Meeting minutes are a written record of the main topics covered and decisions made during a meeting. At a formal Board of Directors meeting, the Board Secretary is usually responsible for recording the meeting minutes, which are then considered important legal documents. Many meetings begin with a review of the minutes from the last meeting, which is placed high on the meeting agenda. If the meeting attendees agree that those minutes accurately reflect what transpired during the last meeting, then they are officially approved at the current meeting.
A person responsible for recording meeting minutes will often jot down salient points as they occur during the meeting, such as which important topics were discussed, which important statements and questions were raised and by whom, and which action items or tasks arose from the meeting and to whom they were assigned. These notes, written in shorthand, are then typed into a formal document, sometimes by a person other than the notetaker, and the document is kept as a record of the meeting’s progress. The person designated with taking minutes will sometimes also record the meeting on a tape recorder in lieu of or in addition to taking notes by hand. The tape may then be connected to a Dictaphone in order to transcribe the recording into a formal minutes document.
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A formal meeting minutes document typically begins by stating the name of the company or organization; the location, time, and date of the meeting; and a list of people present for the meeting (attendees). Next, the minutes should state in paragraph or bullet point form which topics were covered at the meeting, written in the order in which they were discussed. When an important point is made by an individual, that speaker’s name should be attributed to the point as it is recorded in the minutes. Paraphrasing the speaker’s point is generally acceptable in minutes lieu of verbatim quotes.
As not all of what was said during a meeting can or should be included in the minutes, a good rule of thumb is to ensure that any official decisions made and resolutions passed by the organization are kept the highest priority. Any financial reports or statements which were presented during the meeting, or legal matters discussed, should also be included in the meeting minutes.