Over the last decade, I've seen hundreds of board meeting minutes. Some of these minutes are 20 pages long and contain a summary of everything each board member said during the course of the meeting. Please, don't do this. [Click here for an example of what meeting minutes should look like: Sample Meeting Minutes]
Robert's Rules of Order (11th ed.) contain very specific guidelines on meeting minutes. Minutes should reflect what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members.
The content of the minutes should include:
- the kind of meeting (special, board, annual)
- name of the association, society, or assembly
- date, time and place of the meeting
- names of those in attendance
- whether the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved (as read or as corrected)
- all main motions
- the outcome of the motion (in Oregon, ORS 94 & ORS 100 require the minutes to reflect how each board member voted on the motion)
- points of order
- hour of adjournment
That's it! With these guidelines in mind, most meeting minutes should not be more than a page or two. There are a couple of special considerations that each board can decide how to handle.
- Committee Reports: in small board meetings where the substance of a committee report is given orally, you may summarize the report in the meeting minutes. In most cases, a committee will deliver a written report which can be noted in the minutes and then attached as an exhibit if necessary.
- Guest Speakers: Robert's Rules states that the name and subject of a guest speaker may be given, but no effort should be made to summarize their remarks.
- Secondary Motions: In some cases secondary motions (motion to recess, motion to suspend rules) may be recorded in the minutes if it is necessary to record them for the sake of clarity or completeness.