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What are Robert’s Rules?

Meetings are a vital part of organizational communication. It’s where decisions are made, plans are formed, and ideas are exchanged. However, without structure, meetings can become chaotic and unproductive. This is where Robert’s Rules of Order come in, providing a framework for conducting meetings efficiently and democratically. But what are Robert’s Rules and where did they come from? In this article, we’ll answer that question and look at the pros and cons of using Robert’s Rules of Order for your meetings.

Who is Robert?

The “Robert” in Robert’s Rules of Order is Henry Martyn Robert, a U.S. Army officer. Faced with the task of leading a church meeting in 1863 and not finding suitable guidelines, Robert was inspired to develop a standard set of rules for orderly and fair meetings. His initial rules were published in 1876 as “Robert’s Rules of Order,” and they have been a cornerstone of parliamentary procedure ever since.

The Genesis and Evolution of Robert’s Rules

Robert’s motivation was to bring order to the chaos he witnessed in meetings. He compiled and adapted various parliamentary procedures to create a comprehensive and adaptable set of guidelines. Since its first publication, Robert’s Rules have evolved through several editions, reflecting changes in society and the way organizations operate.

The Staying Power of Robert’s Rules of Order

The longevity of Robert’s Rules can be attributed to their adaptability and fairness. They provide a democratic structure where every member’s voice can be heard, and decisions are made transparently. This universality makes Robert’s Rules as relevant today as they were over a century ago.

Common Users of Robert’s Rules

Robert’s Rules are used by a wide range of organizations, including non-profits, corporations, governmental bodies, and community groups. They’re especially prevalent in places where democratic decision-making is paramount and where order and efficiency are necessary for handling complex issues and diverse opinions.

Pros and Cons of Robert’s Rules


  • Structure and Order: They bring a clear structure to meetings, making them more efficient and productive.
  • Equal Participation: All members have an equal opportunity to contribute, fostering a democratic environment.
  • Clarity in Decision-Making: Votes and decisions are made transparently and systematically.


  • Complexity: For newcomers, Robert’s Rules can seem daunting due to their detailed nature.
  • Potential for Misuse: In some cases, individuals knowledgeable in the rules can use them to manipulate meeting outcomes or stifle dissent.
  • Rigidity: In smaller, less formal groups, the strict adherence to rules can hinder open, creative discussions.

Robert’s Rules and Meeting Minutes

While Robert’s Rules of Order can provide a structured approach to conducting meetings, it’s important to note that understanding these rules is not essential for writing effective meeting minutes. Meeting minutes serve as a formal record of what transpires during a meeting, and their primary goal is to document key discussions, motions, votes, and decisions accurately and objectively.

For inexperienced minute-takers, familiarity with Robert’s Rules may be beneficial, as it could offer guidance on the procedural aspects of meetings. However, the focus for minute-takers should be on capturing the essential elements of the meeting clearly and concisely, regardless of their knowledge of Robert’s Rules.


The journey of Robert’s Rules of Order from their genesis to their current status is a testament to the vision of Henry Martyn Robert. Organizations across the spectrum, from volunteer-run community groups to governmental bodies and corporate boards, have adopted Robert’s Rules to streamline their proceedings. For these organizations, Robert’s Rules play a crucial role in ensuring meetings are democratic, orderly, and effective. As meetings continue to be a pivotal part of organizational operations, the importance of both Robert’s Rules and accurate minute-taking remains paramount.

What are Robert’s Rules? – Additional Resources

The best resource for readers looking to delve deeper into Robert’s Rules of Order is the official book itself, currently in its 12th edition titled Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR). This book provides the most comprehensive and updated set of guidelines for parliamentary procedure as envisioned by Henry Martyn Robert.

For those who are new to the subject and seeking a more approachable introduction, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief is a shorter, more digestible companion to the full manual. It is designed to help users conduct meetings, participate in them effectively, and move business forward in an orderly manner.

Additionally, some websites and organizations help answer the question, “What are Robert’s Rules?”. The National Association of Parliamentarians, for example, offers resources, training, and workshops on Robert’s Rules. These can be especially helpful for individuals who prefer interactive learning or need specific questions answered.

The Human Touch in Minute Taking

In today’s digital era, technology has revolutionized how businesses operate, streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. Professional services across various industries have embraced automation, artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge tools to optimize their operations. Among these services, minute taking, which involves documenting critical meetings and discussions, has also witnessed technological advancements. While technology has made minute taking faster and more accurate, the question arises: does the human touch still matter in this age of automation?

In this blog post, we will explore the essential role of the human touch in minute taking and why organizations should value the unique contributions of human minute takers. There is no doubt that minute taking is part science and part art, but what portion of this does the human touch play? We will delve into the irreplaceable aspects that human involvement brings to this indispensable practice, paving the way for deeper understanding and personalized approaches.

1. Understanding Context and Nuances

Minute taking is not merely about recording words spoken during meetings. A human minute taker brings a unique ability to comprehend the context, identify essential points, and capture the subtle nuances that technology might overlook. By understanding the flow of discussions, emotions, and non-verbal cues, human minute takers can provide more comprehensive and accurate meeting minutes that capture the true essence of the gathering.

2. Customization for Client Needs

Every client and organization is different, with varying preferences for formatting, content, and level of detail in their meeting minutes. Human minute takers excel in tailoring their approach to meet these unique client needs. They can adapt their writing style, prioritize specific points of interest, and ensure the final minutes align precisely with the client’s requirements, fostering a deeper sense of collaboration and satisfaction.

3. Real-Time Adaptability

During fast-paced meetings or complex discussions, the ability to adapt in real-time is crucial. Human minute takers can promptly adjust their note-taking methods based on the meeting’s pace and intensity, ensuring no crucial information is missed. This adaptability is invaluable in capturing accurate and relevant data that could be easily overlooked by automated systems.

4. Quality Assurance and Expertise

While technology can assist in data processing and organization, it still requires human oversight to ensure accuracy and quality in the final deliverables. Human minute takers possess expertise in proofreading, fact-checking, and fine-tuning meeting minutes to meet the highest standards of professionalism.


The human touch remains an indispensable aspect of minute taking, even in the age of technology. While automation and AI offer incredible speed and efficiency, they cannot replicate the deep understanding, customization, adaptability, and empathy that human minute takers bring to the table. The synergy of technology and the human touch creates a powerful partnership that elevates the quality of minute taking and enhances the overall experience and quality of work. In professional services, where client satisfaction and trust are paramount, embracing both technology and human expertise in minute taking ensures a winning combination.

The Role of a Corporate Secretary: Key Responsibilities

Behind every successful and well-organized corporation stands a crucial figure, often operating behind the scenes – the Corporate Secretary. Often referred to as the “guardian of corporate governance,” the Corporate Secretary plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth functioning and compliance of a company. In this blog post, we will explore the key responsibilities and contributions of this essential role and shed light on the indispensable contributions they make to the corporate world.

1. Keeper of Corporate Records

One of the primary responsibilities of a Corporate Secretary is to maintain accurate and up-to-date corporate records. This includes essential documents such as meeting minutes, shareholder records, board resolutions, and other vital corporate documentation. The Corporate Secretary ensures that all records are organized, easily accessible, and compliant with legal requirements.

2. Governance and Compliance

Corporate governance is the backbone of any successful organization. The Corporate Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the company operates in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and internal policies. They play a key role in facilitating board meetings, overseeing corporate governance practices, and ensuring that decisions are made in line with legal requirements and the company’s best interests.

3. Board Support and Communication

As a liaison between the board of directors and the company’s stakeholders, the Corporate Secretary plays a critical role in facilitating effective communication. They assist in organizing board meetings, preparing meeting agendas, and ensuring that board members receive all necessary information and materials ahead of time. Their contributions ensure that board members are well-informed to make strategic decisions.

4. Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

The Corporate Secretary is instrumental in planning and organizing the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). They work closely with shareholders, manage proxy voting processes, and prepare the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth AGM that complies with legal requirements.

5. Risk Management and Disclosure

Transparency is paramount in the corporate world, and the Corporate Secretary plays a vital role in ensuring accurate and timely disclosure of relevant information to regulatory authorities and stakeholders. They assist in risk management by monitoring and reporting on compliance issues, providing valuable insights to the board and senior management.


The role of a Corporate Secretary is multifaceted and central to the effective functioning of a corporation. Their contributions extend far beyond maintaining records; they are instrumental in upholding corporate governance, facilitating effective communication between stakeholders, and ensuring legal compliance. The Corporate Secretary serves as a crucial link between the board of directors, management, shareholders, and regulatory authorities, fostering transparency, trust, and ethical practices.

In today’s complex and ever-evolving business landscape, the Corporate Secretary’s expertise and commitment to upholding corporate standards are indispensable. By shouldering the responsibility of governance, compliance, and efficient communication, the Corporate Secretary enables companies to thrive and adapt to the dynamic demands of the corporate world.

As we acknowledge the pivotal role of the Corporate Secretary, let us appreciate and celebrate their significant contributions to corporate success, recognizing them as the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring that the wheels of corporate governance turn smoothly, ethically, and in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.

Why Minute Taking is So Vital for Professional Associations

In the world of professional associations, effective governance, transparency, and accountability are the cornerstones of success. As decision-makers, these organizations are entrusted with shaping policies, charting ambitious goals, and ensuring the collective voice of their members is heard. Amidst this dynamic landscape, one essential practice stands out as a powerful catalyst for progress – minute taking. In this digital age, where information flows at unprecedented speeds, minute taking may appear as a traditional practice. However, as we shall discover, it is far from obsolete; rather, it serves as a steadfast guardian of institutional memory and a key driver of effective leadership.

Why minute taking is imperative to any professional association:

1. Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation:

   – Accurate and comprehensive meeting minutes serve as legally binding documentation of decisions made within the association.

   – By maintaining detailed records, professional associations demonstrate compliance with laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal disputes or challenges.

2. Transparent Decision-Making and Accountability:

   – Well-documented minutes provide a transparent account of discussions and decisions made during meetings, ensuring accountability among association members and leaders.

   – Members can refer back to previous minutes to understand the rationale behind decisions and hold leaders responsible for their actions.

3. Continuity and Succession Planning:

   – As leadership roles rotate within the association, meeting minutes become vital resources for new leaders to understand past discussions, decisions, and ongoing initiatives.

   – Minutes facilitate smooth transitions and effective succession planning, ensuring the association’s objectives remain on track.

4. Communication with Members:

   – Meeting minutes serve as concise and easily accessible updates on important matters and decisions for members who were unable to attend meetings.

   – This enhances member engagement by keeping them informed and involved in association activities.

5. Evidence for Grant Applications and Fundraising:

   – Clear and well-documented minutes demonstrate responsible management, strengthening the association’s credibility when applying for grants or seeking fundraising opportunities.

   – Potential donors and funding agencies appreciate organizations that maintain transparent records, enhancing the association’s chances of securing financial support.


Minute taking plays a vital role in the success and sustainability of professional associations. By maintaining detailed and accurate records, these organizations ensure legal compliance, transparent decision-making, and accountability among members and leaders. Meeting minutes facilitate effective communication with members, support succession planning, and strengthen the association’s position when seeking grants or fundraising opportunities. Moreover, they serve as valuable evidence in legal situations and prevent misunderstandings or conflicts, fostering a cooperative and engaged association community. As a fundamental practice, minute-taking cements the foundation for strong governance and efficient operations within professional associations.

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.


Verbatim Transcription or Meeting Minutes: Which is Right for Your Board Meetings?

In the world of board meetings, proper documentation is crucial for good governance, accountability, decision-making, and legal compliance. Two common methods for documenting a board meeting are verbatim transcription and transcribing minutes. Transcription means converting spoken language or audio recordings into written text. Each approach serves a unique purpose, offering distinct advantages and disadvantages. Let us discuss the two options.

Board Meeting Transcription: The Verbatim Record

When precision matters

What is Board Meeting Transcription?

Board meeting transcription involves the meticulous process of converting spoken words from a board meeting into a written, word-for-word transcript. This approach aims to capture every spoken word, ensuring a comprehensive record of everything discussed in the meeting. It cannot be partial, opinionated, or subjective, making it an indispensable tool in situations or industries where omitting certain conversations is not an option.

Why Transcribe a Board Meeting Verbatim?

  1. Precision and Accuracy: One of the primary reasons organizations opt for board meeting transcription is the need for precision and accuracy. In fields where details matter greatly, having a verbatim record of discussions, decisions, and statements is invaluable, as it leaves no room for misinterpretation.
  1. Legal and Compliance Requirements: Many industries operate under strict legal and regulatory frameworks. Transcribing board meetings can help organizations meet compliance requirements and provide a clear record of exactly what was said in case of disputes or audits.
  1. In-depth Analysis: Researchers and analysts often rely on verbatim transcripts for in-depth analysis, as it allows them to delve into the nuances of conversations, study language patterns, and identify underlying themes.

The Cons of Board Meeting Transcription

  1. Time-Consuming: Transcribing every word is very time-consuming, especially for lengthy meetings.
  1. Costly: High-precision transcription requires skilled professionals and can come at a significant cost, especially compared to transcribing minutes.
  1. Liability: Verbatim transcription is not typically recommended for board meetings, as this can open the board to liability in several ways, including:
    • Inadvertently disclosing confidential information, such as trade secrets, confidential business strategies, or private information about individuals.
    • Exposing the board to legal risks, especially if statements imply negligence, discrimination, or other lawful content.
    • Inaccurate transcription may lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of what was discussed.
  1. Verbose: Verbatim transcripts often contain filler words and repetitions, which can reduce conciseness, clarity, and readability. Furthermore, they may not accurately capture the meaning the speaker intended to convey.

At Minutes Solutions, we offer “intelligent verbatim” transcription which preserves the speaker’s sentence structure, phrasing, point of view, and message but cleans up the presentation, corrects grammatical errors and misspoken words, and eliminates repetition and filler words such as “ah”, “um”, “you know”, and “like”.

Transcribing Minutes

When clarity and efficiency are key

What Are Meeting Minutes?

Meeting minutes, also known as minutes of meetings or simply minutes, offer a summarized account of key points, discussions, decisions, and action items from a meeting. Unlike verbatim transcription, minutes aim to provide a concise yet informative record, ensuring that both attendees and non-attendees can stay informed. They provide valuable context for meeting proceedings, explain the reasoning behind decisions, and serve as a convenient reference for those unable to participate in the meeting. Minutes play a crucial role in an organization’s strategic development, helping them chart their course and track their progress. They prove useful for corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, school boards, and any organization looking to document a board meeting effectively.

Why Meeting Minutes?

  1. Clarity and Efficiency: Transcribing minutes of meetings is a time-efficient way to capture the most salient points of a discussion. It distills lengthy conversations into easily digestible information, making it suitable for most meetings.
  1. Action-oriented: Minutes often include action items, responsibilities, and deadlines. This actionable content makes it easier for participants to follow up on decisions made during the board meeting.
  1. Accessibility: Meeting minutes are user-friendly and readily accessible to a wide audience. Done well, they do not require specialized training for comprehension, making them valuable for sharing across different departments and teams, without the need to sift through extensive pages of information.
  1. Compliance: Proper board meeting minutes help organizations meet governance, compliance, and regulatory requirements by documenting all the necessary components of the meeting in the correct manner.
  1. Protection: A good minute-taker knows what to include and, equally important, what not to include in board meeting minutes, protecting the organization from the potential pitfalls of including every spoken word.

The Cons of Transcribing Minutes

  1. Less detail: The minutes will not capture every word spoken, which could be a disadvantage in certain contexts.
  1. Risk of bias: The minute taker’s interpretation may introduce bias or omit critical information when a meeting is documented in a summarized form. This concern can be addressed through the use of a professional third-party minute-taker.
  1. Less appropriate for highly technical discussions: In technical fields, verbatim transcripts, or at least certain sections captured word-for-word, might be necessary for precision.

Considering Digital vs. Human Transcription

When transcribing board meetings, organizations often weigh the options of digital (automated) and human transcription. Here’s why people consider both and why human transcription remains the cornerstone for accuracy and reliability:

Digital Transcription

Also, automated transcription services are typically more budget-friendly, making them an attractive choice for organizations with budget constraints. However, AI-generated transcripts often contain many errors, which can put an organization at risk of incorrectly conveying decisions, action items, discussions, and other crucial aspects of board meetings. This can also lead to a lengthy review process, negating the savings in time and money that digital transcription was intended to provide. Despite advancements in AI, automation cannot fully replace personnel trained in verbatim transcription, and certainly cannot replicate the work of a professional minute-taker.

Digital transcription utilizes technology, notably artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning algorithms, and speech recognition tools, to automatically convert audio and video recordings into text, eliminating the need for manual transcription. It offers swift transcription of board meeting minutes, which is essential when dealing with substantial volumes of audio or video content under tight deadlines.

Human Transcription:

Human transcription involves an individual converting spoken language into written text. It requires meticulous listening to audio or video recordings to transcribe the spoken words, capturing both content and context. Human transcribers can understand accents and industry-specific words, and provide additional services, such as formatting, editing, and accurate time stamping, to enhance the minutes’ usability and readability. Moreover, manual transcription services prioritize data security, often backed by non-disclosure agreements and ISO standards, ensuring utmost confidentiality for sensitive meeting content.

In board meeting scenarios, where precision and accuracy are paramount for legal compliance, decision-making, and historical reference, human transcription remains the gold standard. While automated transcription can be a valuable tool for rapid content processing, it often falls short in capturing the nuanced details and subtleties that can significantly influence the interpretation and utility of board meeting minutes.

Choosing the Right Method for Your Needs

Both word-for-word transcripts and meeting minutes have a place when it comes to how organizations keep accurate records of events and information. When deciding between board meeting transcription and transcribing minutes of meetings, consider your industry, the purpose of the documentation, and the level of detail required. Think about whether verbatim transcripts or meeting minutes will better serve your specific meeting participants and other stakeholders.

In some cases, a combination of both approaches may be appropriate, with verbatim transcription reserved for critical legal or technical contexts and minutes serving as a practical, everyday solution for most meetings. Understanding the pros and cons of each approach empowers you to make an informed decision that best serves your organization’s objectives.

How Minutes Solutions Can Help

Minutes Solutions is the global leader in professional minute-taking, offering expert minute-takers skilled in board meeting transcription and transcribing minutes from both live and recorded sessions. Our services are tailored to meet your organization’s unique needs, regardless of your industry. Our unwavering commitment to quality and precision guarantees impeccable records for your organization, whether you prefer intelligent verbatim transcripts or concise meeting minutes. Contact us today to discover how we can enhance your meeting documentation processes, providing you with the flexibility to choose the method that aligns perfectly with your organization’s objectives.