Bay Tree VA

Saving Minutes, Saving Hours

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Virtual team, management, committee and Board meetings will remain standard for the foreseeable future. The technology to host and run virtual meetings is now accessible to everyone. Software applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Webex are simple to use, affordable, and secure. Speech to text conversion tools are available but users can be frustrated when they receive the transcription because words and phrases are not always allocated to the correct attendee, ums and errs need to be removed manually and any words or phrases not identified correctly are lost. A transcription for a meeting of, say, one hour can run into 30/40 A4 pages of text. UK Board meeting minutes are required by law and are a legal document in the UK. Meeting minutes must provide a record of motions, votes and abstentions.

A Bay Tree VA can support meetings of any size, type, format and industry. They are good listeners, have excellent written skills, strong proofreading skills and are able to sift through the information discussed and capture it in a factual and unbiased manner. Furthermore, all our VAs understand the importance of confidentiality and impartiality. With the help of one of our Bay Tree VAs you will have complete assurance that your meeting minutes will be an accurate representation of the discussion and outcomes of the virtual meeting.

Before the meeting

  • Choose the preferred platform for your meeting.
  • Consider how long the meeting will take and how familiar your attendees will be with your choice of software.
  • Provide the VA with the agenda and any papers that will be referred to.
  • Use the VA to help coordinate the meeting. Provide the names and email addresses of all those who need to attend. The VA can make contact and check that all attendees are happy with the virtual format, test their set up and provide them with any other information such as previous minutes in readiness for your meeting.
  • Decide if you want the VA to attend remotely or if you are happy to record the meeting and share the recording with the VA so that they can write up the minutes later.
  • Agree the style of minutes that are required eg. action points, formal minutes or closer to verbatim (which can be the case for grievances or disciplinary meetings).

During the meeting

  • The Chair should introduce the members of the Board. They should also introduce the VA.
  • If the Chair is recording the meeting via a voice memo, he should check the sound and get the Board to introduce themselves, so that the VA can identify their voice when typing up the minutes.
  • The Chair should manage people’s comments and questions in turn to avoid people speaking over each other.
  • The Chair should summarise actions and ensure it is clear who is responsible for that action and any deadlines, so that these can be captured by the VA.
  • If there is anything that should not be recorded, then this should be stated at the time ie. HR items which may be confidential.

After the meeting

  • Is there a certain timeframe for the minutes to be completed by? 
  • Should the minutes be sent to the Chair and/or the CEO in the first instance?
  • Who will distribute to all attendees?

This should all be agreed with the VA in order to complete the task.

To summarise the benefits of using a Bay Tree VA to record the minutes of your important meetings

  • Impartial, confidential and unbiased
  • Preparation and planning – the meeting will be ready to start on time with everyone checked and ready
  • No impact on the workload of any other member of staff (transcriptions can take several hours)
  • The capturing of agreed actions and key points – attendees can be assured their contribution has been noted, is valued and will be acted upon.

To arrange your VA or discuss managing your virtual meetings email Fiona Portway

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