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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Beatty

Mastering the Art of Taking Easy Minutes as an HOA Secretary

As the secretary of a homeowners association (HOA), one of your key responsibilities is to accurately document and distribute minutes of each meeting. Minutes serve as an official record of discussions, decisions, and actions taken during HOA meetings. While the task may seem daunting, at Red Rock we have developed a few simple strategies and tips so you can become a pro at taking easy minutes. This article will guide you through the process, ensuring that you capture all the necessary information effectively and efficiently.

Board secretary taking HOA minutes at a community meeting
HOA Board Secretary taking Minutes

  1. Prepare Ahead of Time: Preparation is crucial to ensure smooth and easy minute-taking. Familiarize yourself with the meeting agenda and any relevant documents beforehand. Review previous minutes to get a sense of the format and style that is expected. Additionally, bring essential tools such as a notebook or laptop, pens, highlighters, and any necessary templates.

  2. Create a Template: Having a structured template can simplify the minute-taking process and ensure consistency. Set up a standard format that includes headings such as meeting date, attendees, approval of previous minutes, agenda items, discussions, decisions, and action items. This template will serve as a guide throughout the meeting, making it easier to fill in the necessary information.

  3. Be a Keen Observer: During the meeting, pay close attention to discussions and decisions. Listen attentively and take concise notes. Avoid the temptation to capture everything verbatim; instead, focus on summarizing key points, decisions, and action items. Use abbreviations and shorthand techniques to speed up your note-taking process while still maintaining accuracy.

  4. Capture Essential Information: When documenting discussions, be sure to record the main points raised by participants. Include any concerns, proposals, or suggestions made by HOA members. Note any decisions made, ensuring to record who proposed and seconded each motion. Document the outcome of votes and indicate any actions to be taken.

  5. Be Objective: As the secretary, it is important to maintain objectivity when recording the minutes. Avoid injecting personal opinions or biases into the document. Present the information in an unbiased and professional manner. Use clear and concise language that accurately reflects the discussions and decisions made during the meeting.

  6. Clarify Ambiguities: If there is any ambiguity or uncertainty regarding a particular discussion or decision, don't hesitate to seek clarification. Politely interrupt or request a repetition if necessary. It's better to ask for clarification during the meeting rather than making assumptions later on. This will ensure the accuracy of the minutes and prevent potential misunderstandings.

  7. Proofread and Approve: After the meeting, take the time to review and proofread the minutes. Correct any typos, grammar errors, or inconsistencies. Ensure that the minutes are organized and follow the established template. Once you are satisfied with the final version, distribute the minutes to your fellow board members. Finally, have your fellow board members approve the minutes either by email or at the end of the meeting before making them available to the community.

P.S. One final note. It's a great idea to remove items with specific owner information like legal matters, violation hearing details, or collection efforts from your minutes. In those cases, it's best to stay vague when documenting the vote. At Red Rock we recommend reserving those matters under the executive session of your meetings.

To summarize, becoming an efficient secretary in charge of taking minutes for your HOA meetings is an achievable goal with the right approach. By preparing in advance, creating a structured template, actively listening, and accurately documenting discussions and decisions, you can easily fulfill your responsibilities as an HOA secretary. Remember to maintain objectivity, seek clarification when needed, and distribute the minutes promptly. With practice and these simple tips, you'll soon become a master of taking easy minutes for your HOA.

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