Are your meetings not fun because the meeting minutes are never ready before the next meeting?  Directors attend a lot of meetings, usually one meeting every month. Admins and condo or HOA managers attend many more than that.  Read on to learn how to make board meetings fun again. 

Attending board meetings is vital to a director’s job, but I doubt many directors would say attending meetings is fun. Meetings are not fun when they run over time, lack focus, have no agenda, or waste time.  On top of all this, the requirement to have minutes adds considerably to their aggravation.

Meeting minutes are NEVER ready.

Nearly every director I talk to complains about the same thing. The meeting minutes are never ready for review until just before the next meeting.  Annual Meetings (AGs) or Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are even worse.  Owners do not see the draft minutes until just before the next AG or AGM. This is months or even a year after the meeting took place.

Board-led organizations such as nonprofits, charities, condos, and HOAs are required to document decisions made during board meetings in their minutes, but the law does not require draft minutes to be completed within any timeline.

We don’t remember what was said

Meeting after meeting, and despite the good intentions of well-meaning volunteers serving as the recording secretary, the minutes never get done on time.  Some took copious notes with a pen and paper but then found it took a lot of time to transcribe them.  Some took the minutes director on a laptop, which also proved slow. It is hard to fire a volunteer, so boards remain stuck in a continuing pattern of “non-completion.” Frustration grows, and the fun factor declines.

Never during my terms as a director did I have the draft minutes within two days after the meeting, which is a timely goal.  Getting them done several weeks after every meeting meant it was hard to remember what was said. It was even more challenging to remember any decisions made and almost impossible to remember who would follow up on an item.

There is a better way.

A much better way . . .

BoardSpace was built.  When I became the recording secretary, in addition to being the president, it was much easier to do a better job and have the minutes ready for review within 48 hours after a meeting.  Using BoardSpace made it possible to meet the goal I had set.

The key is preparation. Being prepared involves (1) a mindset change and (2) the right technology.

Mindset Change

Could you get everyone to agree that the minutes will be ready for review within 48 hours after the meeting ends? Once you have set up your BoardSpace, the fun begins. Preparation means getting ready for every board meeting a week in advance.  The manager’s report provided me with the details of discussion items so I could create agenda items, add short summaries, and draft motions. Anything that came up in our emails in between meetings also got added.  I started the meeting with an almost completed draft of the minutes and added additional details during the meeting.

Project to a screen

It also helped project the minutes on a computer monitor so that the directors could see how their comments and decisions were recorded and immediately point out any errors or omissions.  The next day, I made minor edits and distributed them for comments.  It was so much easier to finish my minutes when I could remember what had been said.

It took me a few meetings to perfect this approach, but I finally did it at my last board meeting:  I got the draft minutes ready for review only a day after the meeting.

Stop thinking about minutes as a nuisance!

Since minutes are a mandatory legal requirement, we may as well have accurate ones and make the effort worthwhile. Accurate minutes stand up much better in court in case there is ever a dispute. They can also be used to communicate the organization’s or condo’s history to current and future directors and owners.

Instead of thinking about minutes simply as a nuisance, they can be a handy tool with a little organization and planning. Meetings are fun because I can engage without stressing over note-taking. My favourite part of BoardSpace is dragging tags onto documents. I love engaging with motions, assigning actions on the go, and knowing that I don’t have to stress over reminding directors and managers to get their assigned tasks done. The software does that for me.

Start thinking of meetings as fun.

Being a director is hard work, but it can also be fun. Your efforts contribute meaningfully to your community.  By using technology that works for you and not against you and changing your mindset, directors can have some fun at the next board meeting.