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Effective Minute Taking Made Easy. Presented by DCS Sandy Beykirch Thanks to PDG DC Denis Meyer DC Vicki van Wyk DC Karen Preston District 410-C Secretary training workshop 2014/2015. Don’t Let the Thought of Doing Minutes Stress You Out!. What Are Minutes?

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effective minute taking made easy

Effective Minute Taking Made Easy

Presented by DCS Sandy Beykirch

Thanks to PDG DC Denis Meyer DC Vicki van Wyk DC Karen Preston

District 410-C

Secretary training workshop



What Are Minutes?

  • Minutes are the official, written, permanent, formal record of what transpires during a meeting.
  • Their purpose is to provide people with:
  • A clear and objective summary of the meeting
  • To update those unable to attend
  • A reminder of future expected actions
  • To provide a rationale and historical background
  • An official record of decisions made

What Should Minutes Contain?

  • Dates
  • Times
  • Locations / venue
  • Club name
  • Motions/decisions/actions to be taken
  • Attendees/absences
  • Guests
  • Attachments
  • The word MINUTES has to be shown
  • Date of next meeting
  • Reference to District projects
what should minutes not contain
What Should Minutes Not Contain?

Lunch/break details

Personal issues / fighting (please don’t minute arguments!)

Actual conversations / Word for word discussions (you will be there forever!)

Your opinion after the fact (give input only if requested)

Side conversations


What Should Minutes Also Include?

District Projects : (listing these projects makes it easier for District Chairpersons to find information on their relative portfolios when reading through your club’s minutes)

Lions Alert (Any progress on this portfolio during the past month)

LCIF(Any donations made/grants applied for during the past month)

Louis Halse Fund (Any donations made/grants applied for during the past month)

Sight Projects (Any sight-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Hearing Projects (Any hearing-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Environmental Projects (Any environmentally-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Youth Projects (Any youth-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Services for Children (Any child-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Peace Poster (Any progress made during the past month)

Leos(Any Leos-related service projects undertaken during the past month)

Information Technology (Any IT-related achievements during the past month)

Youth Exchange (Any Youth Exchange students hosted during the past month)

Diabetes Awareness (Any diabetes awareness projects undertaken during the past month)

Public Relations (Any publicity undertaken during the past month)

Christmas Cakes (Any progress related to Christmas Cake sales/orders during the past month)

Food Security (Any food security-related service projects undertaken during the past month)


Types of Minutes


Formal minutes adhere to the strict use of Robert’s Rules of Order. Large meetings are likely to be more formal than small meetings. The larger the meeting the more control is necessary to expedite the business at hand, to assure legality.

Examples of Formal Meetings:

Monthly Club Business Meetings

Monthly Club Board of Directors Meetings

Zone Meetings

Cabinet Meetings

Multiple District Conventions

Midyear Conferences

Multiple District Council Meetings

Definition of Robert’s Rules of Order

Provides common rules and procedures for deliberation and debate in order to place the

whole membership on the same footing and speaking the same language.


Types of Minutes


Modified Formal

As indicated, this type of meeting conducts its business with relaxed Rules of


Example of Modified Formal

Use of formal motions, but informal discussions


Types of Minutes



Informal meetings use few or no Rules of Order to conduct business.

Examples of Informal

Committee Meetings

Sub-committee meetings

Project / Fundraising Meetings


Roles of the Minute Taker

  • What is your role?
  • Sort out the comments/suggested actions and decisions expressed at the meeting and produce an accurate summary
  • Keep track of attendance/absence at the meeting
  • Store the minutes and all related materials
  • Request the chair to temporarily halt the meeting if the comments are flowing too quickly
  • Authenticate all the records and documents associated with the meeting by having the chair add his/her signature
  • Be familiar with the procedures used by the Club
  • A Minute Taker Must Be:
  • Highly Organized
  • AGood Listener
  • Focused

Check List for Scheduling Meeting

Discuss possible agenda items with Meeting Chair

Draft a tentative agenda

Reserve meeting location

Send meeting notice and tentative agenda

Assemble and take to meeting all necessary materials

Prior to Meeting

Send reminder day before

Make copies of meeting materials

One hour prior to meeting set room up (lights, heat, air, recorder, laptop, etc.)

Prepare template for meeting minutes


Listening Skills

  • Active listening is a skill used to GET information before you GIVE your own ideas.
  • In work situations active listening is critical. Most of us focus on our responsibilities and actions as speakers (senders), and forget our responsibilities as listeners (receivers). We often think of listening as a passive activity. It’s hard work and active listening is the skill that keeps communication moving forward.
  • What Are Active Listening Responses?
  • Paraphrase
  • Reflect
  • Probe
  • Clarify
  • Summarize
  • Remember: Watch the non-verbal communication around the room!

Formats for Taking Minutes

Tape Recorder


Provides comfort zone

Easy to play back if uncertain about topics


Voices hard to recognize

Minutes too detailed

Tapes must be archived with hard copy minutes

Hand Written


Highlight key words

Use colored inks (for follow-up items)


Tend to write whole sentences, not use key words

Lose track of conversation


Formats for Taking Minutes




Current technology

Faster use of time

Abbreviate better

Minutes are quicker to finalise


Clicking noise can be distracting

Key pads are hard to type on

Fast typing skills are required


Items to be Recorded

Motions and resolutions verbatim

Objective summary of what is being discussed

Record a comment only once

Never inject your own personal opinions

Never give one person’s comments more weight than another’s

Be consistent with reference to the attendees ( Lion Jane Doe verses Jane Doe)


The Agenda

Preparing the agenda is not part of the Minute-taking process but many minute-takers help the chair to write and circulate them. The purpose of the agenda is to familiarize all the participants with the topics that will be discussed at the meeting.

There is no correct way to set up an agenda. There are many ways an agenda can be formatted.

The agenda for an informal meeting may be done as a simple numbered list of topics

The agenda for a formal meeting will typically call for a more structured list of topics

The Layout of the Agenda

The heading of the agenda should be consistent with the heading on the minutes

The word “Agenda” can be at the top or bottom of the page

The agenda should be sent out before hand to allow the participants time to reflect on themeeting topics and to do research if needed

Agendas should be sent out at least 3 days before the meeting (a week is preferable)


Organizing the Minutes

  • Formal Minutes
  • HeadingThe heading should be 1 inch from the top of the page. Each heading line should be centered and be typed in either capitals or in upper/lower case letters. Use the same style for all of an organisation’s minutes and agendas. The location, time and date may be placed in the heading as well. In a formal meeting the minutes should state if the meeting is a Directors, Club Business or a project meeting.
  • AttendanceYou must include the names of people attending the meeting and the people who are absent. The attendance record is necessary to show a quorum. Guests must also be listed. The meeting chair must also be listed.
  • Minutes of previous meetingMinutes of the previous meeting should be approved at the beginning of the meeting (this is mostly done in formal meetings). If minutes need to be corrected the changes need to be recorded in the minutes.
  • 4)ReportsThis refers to the reports received from any of the group’s members. Committee reports should be submitted in writing and dated. Copies of the report should be received in advance and attached to the agenda for members to review.

Organizing the Minutes


  • 5) FinancesFinances are usually discussed under the treasurer’s report. Financial decisions need to be recorded.
  • 6) CorrespondenceLetters sent to the Club are usually read by the secretary and then either filed or attached to the appendix of the minutes.
  • 7) Unfinished businessThis involves motions or issues raised at an earlier meeting and carried forward to the current meeting. Previous unfinished business should always be listed on the agenda.
  • 8) New businessThis portion of the meeting is devoted solely to the introduction of new information. It may also include assigning tasks to members of the club and setting deadlines.
  • AdjournmentThe meeting is closed due to no further business or discussion. This is recorded in the minutes.
  • Time and date of the next meeting
  • The time and date of the next meeting needs to be recorded in the minutes.

After the Meeting

Draft the minutes as soon after the meeting as possible

If time does not allow this, reread your notes to ensure they are detailed, so you caninterpret later

Minutes need to be completed in a timely manner and while the meeting is still fresh in the memory of the secretary.

Minute Summary – Small Informal Meetings

Full minutes are not always required

Minute summaries are more useful for sub-committee meetings where a multitude of topics are discussed

The summary simply records the meeting in an abbreviated format

Retaining Minutes

Minutes should be maintained in hard copy form with signatures (minutes should be kept for a minimum of 5 years)

If you record your minutes, the tapes should be kept and dated

If you use a laptop to record your minutes make sure you always have a back up disk

If there are any questions or concerns about the minutes, the secretary and chair are the responsible parties


After the Meeting

  • (continued)
  • 5) After drafting the minutes, they should be distributed to the meeting attendees for review before finalizing and distribution
  • Please make sure that if you email your minutes to your members, members without
  • email also receive a copy (these members are often forgotten about)
  • Send a copy to cabinet@lions410c.co.za

I hope that these minute taking tips have been helpful and made you more confident about your important task ahead.

Enjoy your year as secretary !