Taking good meeting minutes is a bit of an art form; on the one hand, minutes should be brief (hence the term “minutes”), but on the other hand minutes need to contain enough information to accurately report all actions that took place during the meeting. So, what is the secret to taking good meeting minutes?

It is first important to understand the purpose of keeping minutes is to create an official corporate record of actions taken during a meeting. Minutes are not intended to be transcriptions of all discussions that ensued during the meeting, nor are they supposed to be a record of disagreements or screaming matches among the attendees.

If your meeting minutes are consistently more than two pages in length, it’s time to reevaluate your minute-taking process as you are likely adding too much information.

Below are some pointers to help you keep your minutes brief, yet complete:

1. Summarize, Don’t Transcribe. If a discussion was had concerning possible landscape companies, say just that. Do not transcribe what each director said or comments from owners in attendance. This is simply not necessary as the discussions do not represent actions of the association.

2. Include the Basics. Minutes should include at least the following:

• Name of the association
• Date, place, and time of the meeting
• Type of meeting (i.e. membership, board, or committee)
• Time meeting was called to order
• Names of directors in attendance (if board meeting)
• Verification of quorum
• Motions made and seconded (including identification of individuals making and seconding the motions)
• Voting results (i.e. unanimous, or if there are abstentions or dissentions note them by name)
• If the board goes into executive session (board meetings only), the time the board went into executive session, general subject matter to be discussion, and time board came out of executive session
• Time of adjournment

3. Document Conflicts of Interest. If a director has a “conflict of interest” it should be noted that the conflict was disclosed to, or known by, the board and whether the conflicted director voted on the issue (in compliance with the association’s required conflicts of interest policy).

4. Record Action Items. Record future actions needed in a standard format including when the actions are to be taken and by whom.

If you have questions concerning the art of taking minutes, please contact one of our attorneys at 303.432.9999 or [email protected].

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