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Archives: Meeting Minutes Tips


It is important to keep meeting minutes to:

  • record University actions;
  • inform absent members; and
  • inform future reference.

Minutes should contain a record of what is done, not what is said. Therefore, be mindful when attributing comments. General discussions should be summarized but when necessary, consider attributing member titles rather than their names.

Be Proactive

Create records with access in mind

  • Create records with the expectation that they may be disclosed.

Omit unnecessary information.

  • Collect and record only the information needed to accomplish a task or meet a requirement.

Don’t assume that if it is possible for access to be withheld to a group of records, that access will be withheld as a matter of routine.

Be Objective

  • Create records that are objective and include only what is relevant:
    • Avoid unnecessary or subjective references; or rewrite your notes to remove these.
  • Keep minutes and other formal records of proceedings factual:
    • Record decisions taken or tasks resulting from a group’s deliberations. Avoid unnecessary detail; and
  • Avoid recording gratuitous or unsubstantiated comments and opinions as part of university records.

Be Organized

  • Don’t retain transitory records:
    • Transitory records include duplicates, working copies and notes (paper or electronic). These need only be retained for as long as there is a business need for them in the office.
    • Once the final version of a report or other record is prepared, earlier drafts and working materials should usually be destroyed.
    • Exceptions include drafts which form part of negotiations, such as draft contracts and other agreements, or versions that show major changes in policy or approach.
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Eamon Smallwood
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