Guest Post: Minute Taking Made Easy
I've been to so many meetings where the property manager or board did not want to take the minutes that I've lost count. One option might be to hire a professional minute taker. It is a pretty common practice in the GTA, but less popular in other areas. Today's guest post, by Marko Lindhe and Noah Maislin of Minute Solutions, describes some of the benefits of using professional minute takers. Minute Taking Made Easy Taking minutes at condo meetings is a task that needs to be done: it’s the law and helps protect boards from liability. Unfortunately, it can be a daunting task that requires the minute taker’s undivided attention and is a specific skill and responsibility that many individuals are not willing to shoulder. There is pressure to ensure that the minutes are taken correctly, the salient components are included, and, just as important, superfluous discussions and redundancies are avoided. As most board members and property managers understand, minutes should be succinct while ensuring all motions, action items and important conversations regarding potential decisions are clearly recorded – for example, contractors’ quotes, financial figures and projects that involve spending other people’s money. Every unit owner is a shareholder of the condo corporation and can request a copy of the minutes at any time. Therefore, not only is the clarity of minutes important, but expeditious preparation and delivery are also imperative. Several boards have encountered circumstances in which a meeting is impending, and everyone is looking at one another, wondering who will volunteer to take the minutes. When the minutes are taken intermittently by different people, the styles will vary and inconsistencies will be evident, making minutes harder to compare, review and understand. Some boards try to resolve this issue by designating one director to take the minutes regularly. However, the constant writing or typing and the keen attention accurate documentation requires can effectively remove that director from assuming an active role in the meeting. Some may roll their eyes and mutter to themselves, “If only there was a better solution.” Fortunately, there is. Statistics suggest that a high percentage of condo boards in Ontario use a third-party recording secretary for monthly meetings, AGMs and a myriad of other types of meetings. Some boards question whether hiring a third-party minute taker truly offers added value, but an experienced company or individual in the minute-taking industry offers a plethora of benefits, including:
- Concise, Direct Minutes: A trained third party knows what to record and what to omit, keeping minutes succinct and to the point.
- Quick Turnaround: Minutes are usually returned within a week. This should be discussed and agreed upon prior to hiring a service.
- Engaged Participants: The property manager and board members will be able to assume an active role in the meeting.
- Enhanced Security and Documentation: A prudent and reliable third party will act as another level of security should minutes be recalled. Methods of archiving should also be discussed in detail.
- Not Just Minutes: Some minute-taking companies offer additional, related services such as: regular newsletters, meeting summaries, and document translation.