How to take minutes at Group Business, Area and Committee Meetings
1. Use a template.
2. Check off attendees as they arrive.
- Make sure you have a meeting agenda. This is usually prepared by the Chairperson.
- Choose your recording tool. Will you use a pen and paper or will you use a laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone? Check with the Meeting Chair to see if they prefer that you use a particular method.
- Make sure your tool of choice is in working order, and have a backup just in case your original one fails. If you bring a laptop, for instance, have a pen and paper handy as well. You don’t want to have to stop the meeting while you search for something to write on if your computer crashes.
- Read before the meeting starts. It will allow you to formulate an outline for your minutes. Leave some space below each item on it and write your notes there. Doing this will make your job a little easier, as long as the person running the meeting sticks to the agenda.
3. Circulate an attendance list and do introductions.
4. Record motions, actions, and decisions as they occur.
- Pass around an attendance sheet and make sure everyone signs in. You will need to include a list of all attendees in the official meeting minutes.
- Make sure you know who everyone is. That way you will be able to identify who is speaking and correctly record that information.
- Note the time the meeting begins.
- It is not necessary to write down every single comment. Include only the main ideas. Be very careful not to leave out items with which you disagree. Your biases shouldn’t influence you. Remember this is an official account, not your opinion of what happened.
- Write down all motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any; you don’t need to write down who seconded a motion. Of course, the rules of your organization may differ so verify those with the Chairperson first.
- If votes on any motions or discussions are deferred until the next meeting, make a note of that.
- Record the ending time of the meeting.
5. Write clear, brief notes—not full sentences or verbatim wording.
- Type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting while everything is still fresh in your mind. If you find an error in your meeting notes or you have a question, you can clear it up quickly by talking to other attendees.
- On the final copy of the minutes, Include the name/title of the Group, Area or Committee, type of meeting (monthly, annual, or special), and its purpose.
- Give the times it began and ended.
- Provide the list of attendees and a note about who ran the meeting. Include your name on the list of participants and, in parentheses after your name, say that you took the minutes. Alternatively, at the end of the document, you can sign off by writing “Your Trusted Servant,” followed by your name.
- Proofread the minutes before you submit them. Ask someone else who attended to look them over as well. They will be able to let you know if you accidentally left something out.
- Submit them to the person who ran the meeting unless instructed to do otherwise.