Serving as the official minute-taker may not be the most glamorous job in the HOA, but it’s one of the most important. The minutes are an official and legal record of the meeting—a written report of the discussion and decisions made so everyone knows what happened.
If you’ve been entrusted with this task, you may have questions about what to to do. What information should you write down? How much of the discussion do you need to record? How do you keep track of everything that happens during the meeting? These ideas can help answer those questions.
Before the Meeting
A little bit of planning before the meeting makes minute-taking easier. Start by choosing a note-taking format or template to use as a guide. This helps you stay focused as you listen to the discussion and ensures that you record all the information you need.
The template should include the following:
- Date, time and location of the meeting
- Names of attendees
- Approval of previous minutes
- Agenda items discussed
- Motions, votes, and actions were taken during the meeting
- Open discussion items
- Adjournment time
You can—and should—adapt the format or template to meet the requirements of the HOA. It’s also helpful to have a copy of the meeting agenda available so you can keep track of the meeting’s progress. Print this before everyone arrives.
During the Meeting
Your most important job as the minute-taker is to record what happens in the meeting. To do this, you have to pay attention to what each person says. Choose your seat carefully so you can see and hear who is talking.
Your report isn’t a transcription of the meeting, so you don’t have to record every detail. Instead, note the items that appear on the agenda and write down the motions and decisions made for each of them. This will help you remain objective as you listen and avoid the influence of your personal beliefs or observations.
After the Meeting
Set aside time after the meeting to write the report while everything is fresh in your memory. Review your notes and compare them to the agenda, adding additional details as needed to reflect the discussion and decisions made. This is your opportunity to clarify information and remove irrelevant details.
Write the report in an easy-to-read format using short sentences, small blocks of text and subheadings. Attach copies of handouts and other documents used at the meeting instead of trying to summarize them within the official notes. Then submit the report and attachments for official approval.
Keeping good records is just one component of a properly managed homeowners association. If your HOA needs help fulfilling its duties, give us a call. We can review documents, help resolve disputes and offer advice about your legal rights and responsibilities as an HOA.