Committee meetings are the driving force behind every company. The role of committee members in a meeting is vital: they make decisions, exchange opinions, and implement plans. 

Ineffective meetings consume a significant portion of an employee’s time, with the average worker losing an estimated 31 hours monthly. However, managers devote even more time — over 35% of their workday. This demonstrates how crucial effective meetings are in steering the company.

The article illustrates the importance of effective corporate gatherings and provides a free committee meeting agenda example. In addition, it explains how to write committee meeting minutes like a pro.

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What is a committee meeting?

Board members and various corporate committees organize meetings to discuss company-related matters. It is important to take committee meeting minutes for future reference during these meetings.

These meetings usually follow a defined framework, detailed in a formal charter and bylaws that specify its goal, structure, and decision-making procedure.

Every committee may hold meetings. Permanent (such as an advisory committee) or temporary (created for a specific project, for example, a fundraising committee) meetings can settle different issues. 

Types of committee meetings

A well-run meeting may accomplish more than one would think. It may be an excellent motivator for decisions and actions. However, it’s important to note that not all committee meetings are created equal. Let’s take a closer look at some common types to understand their purpose and structure better.

1. Recurring meetings

Regular meetings — weekly, monthly, or quarterly — are ideal for standing committees with ongoing tasks. These meetings serve as check-ins for the marketing or audit committees, ensuring smooth operation within their designated areas. For instance, a remuneration committee could be held quarterly to review payment packages and bonus policies.

2. Special meetings

Specific and unforeseen issues or emergencies need immediate attention. In such cases, ad hoc or special meetings are called to act like emergency task force gatherings to tackle unexpected challenges. 

These meetings are not pre-scheduled and typically deal with sudden safety concerns or incidents. For example, safety committee meetings often fall into this category as they are convened to address urgent matters that require prompt action.

3. Strategic meetings

The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the future and plan for the long term. They involve brainstorming, discussions, and decision-making related to the organization’s direction. In particular, these meetings serve as strategic planning sessions, charting the course. 

For example, to ensure the company moves in the right direction, the steering committee often attends strategic meetings where they discuss the direction and make key decisions.

4. Informational meetings

These meetings aim to keep everyone informed, serving as a platform to share updates, present reports, and share news with committee members. In other words, these regular check-ins help ensure everyone’s caught up on the latest progress.

At informational meetings, the nomination committee can present updates about recent personnel changes or upcoming vacancies.

Committee meeting agenda

A committee meeting agenda template can help organize and conduct a productive meeting.  According to a Deloitte Board Practices study, 24% of board members have adjusted their agendas to allow additional time for planning and strategic choices.

It shows that a well-planned and properly executed agenda makes a huge difference in the effectiveness and outcome of a meeting. Given these trends, we created an adjustable agenda template for a committee meeting. 

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For now, let’s explore the best practices and recommendations for using the template to make the most out of a committee meeting. 

  1. Avoid generic templates. Tailor the agenda to the meeting’s specific goals. This respects the participants’ time and ensures the discussion stays relevant.
  2. Share beforehand and engage participants. One effective way to encourage active participation and gather valuable insights during a discussion is to ask participants to share their comments or questions beforehand.
  3. Set SMART objectives. Don’t just list topics, define clear objectives for each agenda item. Instead, specify specific objectives for each item on the agenda.
  4. Go beyond bullet points. Instead of just listing topics, add context and action items. Briefly explain the purpose of each discussion point and outline any expected outcomes or decisions.
  5. Be flexible and adaptable. Have a meeting agenda, but be open to adapting it if needed.  

How to run a committee meeting

Productive committee meetings require a well-planned approach. Moreover, a skilled chairperson who can guide the group is one of the most important participants. This next section looks at the steps for preparing and running a committee meeting. 

Before the meeting

Having a clear and focused plan is vital to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the meeting.

This document should lay out the specific topics to be discussed and allocate realistic timeframes for each. By sharing this agenda with participants ahead of time, they can come prepared and ready to actively contribute to the conversation. 

During the meeting

When leading a meeting, the main responsibility is to ensure everyone stays on track and that they have an opportunity to speak. At the same time, keep the conversation flowing while politely redirecting any discussions that veer off track from the agenda. 

Moreover, be mindful of the meeting’s timeframe. For example, use a timer or set clear expectations at the beginning of the meeting to help everyone stay focused.

Remember to note key decisions, next steps, and action items throughout the meeting. We’ll explore how to take meeting minutes like a corporate secretary in the next section.  

Documenting committee meetings properly

It’s important to have detailed and accurate meeting notes. They are an official record of what was discussed during the meeting, including important decisions, tasks to be completed, and what needs to happen next. 

Having this information documented helps to keep everyone accountable and makes it easier to track progress. If, however, the secretary neglects to take proper notes, important information can easily be lost or misunderstood.

Given this, let’s explore the best recommendations for taking effective meeting minutes.

  1. Review the meeting agenda and focus on key points instead of transcribing word-for-word.
  2. Embrace technology, such as a board portal, by using digital note-taking tools to record, edit, and share notes more easily.
  3. Find a note-taking system that works, such as the Cornell method or mind maps, to capture information effectively.
  4. When recording action items, ensure clarity and accountability by noting the who, what, when, where, and why.
  5. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification during the meeting to understand the topics being discussed better.
  6. At the end of the meeting, capture the big picture by briefly summarizing the key takeaways and conclusions.
  7. Distribute the final draft to all attendees promptly.

Best practices for committee meeting procedures

Committee meetings can be effective when following best practices. Here are some key principles to consider while avoiding common pitfalls:

  1. Stay focused. Stay on topic during meetings and avoid distractions. If necessary, respectfully get the discourse back on track.
  2. Encourage preparation. Encourage all members to come prepared by reading any relevant materials beforehand and to be active participants in the meeting.
  3. Create a productive environment. Address any logistical issues, such as poor acoustics or uncomfortable seating, to create a conducive meeting environment.
  4. Don’t forget about follow-up. Assign clear action items after each meeting, identify individuals responsible for completion, and track progress during subsequent meetings to ensure that decisions are implemented effectively.
  5. Feedback and evaluation. Regularly solicit feedback from committee members on meeting effectiveness and consider anonymous surveys to gather honest insights. Comments from committee members can be useful for improving the meetings and addressing issues.

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Key takeaways

  • Committee meetings play a critical role in facilitating decision-making and progress within organizations.
  • There are four main types of committee meetings: recurring, special, strategic, and informational.
  • A well-crafted agenda is essential for a productive committee meeting.
  • Taking clear and detailed notes is crucial for documenting decisions and action items.
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Casey Johnson Marketing strategist
Casey Johnson is a seasoned marketing strategist specializing in board portals. With over a decade of experience, she spearheads comprehensive marketing campaigns to enhance brand visibility and drive growth. Casey orchestrates content plans, conducts market research, and collaborates with content creators to ensure impactful marketing strategies.
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