Friday, October 23, 2009

The Importance of Keeping Accurate Minutes in a Meeting


I thought I'd touch on the importance of keeping accurate minutes in a meeting whether it's your local sporting group or a community interest group or school group. Accurate minutes are like a map - they can remind us of the direction the group has chosen to take. Without them, a group can find that memories fail and people remember unwritten decisions differently and this then leads to problems and arguments.
"What are minutes"? Simply put they are a written record of what happened during a meeting. Minutes can be either a summary of what happened or very detailed - this depends on the group meeting and what is being discussed. Usually minutes contain "motions" - that is decisions made by the group that will be actioned. For example a sporting club may decide to purchase a trailer so that they can move their equipment easily with them when competing against other clubs. A member of the group will "move" a motion (I move that {name of group} purchases a trailer to the value of {$.....) for the purpose of {.............} from { name of supplier}. Then someone will second that motion and the decision will be put to the entire group for either acceptance or rejection.


These "motions" are important so that everyone can remember what is to be actioned in the next week, month, year/s. *Tip* Keep a separate book with minutes that will affect future committees as new people take up positions on the committee and they may not be aware of past decisions and why the group has actioned certain projects, etc.


If you are fortunate enough to become the secretary or minute keeper in a group, then take the time to ask questions from the previous person who held this position and don't be afraid to ask other members on the group for assistance. Look for ways that will make your job easier in recording. For example: everyone writes their name in a book for each meeting to confirm they are present. Have a register for the mail - that is a book which records all mail in and all mail out. Make sure that relevant reports are attached to each set of minutes and keep accepted copies of minutes in a display folder (1 pocket for each meeting). These are just a few tips which may help your group.


If you have ideas, suggestions which would help others, please email them to me on admin@sallyirvine.com and I'll be happy to share them - we can all help each other!

Sally

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