Sat, March 28, 2020

Meetings: Notes

Taking notes is also known as ‘taking minutes.’ Basically, you are writing down every important issue and the vote taken on it. It keeps a record of who said what and who was at each meeting. As your business grows, it will be good to know how your business got where it is.

So, without further ado (what is ‘ado’ anyway?), here are some tips on taking good notes.

1. Start with the agenda. Since each item you will discuss should be on the agenda, use that as an outline and get a head start.

2. List everyone’s name in attendance. This will help you remember names and make initials when someone votes for something.

3. Write down exactly what is said for each motion. You may want to ask before the vote and sometimes the moderator will ask you to read the motion as written. It is important to get the wording right. Let’s say Sally makes a motion that the office needs a computer that will be only for business purposes. You don’t want to put in your notes something like “Sally wants a computer.” That would be wrong and misleading. But Sally may like it if everyone votes and she gets a new computer for herself. You may not like it if you have to pay for it!

4. Every motion should have a second. Make sure to note who seconded each motion. Use initials of the person or their first name. You have to keep a close eye to see who seconds and you may have to raise your hand and ask who seconded. This is perfectly acceptable.

5. Use abbreviations. Think of your own code like 2nd or sec or snd or for motions you may put mtn or mot or whatever. These are your notes that you will type up for the rest of the group later. You will be taking a bunch of notes so the shorter you can write repeated things the better you will do.

6. Participate. Just because you are taking notes does not mean that you can not make a motion or even second it. Don’t get so caught up with notes that you forget to be part of the meeting.

7. Note discussions. After a motion is made and seconded there may be some discussion. If you feel it is relevant, note who said what during the discussion. These kinds of notes may come in handy if you need to come back to that issue or adjust a previous decision. There may be a business gem that pops up because of a discussion and everyone would have missed it if you did not put it in the minutes. Yay, you!

8. Keep discussion notes quick. Make them short and to the point. You don’t need to write down everything that was said, unless there is a major disagreement. If there is a legal issue or accusations, it helps to write down everything that people say. For instance, let’s say you are negotiating a lease on a property where you will put your office. The owner comes to your meeting and your group is discussing the exact nature of the lease. Your notes can be compared when the actual lease comes to your group for signature to make sure they remembered what you agreed upon.

9. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to interject some humor (appropriately). Humor keeps members reading. Do not use humor in motions or important decisions. But something like, “John made a motion for adjournment because he drank five cups of coffee at the meeting. Sally seconded having only drank three cups. All in favor also drank coffee.”

Taking notes makes things ‘official.’ Anyone should be able to read your meeting notes and see how your business has developed. It will help you to avoid mistakes in the future and make good decisions as your business grows.

One last note: make sure you have a detailed person taking the notes. Give them the responsibility and have one back up in case that person is not able to attend some of the meeting.

Please share any other note taking tips you may have in our comments.

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1 Comment to “Meetings: Notes”

  1. Yokel says:

    What’s a Moderator???


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