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Encyclopedia > Minutes

Bold text:This article is about the written record of a meeting. For the unit of time, see minute. Meetings are sometimes held around conference tables. ... A minute is a unit of time equal to 1/60th of an hour and to 60 seconds. ...

Minutes are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They often give an overview of the structure of the meeting, starting with a list of those present, a statement of the various issues before the participants, and each of their responses thereto. They are often created at the moment of the hearing by a typist or court recorder at the meeting, who may record the meeting in shorthand, and then type the minutes and issue them to the participants afterwards. Alternatively, the meeting may be audiorecorded and the minutes typed later. The minutes of certain entities, such as a corporate board of directors, must be kept and are important legal documents. Meetings are sometimes held around conference tables. ... In law, a hearing is a proceeding before a court or other decisionmaking body or officer. ... Typing is the process of inputting text into a device, such as a typewriter, computer, or a calculator, by pressing keys on a keyboard. ... A court is an official, public forum which a sovereign establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. ... Shorthand is an abbreviated, symbolic writing method that improves speed of writing or brevity as compared to a normal method of writing a language. ... Methods and media for sound recording are varied and have undergone significant changes between the first time sound was actually recorded for later playback until now. ... A corporation is a legal person which, while being composed of natural persons, exists completely separately from them. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Most public meetings and governmental hearings follow prescribed rules. Often speakers' words are recorded verbatim, or with only minor paraphrasing, so that every speaker's comments are included. Verbatim has several meanings. ... Paraphrasing is the act in which a statement or remark is explained in other words or another way — as to clarify the meaning, or when a direct quotation is unavailable. ...

There is considerable debate over what to include in minutes from a non-governmental meeting. Within certain limits, businesses and private organizations may follow whatever rules they choose. Minutes may be as detailed and comprehensive as a transcription, or as short and concise as a bare list of the resolutions adopted or decisions made. While most non-governmental minutes are not in practice seen by the public, many stakeholders find a bare list of decisions to be frustrating, as they want more information about which individuals supported (or didn't support) their particular pet issues. Transcription is the conversion into written, typewritten or printed form, of a spoken language source, such as the proceedings of a court hearing. ... This article concerns the legal meaning of the term resolution. ... Look up decision in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A stakeholder was originally a person who holds money or other property while its owner is being determined. ...

However, in a large group that deals with many different issues, it may be very difficult to present a happy middle ground, as people are likely to have slightly different ideas about the tone of any given discussion, or the importance of a specific topic, and so on. Consequently, most organizations go to either extreme, depending primarily on their notion of privacy (speakers may want to ask questions without fear of being perceived as ignorant) and accountability (members may want to know who to blame). Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view, or to stop information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those whom they choose to give the information. ... Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. ...

Generally, minutes begin with the organization name, place, date, list of people present, and the time that the chair called the meeting to order. Minutes then record what actually happens at a meeting, in the order that it actually happens, regardless of whether the meeting follows (or ignores) any written agenda. A chairman is the presiding officer of a meeting, organization, committee, or other deliberative body. ... An agenda is a list of points to be discussed at a meeting, along with the order of points to be discussed. ...

Since the primary function of minutes is to record the decisions made, any and all official decisions must be included. If a formal motion is made, seconded, passed, or not, then this action and the vote tally must be included. The part of the minutes dealing with a routine motion might note merely that a particular motion was "moved by Ann, seconded by Bob, and passed unanimously." Usually it is sufficient to record the number of people voting for and against a motion (or abstaining), but requests by participants to note their votes by name are always allowed. If a decision is made by roll call vote, then all of the individual votes must be recorded by name. If it is made by consensus without a formal vote, then this fact is recorded. A motion is a formal step to introduce a matter for consideration by a group. ... Tally marks are a variation of the unary numeral system. ... Unanimity is near complete agreement by everyone. ... A roll call is the process of checking who is in attendance, usually by calling out and checking off their names. ... Consensus has two common meanings. ...

It is also often common for adherents to the "less is more" approach to include certain facts: for example, that financial reports were presented, or that a legal issue (such as a potential conflict of interest) was discussed, or that a particular aspect of an issue was duly considered, or that a person arrived late (or left early) at a particular time. The minutes end with a note of the time that the meeting was adjourned. Historical financial statement Financial statements (or financial reports) are a record of a business financial flows and levels. ... A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, or an executive or director of a corporation, has competing professional and/or personal interests. ...

Minutes in businesses and other private organizations are normally submitted by and over the name of an officer of the organization (usually the Secretary, and never the typist, even if the typist actually drafted the document) at a subsequent meeting for review. The traditional closing phrase is "Respectfully submitted," (although that phrase is slowly falling out of use) followed by the officer's signature, his or her typed (or printed) name, and his or her title.

If the members of the committee or group agree that the written minutes reflect what happened at the meeting, then they are approved, and the fact of their approval is recorded in the minutes of the current meeting. If there are errors or omissions, then the minutes will be re-drafted and submitted again at a later date. Minor changes may be made immediately, and the amended minutes may be approved "as amended." It is normally appropriate to give a draft copy of the minutes to the other members in advance of the meeting so that the meeting need not be delayed while everyone reads and corrects the draft. It is not usually considered appropriate to vote to approve minutes for a meeting which one did not attend. It is also not wise to approve minutes which one has not read.

Generic Template

A standard form for minutes from a formal meeting might be as follows:

Minutes for: <Topic>

Date: 7/7/05 Venue: <>

Chairperson: <>

Minutes Taker: <>

Present: <>

Apologies: <, List of people who didn't turn up, but apologised in advance. These people should be sent a copy of the minutes.>


  1. This section contains a list of things that were discussed.
  2. Any decisions made should be noted down.

Action Items:

  1. This section contains a list of tasks to be done
  2. They may or may not be allocated to specific people
  3. If they are allocated, an expected completion date should be set


  • Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, entry on Minutes. West Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1991.

  Results from FactBites:
Minute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (357 words)
In geometry, a minute is a unit of angle, 1/60th of a degree.
The symbol for a minute of arc is a prime (′).
A minute of arc at the Earth's equator is approximately a nautical mile.
Minute Maid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (363 words)
Minute Maid is a product line of beverages, usually associated with orange juice, but now extends to soft drinks of many kinds, including Hi-C and Fruitopia.
Minute Maid was the first company to market orange juice concentrate, allowing it to be distributed nationwide and served year-round.
The Minute Maid company is now owned by Coca-Cola, and is the world's largest marketer of fruit juices and drinks.
  More results at FactBites »



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