The minutes of a meeting are the record of the discussions/decisions therein. They have an official status; they are useful in law, and in some cases required by law to be written. Minutes are final when they are approved by the members of the group to which they relate, generally in the next meeting, and signed by the chairperson.
Even if there are emotional moments in a meet, the minutes are written in an unemotional manner, are cool, factual, impersonal, and impartial. Moreover, such are the demands of time on most people that the minutes should be concise, boiled down to the essentials.
Only some organizations’ require that they record the detailed discussions as well (i.e. who said what and what were the reactions… until the decision was reached). Normally, the body of the minute’s records.
(a) The motions and amendments thereto
(b) The proposer and seconded of motions
(c) The details of voting, if any
(e) Decisions/ resolutions
(f) Tasks assigned to individuals, sub-committees
The overall minutes should give
- The name of the organization/ unit
- Day, date, time and place
- Number in order (e.g. 33rd meeting of…)
- Names of chairperson and secretary
- Names of members present
- Names of the absent
- Attendees by special invitation, e.g. auditor, caterer, etc.
- Record of the transactions (on the guidelines given above)
- Signature of secretary and, after approval, that of the chairman.
Tips for writing minutes
The minutes are written generally by the secretary from the notes taken during the meet. He/she can use the agenda as the framework for writing them and use short forms, shorthand etc. to take quick and accurate notes. He may have to ask members to repeat their words to get them right.
He should note down all the particulars needed for the fair copy of minutes. The items of the minutes can be written under short headings such as are used in the agenda.