The Garden Gnome was wearin’ the green for the March 17 Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) meeting.  The day’s lesson was Minutes, a lesson that involved everybody as we corrected minutes and in doing so learned the finer points of creating good minutes.

Many are reluctant to be a recording secretary, concerned that they will be unable to include everything that happens in a meeting.  The truth is that the only things that need to be in the minutes are what was done, not what was said.  So, it is unnecessary to follow a debate for all the points offer.  What is necessary is to record all the motions and whether each motion passed or whether it was lost.

Secretaries can follow an agenda to record motions or even better, they can have a template especially for minutes where they note all the necessary information―time of opening meeting, time of adjourning, who presides, where meeting is, names of officers, committees, space for unfinished and space for new business.   Using copies of earlier minutes located on a computer works very well.  Just remember to change the dates!

The minutes of an organization belong to the organization so it is inbumbent on members to read them for accuracy.  Making corrections to minutes is not criticism of the secretary; it is a way to see that the minutes reflect what actually happened.

If possible, minutes need to be prepared soon following a meeting―it’s surprising how things grow blurry in our memories.  Plus, distributing draft minutes soon after a meeting can help those who have accepted responsibilities during the meeting.

It doesn’t take the luck of the Irish to take good minutes, but it does require some attention to details and a willingness to practice a skill that grows easier the more you do it.  The next time you have a chance, try taking minutes; you’ll be rewarded with the pot of gold when you complete the task successfully!