Successfully completing a regular meeting cycle.
Although, the minutes wizard looks straightforward and is very easy to use, it is probably still worth to take a brief look at it and highlight some of the features that might be less obvious to our newer users.
The first time you start editing the minutes (‘Create minutes’ from an agenda), the wizard will automatically create a final PDF version of the agenda. Documenting the final meeting agenda is a requirement for many organizations. The agenda PDF will be saved to a default category ‘Meeting agendas’ for future reference. At this stage of the cycle, you can no longer open the agenda wizard. The meeting is now in ‘Minutes’ mode.
While you are editing the minutes in draft mode (not published), members of the board or committee can still only view the meeting agenda. Only users with 'edit' permissions can view the minutes at this stage.
The first step of the wizard saves some practical meeting information. The actual start and end time of the meeting, who chaired the meeting and who recorded the minutes. If you would like to get accurate reporting on how the board or committee is performing meeting-wise, it’s important to enter the correct times here instead of accepting the default values.
On this page you can also go back and edit the original meeting description or location info and attach additional meeting documents if required. If you created a meeting package for the meeting, you won’t be able to change that, but you will be able to attach additional documents.
If you used the new ‘Video/teleconference info’ field in the agenda wizard and would like to see this information repeated in the minutes, you need to enable this in the committee settings. By default, this field will not show up here.
This page allows you to quickly update the meeting attendance of members and guests. Members attendance is automatically prefilled according to the member’s RSVP and in most cases just need a quick review and confirmation.
For accurate reporting later, I again recommend reviewing and correctly updating the attendance of members and guests.
You can still add last-minute invited guests to the meeting on this page.
The minutes page is where you will spend most of your time editing minutes. All items are automatically imported from the agenda and as you work your way through each item, there is an edit section on the right side where you can enter the outcome of the discussion and the status of the item.
By default, items are automatically marked as ‘Completed’. If an item was not completed it must be deferred or parked (=defer without due date).
When you defer or park an item, that item will automatically be added to the pending agenda item list. When you schedule a future meeting, these pending items can easily be added to the agenda again as discussed in a previous blog post.
If new items came up during the meeting, you can add them here by clicking the ‘+’ icon on the appropriate section of the agenda.
Although not recommended, you can still make changes to the original agenda item (description, lead, etc.) by clicking the little pencil icon next to the title. If an item was already deferred from a previous meeting, you can easily review the history of this item (previous minutes) by clicking the 'Item history' icon.
Now might be a good time to look at the integration of action items and tasks in the Minutes Wizard and the difference between them.
If during a meeting discussion, a decision was made that something should be done, either to complete the agenda item or even something not directly related, an ‘Action item’ can be added as a sub-item to that agenda item. The action item should be assigned to the person that is going to take the lead and will be responsible for follow up. Typically, a due date should be agreed on and entered as well.
This action item will now show up in the pending agenda item list and can be added to a future meeting easily for follow up. Action items are tracked agenda items used at the meeting level and the lead would report back on the progress.
If you like more detailed tracking of the action item or if more than one person is involved in completing the action item, you can attach one or more ‘Tasks’. A task describes a piece of discrete work that must be accomplished by a single individual. Tasks created under an action item will show up in the member’s task list and can be updated by each member separately to mark progress and completion. You can choose to show or hide these individual tasks on the final minutes in the committee settings (Settings -> Minutes).
Tasks can of course be used outside of the meeting cycle as well to track progress of other board or committee related work.
“In MyCommittee, Action Items are agenda items and track work at the meeting level while Tasks track work at the people level.”
Optionally, you can show a summary of all action items and tasks at the bottom of the minutes. This can again be enabled on the Minutes page in the settings area.
Like the agenda, the minutes need to be published before members have access. On the publish page you can add a personal notification message and you can also re-send notifications to individual members in case something went wrong.
The minutes are the official written record of the meeting. After they are published, members can review them and make sure that they reflect what happened in the meeting. Typically, one of the first items of every meeting is to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. If there are errors or omissions, the minutes can still be edited and published again with the required corrections.
Once all members approved the minutes, you can mark the minutes as 'Approved'. Technically not a part of the minutes wizard, click on 'Approve minutes' on the minutes page to open the approval page.
When you mark the minutes as approved, a final PDF version of the minutes is created automatically for your records and added to a default category 'Meeting minutes'. From this moment on, edits to the minutes are no longer possible. The only way to make corrections is by adding comments.
While on the topic of approvals, just a quick note on another minutes approval page that is technically part of the minutes wizard but doesn't show up by default.
When you want the chairperson to approve the meeting agenda or meeting minutes before each publication, you can add an additional step to the wizard that enables an approval workflow to happen before publication.
When the minutes editor clicks on 'Submit for approval', the chairperson(s) will receive a notification email indicating that the minutes are waiting for their approval. The minutes cannot be published at this time. The chairperson can then mark the minutes as 'Approved for publication' and the minutes can be published.
Just to be clear, this process does not 'Approve' the minutes but only approves the publication of the minutes. This allows the chairperson to quickly review the minutes before members have access.
As mentioned above, this feature is not enabled by default but can be switched on in the settings. Go to 'Committee Settings' -> 'Workflow' to enable this for agendas, minutes or both and the extra step will automatically show up in the wizard.
Recording accurate meeting minutes is not easy and the main goal of the wizard is to take care of the most of the organizational work so you can focus on entering the key points of each discussion. The wizard makes sure that you are not forgetting anything, and that all aspects of the meeting are documented and clear.
Creating and publishing the meeting minutes does not just conclude a meeting but is part of a continuous cycle that allows your board or committee to function and document progress towards its goals and objectives.
At MyCommittee, we're always working to make meetings easier so let us know if you have ideas or suggestions on how we could improve it for you.