Meeting Minutes

Husband is the secretary of our local food pantry Board of Directors. He started out as a simple volunteer on Thursday afternoons, and then they wrangled him to be on the Board.

Due to COVID, all the meetings have been held on Zoom since he started as the taker of meeting minutes. That means he sits at the dining room table and listens intently and writes notes as fast as he can about who said what about which issue. People interrupt one another and don’t identify themselves before they speak or vote. He tries valiantly to type as accurately as he can the proceedings of the meetings. It takes hours of typing to get a rough draft, and then more time correcting the minutes after the other Board officers have perused the document and made their corrections.

The proceedings of the regulatory board of which I am a member are audio recorded so our office secretary can leisurely transcribe them. I have suggested to Husband that they do the same. He isn’t sure they have the technology to accomplish it. I think they do. It may take some wrangling on my part to help him with this. Sometimes, being the secretary is a real pain!

What happened when you had to take meeting minutes? What are your experiences on Boards? Who was the best secretary you ever encountered?

23 thoughts on “Meeting Minutes”

  1. In a couple of boards in my lifetime but I have bowed out of that kind of activity now. I’m not good at boards. I understand that “big picture” is necessary in life but I am not a big picture person. Just give me a list of what needs doing please.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK I have several questions for Chris. What important business is going on at this food pantry that the notes take so long and need to be reviewed by everyone. If there is voting taking place and needs counting, why doesn’t Chris say to everyone “please vote one at a time and say your name first before your vote.” Then he can write them all down. My third question is of course the most importan. If this is a long and arduous task that stresses him out, why doesn’t he suggest the board members take turns doing the notes so that he doesn’t have to do them all the time by himself! I spoken by someone who always prefers the path of least resistance

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Renee, you’ve hit one of my hot buttons. I detest meetings, I detest zoom meetings more than regular meetings, and I really detest having to take the notes. Most meetings that I am in I refuse to take notes (other than what I need) or to type them up and save them. Everybody in the meeting is a grown-up — they need to take the notes for what they need to do and get on with life. I come up in rotation for my department meeting notes every eight months and even that is too much. The first week that I was back from furlough, we had a department meeting and my boss called me ahead of time to warn me that I was actually Up Next in the rotation. Just a coincidence she said. I strenuously objected and she had to bribe me with Caribou.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I have never been the note taker for a meeting and would be a disaster in that role. Whenever I stop to write something down, I stop listening. I learned very early in school that I was much better off just listening carefully but that wouldn’t enable me to reproduce the business of a meeting.
    The trouble with meetings is there are people who actually like them and they prolong and perpetuate them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My regulatory board uses another Rules of Order, not Robert’s, in which you don’t need a second on motions. That helps speed things along. The name for theRules escapes me.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. i’ve never taken minutes
    i’ve been on a couple boards and hate it.
    my favorite secretary’s recaps are broad sweeping summary’s and tend to suggest if you want details show up for the meeting next time
    this is a synopsis of a meeting that gives scheduled order and topics covered and who was present
    i am not a good committee guy
    people tend to get uppity in committees. self importance drives me nuts

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Morning –
    I just had a board meeting last night. We held one meeting in person last month, now back to zooms… and last night we didn’t have enough to make a quorum so it was short and sweet! (It has been suggested we skip August meetings as so many people are gone).
    Minutes are tough. I’ve done it but I don’t like it. It’s tough to filter out all the chaff and just get the meat recorded.

    My lovely wife was on a board for 6 years; I thought it would be good for her. She hated every minute of it.

    The boards I’ve been on are all pretty low key so that’s nice. All of them rotate roles yearly. The township Board has elected positions so clerk and treasurer are set. The supervisors rotate through president.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve been on more boards of non-profit organizations than I care to think about. It was pretty much a requirement during the last twelve years of my stint in the corporate world.

    Husband has been on the board of a local non-profit for a couple of years now. From his reports about their meetings, currently only via Zoom, I get sufficient reminders of how frustrating it can be. I’m not a likely candidate for any board ever again.

    I can barely walk and chew gum, so taking notes while also listening is unthinkable for me. I do one or the other, and since I don’t write nearly as fast as most people tend to talk, I’m simply a lousy note taker. This was always true, even in school. I was envious of the students who mastered the art of taking good notes, I never did.

    I’ve had two really good secretaries, Rena at KPMG and Barb at Maslon. Both had good skills and were well organized; their personalities were very different, but they both made my job a lot easier. Barb was an even tempered, easy to get along with young woman, who stayed out of office politics. It was a huge loss when she went on maternity leave and, after six months of taking care of her baby, decided not to return to work.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I’ve been on many non-profit boards. My favorite board is the most recent at our county historical society, primarily because we have become friends and work well together as we run the Society and the museum in the absence of a director. (New director (part time) starts after Labor Day)
    Zoom meetings are awful…and I have trouble keeping minutes…and even if I am in meetings that I don’t have to take notes, I get frustrated.
    If Husband figures out how and decides to record I hope that eases the tension and frustration (I think whomever is the Zoom host has recording privileges).

    Liked by 4 people

  9. OT – Remember a few days ago when I mentioned that we had harvested a peculiar looking cucumber? Well, after doing a little research on the internet, we’ve concluded that what we have is an Armenian cucumber, which isn’t really a cucumber but a melon.

    https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Armenian_Cucumber_838.php#:~:text=Armenian%20cucumbers%2C%20botanically%20classified%20as%20Cucumis%20melo%20var.,by%20its%20appearance%20rather%20than%20its%20botanical%20classification.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. So far, I’m not impressed, but probably because my expectations were not for what I got. I feel a bit like I did the first time I encountered a plantain. I kept waiting for this unripe banana to ripen, and it never did. I’m still not a huge plantain fan, but now that I know what I’m dealing with in the Armenian cucumber, I’m adopting a wait and see attitude. There are several more on the plant, so we shall see.

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  10. I just remember being secretary of our Brownie troop in maybe second Grade! But am I making that up?? Why would a Brownie troop need to have minutes of their meetings? I think I was also secretary of the El Granada Residents Assn. in 1974, but I moved in the middle of that year.

    My first board was the Wedge Co-op in 1978 or so, and I joined the management collective the next year, when we (22 of us) were still trying to decide everything by consensus. You’d think that would have cured me, which it did till I agreed to be on Tapestry Folk Dance Center’s board around 2014. Then we moved here, and within a couple of years I joined the board of our UU church, and now I’ve just taken over as President. HOWEVER, the outgoing Pres. is heading up the committee that’s taking up the most time and energy (relocation), and my very good friend is the board’s administrator – she is one of those who CAN get pretty much everything down and keep it straight – hers is about the only paid position…

    Our UU group is very wise to take the summers off, so we had our first meeting of the next year last night (which was part of why I scheduled Husband’s release from rehab for this morning). All I had to do was collect agenda items and fill in the template. So far.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. OT: Update (and answer to PJ’s question) Husband got “sprung” this morning from rehab. He’s on a mostly soft foods diet, which I’ll write more about sooner or later… I’ll be taking him to speech therapy appts. starting on Monday, but he’s much more aware, present, and verbal than he was the first time we tried to come home. He can also read and retain a lot more, tell me what he wants and needs, and help out with everything. So far it seems very different from the first time.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Cynthia is right, the meeting host should set up the recording. With Zoom there is no need to write everything down as it is happening. Just write a brief summary and then link to the recording for anyone who wants more detail.

    I used to try to take notes for our Blevins Book Club meetings, but I wasn’t very good at remembering, or keeping up with the conversation when taking notes. Anna was the one who had a gift for this.

    I was a treasurer for my dragon boat group at one point, but I don’t think I would do that again. The preceding treasurer had a lot of very definite ideas about how things needed to be done, and I felt the pressure.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. They are not secretary notes but while in high-school my notes were acclaimed. I had outlines available for the taking. The first utterance is critical. There after, wait for a pause. Remember that. Then raise your hand and ask a question. The content of the question matters not. Wait. Wait. The next statement is to be remembered.
    Sure this is not about secretarial note taking but what is worth a note?

    Liked by 3 people

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