The New Zealand Association Resource Centre Trust (NZARC) blog is a place for board members, partner organisations, and subscribers to contribute articles and discuss issues of relevance to the non-profit sector. Contributions are welcome and encouraged.

Minute Taking Tips

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Here at the NZARCT we hold regular meetings to discuss matters vital to the ongoing sustainability of the Trust. One very valuable decision we made was the appointment of a person outside our Board of Trustees to take minutes of our meeting. We considered it was more valuable to have all Board members focus on the matters at hand rather than having one member try and also focus on making sure that matters discussed were recorded correctly. It also has the dual effect of ensuring that all matters of importance are recording impartially without an emotional connection!

We also recognise that not all Trusts and Associations will do this, choosing instead to have one of their Board members take minutes as well. So, no matter who takes the minutes, we have some great tips about how to take meeting minutes.

  • Make sure the minute taker is there 10 minutes before the meeting starts to settle in
  • Have a standard template to work from i.e. 
    • Name of organisation
    • Who attended, gave apologies etc
    • Time of start and finish
    • Also, details of when someone joined or left the meeting
  • Ensure the minute taker concentrates on the matters at hand – don’t be distracted by other matters, especially if you are taking notes straight into a digital device. Some advise against digital devices. However, technology is moving on –so be mindful of advances in technology and respond accordingly
  • If you are taking minutes for the first time for a particular board, drawing a diagram of the room taking note of names and where people are sitting can be incredibly valuable
  • Remember that taking minutes is an official record of not necessarily what was said, but recording what decisions were made and actions taken is a critical component.
  • Be mindful of certain types of language that is important i.e.
    • Making a motion – proposing a certain action
    • That an individual make a motion i.e. ‘I move that…”
    • Another individual needs to support the action i.e. ‘seconds the motion’
    • The motion is carried into an action and recorded as such
  • Send a draft to the meeting leader for approval before the final version is approved.

If you have any other great tips, please let us know – email and we'll publish them in the next issue.
For other resources please see How to Take Good Meeting Minutes and How to Write and Keep Meeting Minutes.

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