10 Tips for Taking Minutes
Recently elected as a Recording Officer? Perhaps this is your first time taking minutes or maybe you need a refresher. Either way, MnCCC is here to help you prepare for your role as a Recording Officer! We've compiled 10 tips that will help you succeed in taking minutes during user group meetings. You can also download the tips below!
Why Taking Minutes is Important
Minutes are a way of creating a record of intentions and actions of a group. The minutes are the history of your user group and are often referenced to find out what was done, what decisions were made and why. Minutes are also used to share what happened at a meeting for those members and interested parties that were not able to attend a meeting.
User groups have an elected Recording Officer that is responsible for taking minutes at all user group and advisory/executive committee meetings. For committee meetings, the committee chairs should make sure a Recording Officer is appointed to take minutes.
10 Tips for Taking Minutes
Before the Meeting
1. The best way to make taking minutes easy is to use the agenda and create a minute taking template. Include the date, time and location of a meeting and then work through the agenda items.
2. You can request a copy of the attendee list prior to the meeting, so you have a list of names and counties/organizations at hand when you are taking minutes.
3. You can also request name tents for all attendees, just give the MnCCC staff a few days notice to print out the name tents.
During the Meeting
4. Be sure to remind attendees to state their name when making motions. This is especially important forvirtual meetings or conference calls. It will make capturing motions much easier and not require you to know everyone’s names.
5. If there are lengthy discussions, you can note in the minutes “Discussion on XXX”, capture a few of the highlights/details and then the final decision.
6. If there is a vote,the Recording Officer should capture who made a motion, who made a second, and after the vote, whether the motion passed or not.
7. If the meeting is virtual, remind attendees to rename themselves in the meeting platform and to include their first/last names and their county/organization. This helps you recognize who is speaking during the meeting and if a quorum was reached.
8. Have a question during the meeting? The chat feature is a great way to ask a question or get clarification on a topic without interrupting the speaker.
After the Meeting
9. Be sure to complete the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. It is difficult to capture minutes from notes that are several days (or weeks) old. MnCCC keeps all attendee lists on file, please contact us if you would like a copy. Once your minutes are complete, they should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. MnCCC will post minutes on the RSVP calendar with your next scheduled meeting. Minutes are considered to be in draft form until they are approved at the next meeting. If changes or corrections are made to the minutes at the next meeting, the Recording Officer is responsible for making the changes and sending a new final copy to MnCCC. If there are no changes and minutes are approved as presented, there is no need to send a final copy.
10. Many of our user groups are adding Action Items to minutes. They are captured in the minutes during the discussion and marked in bold and maybe red. For example, under a specific section of the minutes the Recording Officer might include “Action Item: Standards Committee Chair will work with MnCCC Staff to schedule a meeting in the next two weeks.” In some groups, Action Items are captured separately and included as an item on the agenda. Action Items help our user groups stay on task.