Are meeting minutes really that important? Here are 3 reasons why.

Meeting minutes are perhaps one of the most tedious yet important elements of any meeting, and this is particularly true when it comes to board meetings. 

Aside from the –very important on its own– fact that they are an official and legal record of all discussions and decisions that took place, they can also serve to protect the organization and its board members, and have several practical uses than can help make the governance body more effective.

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1. Meeting minutes establish ownership

While votes are often the stars of board and committee meetings, tasks are definitely their most important consequences. Each agenda item will likely result in someone having to do something, and the future performance of the board will be directly related to that task being completed in time.

Meeting minutes not only include which tasks resulted from the meeting activity, but also who is supposed to take them on and when they should be done, which ensures accountability and, as a consequence, fosters productivity. 

If stating them in the minutes is not enough and you want to keep track of tasks and their status in real-time, consider using an end-to-end board management platform that keeps tabs on how things are going and lets you know if anyone’s behind on their tasks. 

2. They help absent members keep up

Starting each meeting with a lengthy recap of the previous one is a waste of everyone’s’ precious time, particularly because the recap could be much shorter if members who were absent in the previous meeting read its minutes. By reading the minutes they’ll have an understanding of the decisions made, the reasons why they were made, and how everybody voted, as well as getting a head’s up on where discussions were left off.

Members who were there can also use it to refresh the information before the next meeting, and it can even be used as a starting point for the following meeting, guaranteeing a consistent structure. 

3. They offer legal protection

You know what they say: if it isn’t on the minute, it didn’t happen. And keeping thorough minutes has proven to be a lifesaver on more than a few occasions. 

Despite a governance body’s best intentions, sometimes things can go wrong in an organization. Luckily, meeting minutes are there to ensure there’s a record of all discussions, votes and the reasons why strategic decisions were made. So if anything happens actions will be represented in a document signed by all witnesses. 

Remember: meeting minutes are considered legal documents by tax authorities, courts, and auditors, so make sure they’re as accurate a reflection of the meeting as possible.