Taking board minutes

Learn how to take better notes at your board meetings.

Learn the basics of taking effective minutes

Minutes are the official record of the actions and decisions of the board, and essentially serve as the notes of any board meeting. Minutes are taken every meeting and approved the next time the board meets to ensure everybody is on the same page.

Board meeting minutes are crucial

The purpose of taking board minutes is to:

  • inform absent members of the discussion and decisions made
  • serve as an official record of discussion for future reference
  • provide ‘takeaways’ for meetings that are informational.

Note the important details

Generally, meeting minutes will include:

  • subject of the meeting
  • location (if relevant)
  • date and time (including start and finishing times)
  • attendees (including absences and apologies)
  • agenda items
  • status of action points
  • date and time of your next meeting
  • expected actions from your board member by next meeting
  • items to be discussed at your next meeting.

Keep notes clear and simple

  • Create or use a template for regular meetings.
  • Note participants as soon as they enter the room.
  • Ask for clarification if needed*.
  • Record the discussion with your phone or recording device if appropriate.

*Meeting minutes must be accurate. False information can jeopardize the integrity of the document. If you need clarification about a discussion or motion, you can ask for an explanation. However, when you cannot interrupt the meeting, make a note to yourself at that spot on your page to remind you to ask the leader about the matter after the meeting.

Tips for formatting your minutes

  • It’s always best to start formatting your minutes right after the meeting when your mind is fresh.
  • Add clarifications and correct any errors you may find. 
  • The minutes should be clear, concise, readable, and recorded in past tense.
  • Proofread your work. 
  • Note speakers or participants if you are documenting a discussion.
  • Attach documents discussed as an appendix.

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