting. Reviewing the previous minutes in advance is a good practice as there may be subjects that are carried over from one meeting to the next. This gives the agenda a clear direction.

2. Everything has its time

In an ideal world, every topic can be discussed effectively during a meeting. The reality is: the longer the meeting, the greater the chance of attendees losing focus. Pick subjects for the agenda that require planning or action soon, not far down the road. For example, a discussion about snow removal next winter might not get on the agenda for a May meeting, whereas cleaning a parking garage or outdoor pool maintenance should make it on if decisions are required more imminently.

Suggesting a time limit beside each topic reminds participants they must keep their comments concise and relevant in order for the meeting to adjourn on time.

3. Drafting the agenda

When actually writing the agenda, topics should be outlined clearly and succinctly and can be listed in order of priority. Much like a concise resume, an agenda should be no more than one page. This sets the tone for the meeting — too many topics from the get-go can seem overwhelming.

Of course, there are standard items that should be on every agenda, such as:

  • Who the meeting is for (organization name)
  • Date/time/location
  • Call to order
  • Approval of agenda
  • Date/time of next meeting
  • Termination

The content between these headings is what is most important in creating an agenda that will deliver the desired outcome of a board meeting. For example, if one objective is to review the manager’s report, then “Management Report Review” should be one of the headings, with subtopics below. Subtopics act as an agenda within an agenda and add clarity and direction.

A good agenda is futile if nobody enforces it. The meeting chair should use the agenda as a roadmap and, if conversations stray off-topic, it is the chair’s duty to get everyone back on track. Long meetings can be costly and ineffective, and an agenda can act as the first checkpoint to ensure meetings stay on course.

The goal of a meeting is to reach outcomes and decide tasks or next steps. With a good agenda and someone to enforce it, the meeting has a much better chance of being efficient and successful.


Why Minutes Matter

A question we often get is, “Does my company need to take official minutes?”

The short answer is “yes”.

Consider an energetic start-up we will call Company X, which recently contacted us with a predicament. Over the course of 36 months, Company X had been busy building value and turning the heads of some significant industry competitors. The atmosphere was nimble and frenzied. The board of directors and shareholders held countless meetings and growth was rapid.

Everything was moving in the right direction, and up stepped a potential buyer that, in practicing due diligence, requested Company X’s minutes. Regrettably, Company X couldn’t deliver.

Amidst all the booming business and chaos of running a start-up, nobody at the firm had considered the importance of taking (and keeping) proper minutes in a centralized, easy-to-access platform. The prospective investor was unwilling to commit millions of dollars to a corporation that did not have a proper maintenance record of its history. But after the fact, nothing could be done morally or ethically to satisfy the request.

So the deal fell through.

That’s a particularly painful way to learn that most for-profit and non-profit entities in Canada and the U.S. must maintain corporate records including official meeting minutes – they are often mandated by law. Legislation aside, meeting minutes can be used as a roadmap for an organization — what takes place in meetings often addresses what has happened in the past and determines the entity’s direction moving forward.

Over time, minutes serve as a history of an organization — sometimes the only unbiased, officially recorded one. Even through the turnover of staff or directors, documented meetings may be the sole objective reference of an entity’s development. As we all know, memory can not only be fickle, but biased as well. It is therefore critical that all corporations — be they for-profit or non-profit — know what kind of record-keeping is required under the legislation that governs their industry and that they formalize a method of taking minutes, either internally or via a professional third party.

Company X’s cautionary tale demonstrates that while minute taking may seem mundane, overlooking this crucial – and often mandatory — job can result in paying a high financial price.

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Minutes Solutions.

Minute Taking – What Are The Options?

In a corporate world where minute taking and prudent record keeping are paramount, we often get the question: “What are my options?” There are several — but ignoring the notion altogether is not one of them.

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, minutes serve as a “maintenance record” for your organization. Whether you belong to a non-profit, an association, a corporation or a condo community, the importance of minutes remains consistent. Not only do minutes serve as a record of what has been done and a map of the road ahead, they are also mandated by legislation. Not taking minutes can come with consequences.

Often the secretary of the board takes the minutes, but when that officer also needs to participate in the meeting, managing both tasks can be overwhelming and ineffective. This is where hiring a professional, third-party minute taker serves a very practical purpose.

Let’s look at the options.

In-person: Corporations seeking a third-party recording secretary can hire someone — whether an individual or from a company — to physically attend the meeting and objectively capture the salient points. An in-person minute taker has benefits: meeting participants observe that someone is encapsulating the discussion and questions can be asked. However, depending on the location, a trained, third-party minute taker may be difficult to find.

Dial-in: For clients in less densely populated areas, where professional minute takers may be scarce, dial-in can be a practical solution. A recording secretary who dials into the meeting virtually, from anywhere, gets around the logistics of needing to hire a qualified individual locally. Although some corporations find comfort in having the minute taker present — since body language and physical presence can lend nuance to discussions — this virtual solution is comprehensive. To have the minutes done properly, the clarity of the dial-in connection is imperative and scheduling in advance is still necessary since the minute taker must call in at the client’s appointed meeting time.

Recording: For corporations that hold either very frequent or impromptu meetings, the importance of having them transcribed remains the same. This is where having the minutes taken from a recording is the most sensible solution.

The chair announces at the start of the proceedings that the meeting is being audio recorded with the purpose of having it minuted. After the meeting, the recording can be sent via a variety of methods to a minute taker who turns it into a comprehensive set of minutes to submit to the client. As with the dial-in option, it is imperative that the recording is good quality and can be deciphered by a third party. If certain people or comments need to be identified, the speaker must state that. Holding a meeting in this manner may take some getting used to, but we find that after a short period of adjustment, clients appreciate the flexibility this option offers.

Strong fundamentals are key: Regardless of which method you employ, it’s wise to ask whoever you hire specific questions to ensure your preferences and needs are considered and everyone is on the same page. The minutes can only be as good as the group allows them to be: ensure the meeting has a strong agenda and that participants speak clearly, and acknowledge that an objective third party is distilling the conversation to provide you with a quality set of minutes.

Choosing a Minute Taker

Minute taking can be a daunting task but it needs to be done to keep proper records of a board’s decisions and to serve as a road map of past, present and future plans.

A board member or property manager is frequently tasked with taking the minutes, however, this can disrupt the flow of a meeting as it prevents the assigned minute taker from actively participating in the discussion. This can also cause the minutes to be subjective instead of objective and unbiased. It takes a specialized group of skills – and often proper training – to understand how to put together a clear, concise and objective set of minutes.

A lot of light has been shed on the importance of taking and keeping minutes recently. If a board lacks a designated, detached minute taker who isn’t required to actively participate in the meeting, a good solution is hiring a third-party minute-taking company. In that case, there are options.

Three good questions to ask the minute taking company you are vetting:

1.       Can you provide three recent referrals?

2.       How do I know the individual you are sending into my meeting is qualified?

3.       How quick is your turnaround time for a completed set of minutes?

For all your questions about minute taking and everything involved, contacting Minutes Solutions may be your first step to a stress-free solution.