How to Take Minutes of Meeting Motions

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Recording motions in meetings is an essential part of the process of managing any organization. The task can be tedious, but crucial. It is up to the secretary of the meeting to recognize that it is not important to record everything that was said, only what was done or decided at the meeting. Motions are especially important because they provide a firm foundation for later action, and even people who attended the meeting may need to go back and consult the minutes to remember exactly what they agreed to do.

Record the basic data relevant to the meeting, especially the date and the names of attendees. Note anyone who was absent and the presence of anyone with proxy voting power representing those absent members of the committee.

Record the standard procedures followed by the committee, which may include elements such as confirmation of the minutes of the previous meeting, an opening message (note who delivered the message, not the content of the message), and so on. Note also whether this was a regularly scheduled meeting, or if it was a special session convened for some unusual purpose such as an emergency budget meeting.

Highlight the beginning of a motion by placing the word "MOTION" in upper-case letters or underlining it, followed by the name of the person who proposed the motion (for example, "MOTION by Colonel Mustard").

Record the motion precisely as it was stated. The motion may be presented in italics. If there is a discussion regarding the precise wording of the motion before the vote is taken, do not record the debate, merely present the precise language of the final version of the motion (for example, "MOTION by Colonel Mustard: The committee resolves to formally censure Professor Plum for threatening Mr. Green with the candlestick.")

Record the results of the vote. Committees may choose to record how everyone on the committee voted (yea, nay, abstain), the number without individual decisions (passed 5 to 3), or just the result (passed).

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About the Author

Ploni Almoni began writing professionally in 1990. Since then, he has published widely in scholarly journals such as "Slavic Review," "Transcultural Psychiatry" and "Thought and Action." Almoni earned a Doctor of Philosophy in history from the University of Toronto.

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