Why are committee meeting minutes important?
Committee meetings form an important part of the work a club does. As such it’s imperative that the minutes of these meetings form a true and accurate record of what was discussed, decisions made, any actions raised, and who will complete them.
Minutes are also essential for helping any committee members who may have missed a meeting to fill in the gaps and get brought up to speed with any important club matters in no time.
What do you need to record?
You will need to record:
- what is discussed and decided at each committee meeting
- which action points arise and who they were delegated to
- how you plan to proceed and what you’re working towards
The minutes from the previous meeting should serve as a reference point for the following committee meeting, providing you with a clear roadmap for your discussions, allowing you to quickly and easily follow up with any actions, as well as keeping your meetings concise and on track with a clear structure too.
It doesn’t matter how small or informal your committee meetings may be - keeping minutes will help you to have an accurate reflection of how each meeting went.
Who typically takes minutes in a meeting?
It is usually the role of the club secretary to record the minutes of your club committee meeting, however anyone involved in the meeting can take minutes.
Further reading: How to effectively run a committee meeting
What do you have to do, and include before/during and after?
Being in charge of club committee minutes isn’t quite as simple as just taking notes during each committee meeting, but rather, to be a good minute keeper, your job starts before and continues after each meeting too.
During each committee meeting you will be taking notes to produce the minutes afterwards. It’s recommended that you formally type up your minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, so that your notes are fresh in your mind and that it’s easier to pull together the fragments of information you collected throughout the meeting itself.
Not only does typing the notes give you a digital record, which will allow you to store them on file and refer back at a much later date, but you’ll be able to quickly email them to members who were absent, or distribute them to members of the committee for a written record of what was discussed.
Time-saving tip: if you're using Google Meet for your meeting, you can add the tl;dv Chrome extension and tag key parts of the meeting. This not only makes it easier for you to create the minutes, but for anyone who missed the meeting to quickly get up-to-speed with what was said.
tl;dv is planning to support Zoom and Microsoft Teams shortly.
Get tl;dv here
Once your notes are typed up, or written out neatly if your preference is to file things on paper, you’ll need to distribute them to the chair of the committee to sign and agree the minutes. It’s always a good idea to then share with the wider committee, so that any action points are in black and white for people to follow up.
Before the next meeting, it’s the job of the minute keeper to look back over the minutes from the previous meeting to set an agenda for the upcoming one. This will allow you to keep meetings concise, to ensure that all essential points are covered and that all progress is tracked.
If you have some particularly important points to discuss during your meetings, it’s always a good idea to send around a quick agenda for the upcoming committee meeting to allow people to prepare in advance for the discussion.
What skills/experience/characteristics do you need?
While you don’t need any specific experience to keep good minutes, you'll need to be well organised, pay attention to detail and to be able to concentrate for potentially long periods of time. You need to be able to immediately determine whether something is important to record or not. Arguably the most important skill of all is that you need to be a good listener, as most minute takers spend much more time listening than they do writing.
Good committee minutes don’t need to be long, complex or involve sophisticated language - in fact, the clearer and easier they are to understand your minutes are the better. You simply need to be able to write down the facts in a way that people can easily read and understand.
What should your club committee minutes contain?
Your committee minutes should start with a list of people who attended the meeting, and any apologies from those invited but not able to attend.
Following the order of the agenda, give each point of discussion a subheading and a number and then write separate paragraphs of notes per topic.
The key information to record are any action points - i.e. what needs to be done, who has agreed to do it, and what the deadline is.
Always state any main issues and collective decisions made - you don’t need to note down any individual views or preferences expressed unless there is a strong opposition to an idea, nor do you need to pay attention to who initially proposed a solution, only who is to action it. If there is a vote taken on a subject, then it’s worth making more detailed notes to record who voted for what, so that you have an accurate record for future reference.
Top 10 tips for writing committee minutes
- If you struggle with writing or typing quickly, ask for consent from your committee members to make an audio recording of the meeting. You can then transcribe/take your minutes from the recording afterwards. Most smartphones will have a built-in sound recorder app which will be more than sufficient.
- Don’t try to write everything down. Minutes are not a transcript - they are condensed notes of the meeting. Focus on what’s important.
- Try to number each item so that your minutes flow logically. If you’re working with loose paper, make sure to number the bottom of each page so you can easily put the pages in order again.
- Always take the previous minutes with you to the next meeting. As a minute taker, people will look to you for answers if anything comes up about previous meetings - so having the minutes there to refer back to will keep you in check.
- Make sure you have the stationery you need before the meeting. You’ll want plenty of paper, pens that work just in case!
- If you work quicker while typing, don’t be afraid to take a laptop to your meetings instead! You need to keep notes in a way which works best for you.
- Block out an hour in your diary as soon as you can after the meeting for you to get your notes typed up. You want the meeting to be fresh in your memory to recall the details and so that your notes make the most sense.
- Try to send out your minutes quickly to give those who have been assigned tasks plenty of time to complete them.
- You should also set reminders for yourself to chase up any tasks set so that they are completed before the next meeting.
- Make an attendance sheet in advance of the meeting with the names of all your committee members on the page. This means the sheet can be passed around throughout the meeting for attendees to sign, giving you a clear record of who is and isn’t at each meeting.
Committee minutes template
Title: Minutes of x Sports Club, meeting held on Friday 2nd June, 7-8pm 2021
Present at meeting: Include a list of everyone who was present at the meeting
Apologies: Include a list of everyone who couldn’t make the meeting
Minutes of the last meeting: Confirm that the minutes of the last meeting are true and correct [seek a proposer and a seconder from the committee - you don’t need to record everyone’s approval]
[one number, one paragraph per discussion topic]
- Sports day: The club will hold a sports day on 12 August. Begin with any notes from last meeting. Update on action points. Discuss what’s left to do.
Action: Sally to organise food & drink. Pete to get teams together. Cheryl to plan sponsorship.
2. Club fundraising: The club needs money for a new football kit.
Action: Graham to put together a raffle to raise money. Pam to look into hiring a projector for a movie night.
3. Club presentation evening: The club’s annual presentation evening to recognise the efforts of players and staff.
Action: Pete to finalise nomination list. Cheryl to secure caterers. Graham to design invites.
4. Date of next meeting: The next meeting will be held at x, on 10th July, 6-7pm.
Taking minutes for your club committee meetings shouldn’t be a stressful task - but it is one that is incredibly important. By taking the advice listed above, making use of the handy tips and working with our minutes template, you’re going to have easy, accurate and concise minutes ready for your committee to enjoy.