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Mastering Minute-Taking: A Step-by-Step Guide for Board Meetings | Dive

Taking minutes at board meetings can be daunting, but with this step-by-step guide, you'll become a pro in no time. Click to get started!

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As a board secretary or a member tasked with taking minutes at a board meeting, your role is very important in creating an official record. 

Meeting Minutes give a complete list of the decisions made and the tasks assigned during the meeting. They not only serve as a historical record but also a legal record of the proceedings and is an important part of the decision-making process. In this blog post, we'll talk about five simple steps on how to take minutes at board meetings, what should be included in the meeting minutes, common mistakes to avoid, and some best practices. 

So, without any further ado, let's Dive in. 


5 Simple steps on how to take minutes at board meetings

Taking effective meeting minutes at a board meeting can seem complicated, but we've broken it down into five easy steps:

Step 1: Before the meeting

Make sure you have everything you need before the meeting, like the meeting agenda, the minutes from the previous meeting, and any other documents that will be discussed during the meeting. Also, make sure you know how the minutes are written and if there are any specific rules or requirements.

Step 2: During the meeting

Take real-time notes during the meeting and write down the exact words that are being used in key decisions and discussions. It's also important to remember when the meeting ends and what type of meeting it was. You can read this article on how to take the best meeting notes.

Step 3: After the meeting

After the meeting, review your notes and create a draft of the meeting minutes. Make sure you include all necessary information such as a list of attendees, agenda items, major decisions, action items, additional notes, and any comments for discussion.

Step 4: Approval process

Once the draft minutes are complete, send them to the board leader or meeting facilitator for review and approval. Make any necessary changes and distribute the final approved minutes to all boards of directors and relevant parties.

Step 5: Future reference

Save the meeting minutes in a secure place for future reference. Board members and people in charge of making decisions may want to refer back to the minutes, especially when they need to make decisions and hold people accountable in the future.


What should be included in the meeting minutes?

Source: Pexels

The meeting minutes you take should be a complete and digestible document that includes all necessary information from the meeting. Here are some things that you should include in the meeting minutes:

Names of attendees

One of the most important things to include in your meeting minutes is a list of all the attendees. This not only serves as a record of who was present at the meeting, but it also helps to ensure that all necessary stakeholders are included in any follow-up actions or decisions that may be made.

When listing the names of attendees, make sure to include any titles or positions they hold, as well as any guests or observers who were present. This can help provide context for any comments or contributions they may have made during the meeting.

List of agenda items

A comprehensive list of agenda items is essential to include in your meeting minutes. This can help give a clear picture of what was talked about at the meeting and make sure that everything important was covered.

When listing agenda items, be sure to include any relevant details or context, such as the purpose of the agenda item or any supporting materials that were presented. This can help make sure there is a clear record of what was said. You can use a tool like Dive to collaborate on meeting agendas on any platform.

Discussion topics

In addition to listing the agenda items, it is also important to provide a summary of the discussion that took place around each topic. Doing so will help with the context for any decisions or actions that were taken, and also serve as a record of any ideas or suggestions that were discussed.

When summarizing the discussion, make sure you include all important details and key points that were brought up. This can help ensure that the discussion is accurately captured and can be properly understood by those who were not present.

Key decisions made

Meeting minutes should always include a record of any important decisions made during the meeting. These decisions could be about anything from action items to policy changes, and it's crucial to capture them accurately. When writing down key decisions, make sure you provide all the necessary details and context.

For example, you should note down the reasoning behind the decision and any supporting materials that were presented. This way, everyone who reads the minutes can understand how the decision was reached and what it means. Ultimately, including clear records of key decisions in meeting minutes helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and that nothing important gets overlooked.

Action items assigned

Meeting minutes should always include a list of action items that were assigned during the meeting. This is really important because it helps everyone keep track of what they need to do next. When you're listing action items, it's essential to include all the relevant details. This means noting down who is responsible for each action item and the deadline for completing it.

By doing this, everyone involved in the meeting can stay on top of their responsibilities and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Having a clear record of action items in meeting minutes can also help prevent confusion and ensure that all necessary follow-up actions are properly addressed and completed on time.

Comments for discussion

Another important component of meeting minutes is a summary of any comments or feedback that was provided during the meeting. This helps with the context for any decisions or actions that were taken, as well as ensuring that all relevant perspectives are considered.

When summarizing comments, be sure to include any relevant details or context, such as the topic of discussion or the individual who provided the feedback.


Common mistakes to avoid in board meeting minutes

Source: Pexels

Taking minutes at a board meeting can be challenging, and there are common mistakes that should be avoided to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the minutes. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Messy Minutes: Make sure your notes are organized and legible. So it's easier for you to create a comprehensive and accurate set of minutes.

Missing Information: Don't miss anything and record all necessary information like discussion topics, key decisions, action items, etc.

Inaccurate Recording: Record discussions and decisions as accurately as possible, including any direct quotes or exact wordings.

Lack of Consistency: Use a consistent format and template for all meeting minutes to ensure clarity and ease of use for future reference.


Board meeting minutes - best practices

Now that we have covered the basics of taking minutes at a board meeting, let's dive into some best practices that can help you create effective and useful meeting minutes.

Use a board meeting template

Using a pre-designed board meeting minutes template can save you time and effort while also ensuring that your minutes are formatted consistently. You can check out meeting templates by Dive.  Make sure to customize the template to meet your specific needs.

Be clear and concise

Your minutes should be easy to read and understand. Use plain language and avoid technical jargon. Use bullet points to make it easier for readers to scan the document quickly. Make sure to include only essential information and avoid unnecessary details.

Record decisions and action items

Make sure to record all the key decisions and action items in your meeting minutes. Use clear and concise language to describe what was decided and what needs to be done. Include the name of the person responsible for each action item and the deadline for completion.

Include attachments and supporting documents

Attach any relevant documents, such as presentations or reports, to your meeting minutes. This will make it easier for readers to understand the context of the meeting and the decisions that were made. Make sure to label the attachments clearly and include a brief description of each document.

Review and approve the minutes

Before distributing the meeting minutes, make sure to review them carefully for accuracy and completeness. Double-check the spelling of names and the accuracy of dates and other details. Once you are satisfied with the minutes, send them to the board for approval. After the board approves the minutes, distribute them to all attendees and other relevant parties.


Final words

Remember to use a clear and consistent format, record all key decisions and action items, and review and approve the minutes before distributing them. With these tips, you can create effective and professional board meeting minutes that provide a comprehensive and digestible document of the board's activities.

Taking minutes at board meetings is an important responsibility. By using a tool like Dive, you can create meeting minutes that help your board make informed decisions and move forward with confidence. 

Dive automatically takes meeting notes, assigns action items, and creates a meeting summary that is easily searchable and shareable with all the board members.

[Download Free Chrome Extension] [Get Started with Dive]



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