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Tips for Minutes

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised provides a lot of helpful information about minutes. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Be sure your minutes inlcude only what was done; not what was said. Leave out the discussion, comments, and other information. Minutes are not supposed to be a great American novel. They are just supposed to remind members what happened at the meeting. They also just happen to be a legal record of your organization.
  • In the first paragraph, include the following items:
    1. the kind of meeting (regular or special)
    2. the name of the organization
    3. the time and date of the meeting
    4. the location if meetings are not always held in the same place
    5. whether the chairman and secretary were present or absent, and, if they were absent, the names of the substitutes
    6. whether the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved or corrected
  • In the body of the minutes:
    1. include all the main motions and the name of the person who made the motion.
    2. Do not include the name of the seconder.
    3. If the motion was amended, write the final version of the motion.
    4. Also indicate if the motion was referred to a committee or if it was postponed to the next meeting.
  • Put each individual topic in a separate paragraph. It will so much easier to find it when months later, you have to look up what happened on a subject.
  • Motions should be written exactly as they were stated right before the chairman took the vote.
  • When you have a program or a guest speaker, include only the name of the speaker and the title of the program.
  • The person who took the minutes should sign them, but it is not necessary to use "Respectfully submitted."
  • If you send minutes out to the members to read before the meeting, be sure to mark them "draft." That will help eliminate confusion about which set of minutes is the official set. 
  • When the minutes are approved by the members, they become the legal, official record of the organization.

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Ann Guiberson


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