WRITING AND DOCUMENTATION OF MINUTES

How to Writes Minutes of a Meeting.

Recently a friend of mine got embarrassed with himself because he was in a meeting, where the general secretary was not present and he was asked to write the minute of the meeting.  He was really sweating profusely. He really didn’t know where to start or what form the minute should take. He just started scribbling things down, without being sure of what he was really doing. You could really guess what the scenario would be if he were asked to read the minute at a later meeting.

Some of us find ourselves in this quandary, and others find themselves in a different situation. Where they have been elected as a general secretary or secretary of an association or organization, and you are at lost of how deliberations in a meeting should be written, or in what format. Again, you might be a good writer or probably you are used to writing minutes already, and you are wondering whether there is an avenue to get better or get to know the best practices in writing minutes, YWF serves to fill that void.

We will now begin our lesson on this session by looking at what minutes of a meeting is.

There is no difficulty in the definition of minutes of a meeting. It is simply a recording of proceedings in an official gathering or meeting. It, thus, entails the recording of things said and done during the course of a meeting.

Let us now proceed to the content of minutes

  1. The Minutes of a Meeting must begin with a title. The title must contain the following information; the name of the organization, the venue of the meeting and the date of the meeting.

Example:

The minutes of the meeting of the Leaders’ Hall Students Representative Council, University of Aba, held on 12th January, 2014, at the Senior Common Room(SCR) Leaders’Hall.

The importance of the title is evident on the face of it. It settles the validity or invalidity of the meeting. If no such meeting held at the said date, or the said venue; or the venue used was not the official venue it is easy to spot it out.

  1. The attendance of the meeting:

The attendance ought to come first. But where the meeting involves a large number of participants, and members are required to write their names and append their signatures, then this feature comes last, and comes by way of reference.

 

Example:

The meeting was constituted by the required majority, whose attendance has been attached to the minute of this meeting.

  1. The reading of the minutes of the last meeting and its adoption.
  2. After that an outline of the agenda for the meeting, which usually includes reactions to the previous minutes.
  3. The minutes can be ended by record of who said the closing prayers, where it takes place, otherwise by a certification by the recording officer.

 

Issues Arising under Minutes:

Some people have asked me whether everything said during a meeting must be recorded in the minutes. The clear answer is no. however, unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule in what to include and what to omit. Generally, banters , jokes, comments entirely unconnected with the proceedings of the meeting and heavy disagreements that have descended to the realms of vulgar abuses are not to be included in the minutes. Important arguments, counter arguments, and the general resolution on each issues must be included. Supporting arguments except where they raise novel points, are not to be rewritten, it is enough to record that a particular person supported, towed the line, or adopted substantially the arguments of another. However, counter arguments, whether off point or not, must always be recorded. Voting pattern before decisions are reached must be indicated. Whether by a yes or no votes, or by raising of hands, or by secret ballot.

Note: Generally, past tense are used in the writing of minutes.