What to record

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What Do I Record?
Do you work with people who want every word recorded? Or does your group just want the legal obligations met? Some chairs like an entire book created out of a one hour meeting, but if we want people to read our minutes, we’ve got to think about how many details we include.
In this lesson, we’ll go over the basics of what must be recorded, including motions and resolutions.
Recording Motions and Resolutions
In formal style minute-taking, all properly made motions must be included in the minutes. (Generally, to be proper, a motion must be moved and seconded. Committee meetings are less formal and motions made there do not need to be seconded.)
It is standard practice that a motion begin with the word, “That,” followed by a noun and a verb, and that each motion be formed as a positive statement.
The minutes should state who made the motion and whether it was carried, defeated, or tabled (postponed). You should record defeated motions as the issue can only be raised again under special conditions.
Very formal minutes also include the name of the seconder. If the issue is contentious, also include the names of those present and the side they voted on. If the vote is by secret ballot, the minutes should contain the number of votes for each side.
Sample Motions
Here are some simple motions.

  • MOTION: It was MOVED, SECONDED, AND CARRIED, “That the Board support the production of an educational brochure on drug and alcohol addiction.”
  • MOTION: It was MOVED by Jennifer Becevello and SECONDED that the unit hires three additional salespeople. MOTION DEFEATED.
  • Dr. Jeff Chin made a motion that Dr. Timothy Luke be granted staff privileges. Dr. Peter Thomas seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously.
  • Mrs. Georgina Dodds proposed that the Information Services Branch donate R1,000 to the Save the Children Campaign. Motion passed by general consent.
  • Mr. Roy Sconci moved, seconded by Ms. Eileen Hall, that the SK Management Company takes over the operation of the Rosevale Nursing Home. Motion defeated.
  • Motion No. 9X-34, moved by Cameron Ward, seconded by Paul Becevello. Moved that the Board appoint the YMCA to be the operator of the child care facility opening at Queen and Main Streets in September 2020. This operator would also be responsible for the before school, lunch, and after school programs on the premises. Motion No. 9X-34 Carried.

Here is an example of a series of motions:

  • It was moved that we hold a picnic.
  • It was moved in amendment by Ms. Nancy Beeker, seconded by Mrs. Joan Smith: That we hold a picnic and a dance.
  • The chair declared the amending motion lost.
  • The question was then put to the main motion; it was resolved in the affirmative.

Explanation: Someone on the committee moved that the group hold a picnic. Ms. Nancy Beeker amended the motion include a dance in addition to the picnic. The chair then asked the assembly to vote on Ms. Beeker’s amendment. The group voted not to have both a picnic and a dance. The chair declared the amending motion (Ms. Beeker’s) lost and then called for a vote on the main motion – to hold just a picnic. The assembly voted yes: they want a picnic.
Here is another example of a series of motions:
It was moved by Ms. Karen Giles that an ad hoc committee for community relations be established. It was moved in amendment by Mr. Adrian Chin that an ad hoc committee for community relations, composed of three Canadian citizens, be established. Amending motion and main motion carried.
Explanation: In this case, Karen Giles moved that an ad hoc committee for community relations be established. Adrian Chin amended the original motion to include the fact that the committee be composed of three Canadian citizens. The group voted in favor of this. The chair then had to ask the group to vote on the main motion – the establishment of the ad hoc committee. The result of the vote showed that, yes, the group agreed to the committee.
A resolution is a written motion phrased in a special style, with the word “whereas” followed by resolving clauses (what the group plans to do about it). The minutes must include a full description of any resolutions that were adopted and a simple statement of any that were rejected.
Resolutions are often lengthy so encourage people to write out their resolution before it is given to you to record in the minutes.
When typing a resolution follow these guidelines:

  • Indent all lines 15 spaces.
  • Type both “WHEREAS” and “BE IT RESOLVED” in capital letters.
  • Single space between the lines and double space between sections.
  • Use capital letters and bold type if a person’s name is included.
  • Any reference to money should be written out, followed by the numerals in parentheses. For example, “two hundred rand (R200).”

Sample Resolution
The Cobden City Council moved the adoption of the following resolution:
WHEREAS, for a number of years MARGARET BOUDREAU has served as president of the local Cancer Society, and, WHEREAS, she has chaired this city’s Literary Guild for two years;and WHEREAS, she has been highly involved in the establishment and operation of our food bank, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, that MARGARET BOUDREAU be named “Citizen of the Year,” and, BE IT RESOLVED, that a donation of two hundred rand (R200) be made in her name to the Cancer Society, and, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a banquet be held in her honor on Friday, the 22nd day of May, 2020.
What to Record
Whether you use shorthand, longhand, or a computer, remember that only the motions and resolutions are taken down verbatim. (It is a wise idea to ask the members to put all complicated motions in writing.) The rest of the minutes are an objective summation of what actually occurred.
Pay close attention to the discussion. You will find it helpful if you know why a topic is being discussed. Is the group’s purpose simply to obtain information or is its aim to eventually reach a decision? If this is the case, your notes should be progressive.
If the purpose is to solve a controversial problem, you should have a number of pros and cons recorded. Never inject your own personal bias or give one person’s comments more weight than another’s.
Here are some guidelines.

  • All pros and cons
  • New information
  • All motions (passed and defeated)
  • Results of motions
  • Expected action

Do not record:

  • Speaker’s experience
  • Old material
  • Redundant information
  • Personal comments
  • He said/she said information
  • Check with your organization to see if you should record withdrawn motions, as practices can differ.