Wednesday 13 May 2020

Look for in a Meeting Minute

What To Look for in a Meeting Minute  

While the content of your minutes will change from one meeting to the next, 
there’s a standard meeting minute template that most organizations follow. 
This includes:
Organization name
Date of meeting
Time the meeting was called to order
Board members present
Name of the presiding officer
Absent board members
Note whether the session meets quorum
Guests and organizational staff present

Orders of Business
*Note name of all persons reporting, motioning, dissenting  and all voting results
Old Business
Approval of minutes from prior board meeting
Follow up from any unresolved business from the previous meeting
New Business
Reports from the Executive Director/CEO, finance department, and program staff leads
Committee reports
Additional business or supplements to the agenda

Future action steps
Date and time of the next board meeting
Time the meeting adjourns
Signature (digital or physical) from secretary or designated minute note taker

Do not interrupt.
It seems obvious that only one person at a time should speak. However, those
unskilled in board etiquette may interrupt or begin to speak out of turn. This is
one if the biggest concerns of board members. Hold comments for the speaker
until the meeting allows for questions, or until the speaker opens the floor for
discussion. Stick with the topic at hand. It is each board member’s obligation to
understand both the positive and negative aspects of suggestions. Obtaining the
best results is more important than who first voiced the result.
Abstain from electronics.
Some individuals take notes with a laptop. This is only acceptable for the
secretary or someone taking the minutes. The “tap, tap, tap” sound is annoying
and disruptive. Cell phones should always be silenced.
Wait your turn.
When asking a question, it usually is more appropriate to raise your hand rather
than blurt out your question. The speaker needs to acknowledge everyone.
Keep your question brief. When asking a question, be succinct and clear. If your
question or comment is too detailed, break it up into parts. Be sure to only ask
one question at a time; others may have questions as well.
Pay attention.
After a long day we tend to let our minds wander especially if someone is taking
too much time on a topic. If people are not listening, then time is wasted by
redundant questions and comments.
Be patient and calm.
Do not fidget, drum your fingers, tap your pen. It makes everyone around you
feel uneasy. It’s a form of body language that can put many people off if you act
bored or fidgety.
Attend the entire meeting.
Leave before a meeting conclusion only if absolutely necessary and only after
obtaining prior permission before the meeting’s start.

Some of the above etiquette rules appear very basic; the dynamics of consensus
building also require more complex protocol.
The person conducting the meeting needs to keep in mind the pecking order.
Accomplished group leaders or facilitators promote participation. They never
take sides or show favoritism. A chair who wishes to be part of a discussion may
assign another person to facilitate. If there is a time to collect comments from all
the members, start with the least senior person. This is a bold and powerful move.
It allows others to have an opportunity to speak when they otherwise would not.
If the most senior person speaks up first it sounds final, others feel that they can’t
contradict. An idea may be well received when brought up by a highly respected
group member, although it was ignored a few minutes earlier when brought up by
someone in a less powerful position. Beginning with the least senior person helps
eliminate tendencies to lean towards the senior members.
Rather than begin with solutions, first focus on a detailed analysis of where
things can go wrong.
Seek consensus. Avoid premature voting merely to arrive at decisions. Document
both the opinions and the process that produced the final consensus.
Conflicts are a necessary by-product of reaching consensus.
If serving on the board were this easy, most of us wouldn’t hesitate when asked
to get involved and give our time. The leading reason most individuals do not
wish to serve on a board is fear of conflict. Either they have had a situation where
there was conflict, or the board was unmanageable and the fear of that happening
again is undesirable. I am often asked about the proper etiquette to resolve those
conflicts that arise during the process that takes place within the boardroom.
Seems like a loaded question: I’m not a psychologist and have not studied board
dynamics to the degree that allows me to answer those questions completely.
However, I can provide ways to deal with those personality conflicts that always
arise while serving on a board.
Deal with conflict directly.
Tackle the situation immediately. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug. There may
be a need to have a consultant address the board’s concerns in and around
conflict to provide a more objective point of view. The board shows integrity by
recognizing that there is a problem rather than ignoring it. Sometimes people show a lot of emotion during a discussion.  Understand each other, not a sign of weakness. Don’t let personalities disrupt a meeting. If there are two people who don’t get along outside the boardroom it’s unlikely they will get along in the boardroom. Board members must set personal animosities aside in the meetings; otherwise, they will make board meetings  miserable for everyone. When arguments erupt, remain objective. It’s easy to
make up your mind and refuse to listen to another member. Don’t be too sensitive. If another person ridicules your idea, you don’t have to respond
negatively. Try to keep emotions out of the board room if possible.
Apologies are always in order.
It is important to make appropriate apologies. Once you understand what is
expected, then you will recognize those times in which you owe and apology. At
times you may wish to make an apology to the group and later follow up with a
personal apology to the individual you offended.
Never try to come to consensus outside the board room.
You may be asked to work on a project with other subcommittees; be careful to
not discuss consensus with other board members. This is a very common mistake
made by board members. It is also a mistake to discuss meeting topics with
others who are not serving on your board. Once your board has made a decision,
it is responsible to be loyal to that decision even if it was not yours.
Once again, understanding both the pros and cons of a proposed solution is the
purpose of the board. Any business that is not fully dealt with will appear time
and time again.

Sonali Raikar 
Ales Airlines Inc USA

No comments:

Post a Comment