How to conduct the meeting minutes
Being a corporate secretary or secretary of the board, or maybe a small business owner, it is possible that you will encounter the need to keep minutes of corporate meetings. This task is very important, because it is not only a requirement of legislation, especially for non-profit organizations: these protocols are part of the company’s official records, its history. Protocols can be easily designed if you follow certain rules and format.
Preparation for the meeting
In advance (in a few weeks) send a notification of the meeting with the date, time, place and its purpose to all who are supposed to take part in it
For each board member, prepare a special package, which includes:
notification of the meeting, the minutes of the previous meeting, a list of both contact information and the one to be presented at the meeting (for example, analyzes and budget reports). If the information is confidential, then give it only if it comes into conversation, after the staff (in some cases) and guests leave the premises.
Make sure that you have all writing accessories at your hand with which you are most comfortable to work, such as a notepad, folder, laptop or dictaphone
On the day of the meeting, make sure that all participants have written supplies, badges (if necessary) and refreshments
During the meeting
Write down the following information:
Name of organization and type of meeting.
Was the notification of the meeting sent, and if so, when exactly.
The date of the meeting and the place where it was held.
The time when the meeting began.
Write down the reason for the meeting, for example: quarterly meeting of board members or annual election of officials
Should be listed:
Members of the management board, officials and employees present at the meeting, as well as their duties.
Those who are absent.
Present guests, who they were invited to and the reasons for which they attended this event.
The name and position of the chairman of the meeting.
The person holding the minutes of the meeting.
Specify the number of participants required for the quorum, and whether or not this number was reached
Write the results of voting on the adoption, revision or refusal of the minutes of the previous meeting
If necessary, make changes to the previous protocols
Write out the topical issues from the previous protocol and register the progress of their discussion, the results of the vote or the general outcome
Enter into the protocol any other votes, election of officials for example, as well as the number of votes “for”, “against” or “abstained”
Except for those who abstained, it is not necessary to write down the names of people and how they voted. Specify the reason for any refusal to participate in the voting, and whether anybody left the hall during this voting.
Make a list of items on the agenda and leave a space between them for writing notes
Take notes on the discussion of the agenda items, as well as what and who was said during it
List all the topical issues that were discussed during the meeting, as well as people who will have to speak at the next meeting
Mark any discussions on issues that were not on the agenda, and who asked them, as well as the outcome of these discussions
Indicate the results of those decisions that were proposed for reconsideration, updating or voting. The official decision will be presented in a separate document
Enter the date and time for the next appointment
Note that the meeting was declared final by majority decision or by unanimous decision. Specify the time for the end of the meeting
Fill in the protocol as completely as possible, and do it as soon as possible
Highlight in bold type any voting results, agenda items and decisions taken
As soon as possible, distribute copies of the minutes for review to all participants in the meeting to get their feedback on its content
If no changes were proposed, formalize the protocol, and then place it in a special folder for corporate meetings. Distribute copies of the final version of the minutes to all participants of the meeting and those who were absent from it.
If you do not understand something, ask the appropriate questions immediately so that the discussion can be write correctly. In order to ask for any clarification, you don’t need to wait until you completely sketch the draft of the protocol.
The decisions taken and the results of voting should be indicated in the protocol, but their copies should also be kept in a separate folder in a place protected from fire water and other factors. Electronic copies should also be stored with this folder.
Do not try to write down every word during the meeting: write in general about what was said. You can more fully disclose the discussion after you finish filling out the protocol.
The rules of your company may prohibit the use of electronic means of communication. Now this is rather rare – it all depends on the time when the rules were written, and whether they were revised over the years. Therefore, before this way to communicate with the participants in the meeting, make sure that you do not violate anything. You can also offer to amend such rules if they are hopelessly outdated.
Be careful when providing a draft protocol to the meeting participants for its review and verification, as this gives them the opportunity to change everything they said. When the protocol is completely complete, make sure that everyone is aware of any changes made to it: in this way the information will be interpreted correctly and no one will be misled.