Board Meeting Minutes Template

Taking board meeting minutes can be a very valuable part of your job even if it seems like it’s a thankless job at some points. However, a board meeting needs to have its minutes taken, and there’s a very good reason why board minutes are so important. Not only do they help maintain the history of the decisions made by your company, but they also can help your company meet legal requirements for the organization. In fact, sometimes being able to refer back to different previous meetings can even get a company out of legal trouble!

Taking care of the board minutes is a critical job, and to make sure that the entire process goes smoothly, you should have a meeting minutes template to take effective minutes.

Reasons to Take Board Meeting Minutes

First, board meeting minutes, after the board approves them, are legal records of the meeting. They can be called up in court and can land board of directors members in liability if they are subpoenaed. If you don’t record the information on every minute correctly, then those mistakes will be made legal, and that can cause a lot of problems for the board.

Having a recap for the previous meeting and touching on each of the board minutes for the last board meeting can get people into the zone and spark new ideas for this next meeting. It can also keep people accountable for the next steps for various action items and help keep people responsible for new projects.

Finally, the sponsors for your meetings can access the board meeting minutes and examine the effectiveness of the board members. If your board has a proven track record with getting things done and making some serious progress in a short amount of time, then they will probably be inclined to give you more money.

Plus, if someone higher up is looking at your meeting minutes, then you need to make sure that they have something clean and legible. Otherwise, they are likely to move onto something else!

If they see that your board members aren’t doing a lot, they will turn away from your company and focus their efforts elsewhere. Taking board meeting minutes is a great way to keep your company intact and focused and make sure that the entire board is protected from legal problems.

How a Board Meeting Minutes Template Can Help

The minutes of a board meeting are vital, and you might find yourself in many board meetings. To ensure that you and your board secretary don’t get burnt out on taking board minutes and can continue to do them with accuracy, you need a board meeting minutes template. These templates can not only serve as guidelines for the business, but they also can give you an easy way to format your board minutes.

Additionally, if you need to go through all of your board meeting minutes looking for a specific section of text or data, you can just look through the different sections and work a lot faster than normal. A specific format can help your company make some real changes, and they serve as guidance for the company.

Finally, a template lets you jump right into the groove of taking minutes without having to write down the same information again and again. Instead, you can focus on filling in the blanks for the smaller stuff and then getting starting writing out the bigger items.

Plus, having a format allows you to get into the routine of collecting meeting minutes. If you do the same thing every time and follow the same template, you can get into the groove and start collecting board minutes without worrying about it.

Importance of Adopting an Agenda Before the Next Meeting

One of the best ways to start writing a board meeting minutes template is to look at the meeting agenda. Every meeting should have an agenda that allows you to plan to keep the meeting on track, and you can easily convert this into board minutes. If you know what the board members will be discussed beforehand, you can outline the important issues, what could be voted on, and the purpose of the meeting.

Additionally, the agenda for the meeting should also help you assign a minute taker in advance. A minute taker who knows that they will be a minute taker will be an enthusiastic one. You don’t want to put a board member on the spot, and instead, make sure that the board member is ready to take the notes for every meeting. Keeping some level of consistency is a good idea and allows for you to make sure that your minute takers can easily get familiar with the quality of the minutes.

Your minute taker should ideally have a high typing speed and a good ear for transcription, which will help them quickly and efficiently take notes without having to stop the meeting and ask for something to be repeated.

You should also clarify the agenda that your minute taker or board secretary needs to focus on a specific format if they should participate in the discussions that are happening in the room, and how they should take minutes. Do they need to take the board minutes with technology or by hand?

Tips on Taking Minutes at a Board Meeting

Taking meeting minutes at a board meeting is an interesting and important aspect of board meetings, and you need to make sure that you can take effective notes. Since meetings can become either heated with discussions of votes and changes, you want to make sure that your note keeper can keep up and still get all the important facts down.

Be Objective

Board meeting minutes should be about the facts and nothing more, which is why your note keeper has to be objective about the proceedings. Stick to the facts and what is on the agenda and make sure to reread the minutes with fresh eyes to prevent accidentally sending in minutes that are too emotional.

Use Bullet Points

One of the easiest ways to complete board meeting minutes is to use bullet points. Rather than transcribing an entire conversation word for word and running the risk of falling behind or getting facts wrong, you should focus on making sure that you have the gist of everything down and that you focus on the important stuff.

The meetings shouldn’t read like a play-by-play manuscript of what the board members said, but instead should read like a bulleted list of the best parts of the meeting and any major changes that occurred and were voted on at the meeting. Because these meeting records can be called into court at any time, you don’t want to include too much information or direct quotes. The more specific something is, the easier it is for someone to misconstrue it.

What to Record at a Meeting?

Make sure to include:

  • The time and location that the meeting took place
  • The names of those attending and those who are absent
  • The additions to the agenda
  • The motions that have been put forward or withdrawn
  • Any new business.

These essential pieces of information can be what courts can call into question and what board members might like to see.

There should always be a list of who is attending the meeting and who is absent, as well as the absentee’s signed waivers and reason for not attending. You should also record the results of any votes taken as well as who voted. If the members had a particular reason to vote the way they did, you should write that down.

You should also write down the gist of any open discussions that happened during the meeting, and of course, the date and time for the next meeting. Basically, if a detail is important enough or short enough to be recorded in a few sentences, it should be included.

What Not to Record at a Meeting

While you will be recording the votes taken, results, and who voted, you should not write down how given board members voted. Instead, write down the number of for and against participants, and leave it at that. Unless you have to deal with a financial transaction, then you will need to say how each member voted.

Additionally, don’t record:

  • Opinions
  • Summaries
  • Off the record conversations
  • Fluff or unneeded wording

No Opinions

You also should not include the opinions of particular board members as your minutes should both be impersonal and focused on the decisions made, not a lot of discussions. You can put down that a debate or discussion occurred, but you don’t want to add opinions, as these can be picked apart in court.

Keep Summaries Out

You also shouldn’t write long summaries of presentations or documents and instead, note where the reader can find a copy of them. Then they can find the whole and unabridged document instead of reading through a ton of excess content.

Remove Off the Record Conversations

Finally, don’t include any off-the-record discussions or side chatter. These are allowed to take place and should be labeled as off the record. Just write down that items that were not on the agenda were discussed and leave it at that.

No Unneeded Wording

Make sure to keep everything succinct as you take the notes for the board meeting minutes. Don’t fluff things up or take too many words to say something. Meeting minutes need to be taken quickly and as dialogue is going on, so master your shorthand!

Saving Meeting Minutes for Future Reference

After the meeting is complete, you should focus on organizing your meeting minute transcripts into an area where you can get to them easily. They should be filed and stored by date, so if a board member requests to see them or if they are required by the court, you can easily find them. This step is essential, and you should keep all your minute records going back for several years. They can be called on at any time.

Create an organizing system and stick to it, and you’ll be able to find board meeting minute transcripts no matter what.

Published: Apr 13, 2021