Taking the minutes of board meetings is often seen as a chore or thankless task. However, board meeting minutes are crucial to keep a legal record of board interactions and decisions. We explain the importance of taking board meeting minutes, provide some advice how to do so, and give you an example of minutes, so you can make your own board meeting minutes templates, to make your next board meeting considerably easier to log. We also provide topics to include and a sample of what to include, for board meeting minutes examples. This advice can apply to many kinds of organizations; whether corporations, start-ups or nonprofit, board meeting minutes are indispensable logs of the executive directors of the organization.
Why Board of Directors Meeting Minutes so Important
There are a few reasons taking the board of directors meeting minutes is essential. Corporate minutes effectively provide a log for many useful and often legal purposes.
Board meetings involve directors of the company making crucial decisions of the company, and therefore, the interactions need to be logged to provide a legal record for review and accessing in the future for legal purposes.
This information also usually must be disseminated and presented to other parts of the organization. Decisions which will affect tasks ahead, targets, and any changes that are to be implemented need to be shared with the rest of the company. Recording minutes of board meetings and then having access to the minutes will make it easier to repackage this information in a relevant manner.
Additionally, the progress status from the previous meetings is important to track, to understand if the organization is reaching its goals, moving forward at the right rate, and dealing with challenges sufficiently. If the record goes all the way back to the minutes of the first board meeting, then you have a clear and comprehensive record.
So whether you are taking minutes of the first board meetings or later, they must be done. Now the question is how to take minutes of the board of directors meetings?
How to Take Minutes at a Board Meeting
Different organizations have different minute rules and board meeting minute templates. Find out exactly what templates are preferred and have this ready before you go into the meeting and need to take the corporate minutes. In addition, make sure you know the agenda in advance if possible. This will make your task much easier and save time.
Focus on the right areas
A lot can happen in a board meeting, so keeping on top of what is taking place when taking the board of directors meeting minutes is crucial. We talk shortly about what to include and exclude, but ideally with the right template, you will know exactly what is required to be written down. Some meeting details will be superfluous, and can be removed, but many are very important, even if it may seem common knowledge.
We will also talk about some specific tools to help you when taking minutes of the board of directors meetings, but it is a significant tip to help you record meetings, take automatic notes and summarize, in order to ensure nothing was missed when taking the minutes. In addition, notes can be shared after the meeting when software is used.
At some point, there should be a motion for approving minutes. This gives the participants a chance to agree to what information from the meeting will be shared, and if they want to correct anything. Once no more corrections or changes are suggested by the board, then the president of the board should confirm that there is a motion for approving minutes. This then allows for the creation of the final copy. This has traditionally been done in the meeting itself, however, it may be done after.
Make a record
Once the meeting has concluded and the minutes are approved, it is then time to make a record of the meeting. The agenda needs to be reviewed, clarification notes added, review all the actions, votes and decisions and ensure that the notes are clear and digestible. If there were documents shared during the meeting, attach copies to the meetings.
File and share
Finally, the board meeting minutes have to be signed off by the relevant parties, usually the business secretary, and then they can be shared with relevant parties and stored in the correct secure location.
What to Include and Exclude in Board Meeting Minutes
When taking corporate minutes, it is vital you know what to include and exclude. Robert’s Rules of Order minutes taking guide provides a good rule of thumb. This was a book written in the 19th century on meetings and minute taking and outlines key information which we can still use to this day. Here are good samples of board meeting minutes’ topics:
At the start of the minutes, there should be a checklist, including:
- Name of organization
- Meeting date
- Time of the meeting
- Names of participants and absentees
- Names of presiding officer and secretary
- Motions and amendments regarding the previous board meeting minutes
- A quorum (minority member number to hold the meeting)
For the main part of the meeting, there should be:
- Motions, whether approved or rejected
- Who made the motion
- Final form of any motion adopted or rejected, and any relevant debates or amendments.
- Information about the vote processes and what kind of ruling it was (i.e two-thirds vote, majority)
- Secondary motions
- Notices of motions
- Next steps
- Open discussions
- Next meeting time and date
- Adjournment time
What doesn’t need to be included:
- Sensitive information
- Summary of documents
- Personal opinions (i.e. if someone was visually unhappy with a motion)
- Unnecessary jargon and acronyms
Who Should Take Minutes of Board Meetings
Generally, it is the business secretary’s role to take the minutes of board meetings. However, it may not always have to be, others can volunteer to take the role. Sometimes managers, who are external to the board from a professional management company, can take the minutes, in order to not slant the minutes a particular way.
How Long Do You Have to Keep Board Meeting Minutes
There is no short answer to this question, as it relates to the laws of the state or nation the meeting takes place in. However, it is prudent to keep the board meeting minutes permanently, on a secure server, as they may be requested for legal and tax purposes. They may also need to be referred to in previous meetings and to generally track progress.
Minutes Taking Tools
There are different types of tools that can help take board meeting minutes.
For example, project management tools can help with meeting management modules, to organize meetings, sync with calendars and outline the agenda in advance. One example of this is nTask.
Google Meets, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and others are useful virtual meeting software, which can help in establishing date, time, and synchronizing with calendars, to ensure that no one can miss a meeting. Often they can integrate with other apps.
Recording meetings is a vital step for good meeting minutes, allowing the note taker to review the meeting before making the report. Notiv is a software which not only records the meeting, but transcribes and summarizes it with the help of AI, and then this information can be shared directly to participants or anyone else, for example absentees or anyone else who needs to be brought up to speed.
Board Meeting Minutes Templates
Here, we will provide you with an example of a template, which you can use to make further board meeting minutes templates. This gives you an idea of board meeting minutes examples, so you can see what they should look like. This is all in accordance with Robert’s Rules to Order minutes taking advice.
Board Meeting Minute Example:
Minutes for [Organization name]
Call to order
A board meeting of [organization] was held at [date] at [location]. It began at [time] and was presided over by [presiding officer name] with [secretary’s name] as secretary.
Voting members in attendance: [list]
Guests in attendance: [list]
Quorum for the meeting:
Approval of minutes
A motion to approve/amend the minutes of the [previous date] meeting was made by [name].
Main motions: Moved by [name]. The motion [carried or failed] with [number] in favor and [number] against by a [ballot] vote.
Secondary motions: Moved by [name]. The motion [carried or failed] with [number] in favor and [number] against by a [ballot] vote.
Notices of motions:
Next meeting will be held on [date] at [time] at [location]
[Name of mover] moved that the meeting be adjourned, and this was agreed upon at [time of adjournment].
Date of minutes approval
This template should give you a good sample of board meeting minutes that you can utilize and modify for any future board meetings. What would be wise, is to take this and modify to make several board meeting minutes templates.
We provided advice for board meeting minutes, which should help you in any future board meeting. Remember to follow Roberts Rules of Order minutes taking advice, so that you stay focused and organized in any future templates or minute taking. In addition, you can use our board meeting minutes template to use as a versatile starting point to ensure your minutes are comprehensive and easy to understand. If you want to learn more about how Notiv can help you take minutes of board meetings, then take a look at the website, or find out how to take better meeting notes.