August 22, 2017
Karen Peacey

5 tips for better board minutes

The summer is winding down and soon board meetings will wind back up.  That doesn’t have to mean carrying on with the same bad habits.

One sure way to improve the efficiency of your board is to take better minutes.

What makes minutes good? We hear from directors that good minutes are short, easy to scan and refer back to. Here are 5 simple minute-taking tips to get you there:

  1. Get the vitals down, and only the vitals – note the date of meeting, who was there, what topics were discussed and what was decided. After the meeting ends, accept no additions or edits after-the-fact.
  2. Avoid acronyms and jargon – all directors may not be familiar with your industry terms, legalese and insider speak – write out all terms and opt for plain language.
  3. Keep it short and succinct – e.g. We appointed this person, to this role title, for this term, on this date. Skip the lengthy description on the role.
  4. Highlight resolutions – format your minutes so resolutions stand out – bold them or put a box around them – and consider doing a summary at the end of minutes for efficient recall later.
  5. Use a consistent format – even if your secretary is absent, have the stand-in follow the same effective template for familiar minutes every meeting.

Want to learn more – here are some great resources from Sylvia Groves of the Governance Studio.

AAA+ Minutes videos
Accessible minutes
Accurate minutes

Minutes Handbook
AAA+ Minutes – The three must-do fundamentals and 100s of practice tips

Curious? Find out more.

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