Due to their significance, notes from a meeting of the board of directors should have a high degree of accuracy. Failure to record words correctly or capture essential facts could have adverse outcomes later. The note taker could find themselves in trouble, for example, when poor note taking affects the board’s operations. The following ideas can help you avoid such a situation by taking notes accurately.
Do some pre-planning
Planning for anything is an excellent idea if you want to avoid problems. The same concept could be applied when taking notes at a crucial meeting. It would be a shame for your superiors to know that you failed to prepare for note take at a crucial meeting. Planning involves knowing the agenda in advance. You could work with the members of the board to compose the agenda if a copy is not available. The ordering and numbering of items in the agenda makes the process easy when writing things like the handouts to be used in the meeting and is also helpful for later reference. You should also ascertain the required content and particular format.
Include Pertinent Information
Apart from recording the occurrences in a meeting, you should include other relevant information. This includes the meeting date and time, participants, absentees, amendments or corrections to previous meeting minutes, actions the board has agreed to take, next steps and voting outcomes, among other details. If necessary, include details about members who made, seconded, approved or rejected motions. You may also note down items to be revisited and the next meeting date and time.
Create an outline
Making an outline based on the agenda enables you to jot down notes systematically under each item. A template could help you take notes faster especially if you are writing by hand. Leaving a space below each item for your hand-written notes enables you to print them out after you capture minutes.
Don’t try to capture it all
It can be difficult to write down the conversation verbatim. The most efficient method is typing or writing only the necessary information such as action steps, decisions, and assignments. Alternatively, you can tape the proceedings if note taking proves taxing. You could carry out the recording on your Smartphone, iPad or any other recording device. It is important, however, to inform the participants that you are recording them. You may later use the recording to seek clarification rather than making word-for-word transcription.
You should use the same tense as you take notes throughout the meeting. Avoid using individual’s names unless when you mention motions or seconds because mentioning the person who said something in the meeting is immaterial. According to Lynn Gaertner-Johnston of businesswriting.com, avoid noting down your personal observations in a partisan manner. You can do so by steering clear of adjectives or adverbs that describe things in a negative light. When you refer to external documents, you may indicate their location or attach them in an appendix. Do not summarize them or try to rewrite their intent.
Proper note taking can make a significant difference in providing a record of a board meeting. A lack of proper records could make the meeting lose its appeal.