4 tips to help you take better board meeting minutes

It’s an important and fulfilling role to take good meeting minutes at a board meeting. Board meetings are more than just general accounting of the discussions, they serve as official legal records that outline progress in detail for future planning references. Among other things your minute should document motions voted on, abstentions noted, and actions taken by any chairperson or designated officer if applicable.

Taking Minutes for a Board Meeting – Step by Step

Step 1: Before the meeting, make sure to review all materials and take notes on anything you or anyone else present might be forgetting. 

-Note what was discussed at previous meetings so that any recurring topics are not accidentally forgotten again. 

-If there is a lot of material coming in from other members before the meeting, include summaries for each item as well as their sources; this will save time during discussion later when everyone has made it through everything they need to do beforehand. 

Step 2: Time before and between meetings

Allotted specifically for recording these records of what transpired at them as well as how they might have impacted future decisions within any given company – this will be invaluable information no matter where in an organization you are working!

To take effective minutes for a board meeting, you should include:

  • Date of the meeting
  • Time the meeting was called to order
  • Names of the meeting participants and absentees
  • Corrections and amendments to previous meeting minutes
  • Additions to the current agenda
  • Whether a quorum is present
  • Motions taken or rejected
  • Voting-that there was a motion and second, and the outcome of the vote
  • Actions taken or agreed to be taken
  • Next steps
  • Items to be held over
  • New business
  • Open discussion or public participation
  • Next meeting date and time
  • Time of adjournment

Board members are always faced with a tough decision when it comes to board meetings. Their job is not easy, but that’s why they have the position. Sit down and think about what you want to say before starting your discussion on each agenda item; this way everyone will know how important their opinions are towards the meeting topic in question!

When you are recording a discussion, try to avoid adverbs and adjectives that could be inflammatory. For example, don’t use words like “hated” or “really liked.” Make sure your language is clear so it can communicate the message of what happened without any confusion.

One way to do this would be by avoiding personal observations in an objective manner when taking notes; also remember not to make assumptions about other people’s thoughts based on their reactions

It is important to keep minutes of board meetings. Minutes can be used as legal evidence and need to accurately reflect the meeting discussions so you are not at a disadvantage in any possible court proceedings. Names should only appear when recording resolutions or votes by directors, motions for discussion, or seconds on decisions being made during these sessions.

It’s important to document the meeting quickly after it has ended so that you can remember all relevant information.

Company Meeting Minutes Document Builder

Step 3: Writing the Official Record of Board Meeting Minutes

Review the agenda to gain a full scope for what will be discussed. Add notes as clarification is needed, and review actions passed or motions made that need further attention in order to make them more clear on paper so they can better serve their purpose once published. Edit your finished copy with care; it’s important that you summarize only relevant information while making sure not to omit any key details when publishing minutes from this meeting onto an official document and ensuring the end result is concise yet still easy-to-read at a glance.

Step 4: Signing and Filing Minutes 

Once your meeting minutes are fully written, the board secretary will sign them to make their validity official. Your organization may also require that any signatures from officers be included as well–the president’s signature, for example. As a finishing touch on how to take excellent board meeting minutes, it’s important not only have back-up copies of these documents but store them in an external location such as with printed hard copy or saved digital files (best case scenario).

Helpful Tips for Taking Board Meeting Minutes

  • Use a template
  • Check off attendees as they arrive
  • Do introductions or circulate an attendance list
  • Record motions, actions, and decisions as they occur
  • Ask for clarification as necessary
  • Write clear, brief notes-not full sentences or verbatim wording
  • Maintain the same verb tense

Common Mistakes in Taking Board Meeting Minutes

  • Failure to document a quorum
  • Ambiguous description of board actions
  • Including information that could harm the board in a legal sense
  • Lengthy delays in providing minutes after a meeting
  • Delays in approving minutes from past meetings-missing mistakes
  • Failing to file and manage documents
  • Failing to get documents signed so they serve as an official and legal record

The board’s meeting minutes should reflect the true intentions of what was discussed in meetings and is an official record. Organizations find that using a tool like board portal software helps make this work easier, more efficient, and ultimately elevates organizational performance. Taking notes for a board meeting can be serious business but it also gives you insights into how your company works which makes preparing them rewarding and edifying.