Just a minute!

The minutes of a company’s board meetings should provide an accurate record of proceedings at the meeting.  They will need to be referred to in the future so it is vital that they are accurate and concise.

Here are our top tips : minutes

Preparation is key. Take time to understand the agenda, and review any related documents, such as minutes from previous meetings and any reports that may be discussed at the meetings.

  • Based on these documents, build a glossary of names and terms used within the organisation.  This makes the taking of the minutes easier, faster and more accurate.
  • If you’re taking the minutes for the first time, read the previous minutes to understand the preferred style in which the minutes are to be taken.
  • On the day of the meeting itself, arrive early and sit where you can hear proceedings clearly, avoiding any distractions (such as being able to see out of the window!).
  • During the meeting, don’t try to write down every word that is spoken. Listen for key words or phrases, and interpret what is being said. Concentrate on recording the decisions that are reached, and any actions that might arise.
  • It may not be necessary to record every contrary opinion expressed unless the dissenter specifically asks for their disagreement to be noted in the minutes.
  • If you are unclear about what has been agreed, or if something should or should not be minuted, seek clarification from the chair at the time.
  • Produce the minutes as soon as is practicable after the meeting while everything is still fresh - ideally within 48 hours.
  • The minutes should be accurate, brief and clear. Make them readable by incorporating white space, headings, bullet points, paragraphs and margins, making it easy to locate important information. 
  • Ask another person who attended the meeting to proof read your first draft.
  • Double check for spelling, grammar and confirmation that they make sense

Finally, the minutes will need to be approved by the chair. 

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