Question: Recording devices for Meetings

Is it ok to use an electronic device to record the PTO meetings? Can it be used the secretaries own discretion? We are in CA. Our meetings have been running 3+ hours long with 15 board members,principal,teachers and guests.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Wow, three hours? Yes, it's OK to record the meeting. Keep in mind, though, that's it's going to be hard to find what you're looking for in three hours of recordings. Question: Do you feel like the three hour meetings are working for you? Generally we recommend that meetings last no longer than an hour -- after that people tend to lose focus and interest. A common reason meetings take so long is that the group is trying to deal with too much detail -- issues that should be worked on by committees are being tackled in the general meeting. I can imagine another issue, especially with a group that large, would be controlling the discussion. It's perfectly OK for the president/presiding officer to cut off conversation (or an individual speaker) when things start getting redundant. You can also limit the discussion time each person is allowed on any agenda item -- this often helps force people to be more succinct.

Community Advice

momtofour writes:
It's our regular meetings that go on for 3+ hours. Would this apply to regular meetings? So details should be done by the committees not the board? That is what is happening. As secretary can I place a limit on time for the agenda?

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Yes, your regular membership meetings should be limited to an hour or so. If you're talking about things like what color the invitations should be for your annual auction or how many doughnuts to order for Doughnuts With Dad, you're going into too much detail. Those kinds of things should be handled by committees -- you don't need 20+ people in attendance to make those kinds of decisions. Instead, empower your committee chairs to do that work. I bet setting a time limit for your meeting will energize the people who attend. If the meetings move along crisply and get a lot accomplished in a short time, you're more likely to draw non-board members to attend. It's really up to the president or the board as a whole to make that decision. Regarding taking minutes, I feel for you -- that's a tough job in a three-hour meeting! One thing that might help is to keep in mind that minutes are a record of what was decided, not what was said; you don't need to write down every side of a discussion.

Answer this question: