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How to Hold a Meeting

There's more to it than gathering people around a table.
March 26, 2001

Q: I'm looking for some help on the proper procedure or protocol for holding corporate meetings and keeping minutes. Do you have any information you can offer?

A: Most business owners like to focus on improving products or services, snagging capital in the next round of financing and developing a growth strategy. Besides these big-picture items, however, there are details you can't ignore if you want to keep your business in line with state laws and back up your tax returns.

The "corporate paperwork" you need to be aware of includes meetings and minutes. The details for how and when to handle these are somewhere in your state's business statute, so take a few minutes to look them up. (Try or They should also be in your bylaws, which contain specifics of how your company is run. Although corporate law varies from state to state, there are some basics that apply across the board:

Because most entrepreneurs rank paperwork right up there with scouring the coffee pot on the list of things they'd like to do with their workday, help has arrived. You can buy corporate "kits" containing everything from a corporate seal to share certificates and minutes paper.

Meetings and minutes may seem annoying, but they're just part of record-keeping. Learning the basics and following formalities will keep your business out of trouble and document just how your brilliant officers and directors made all that money.

Joan E. Lisante is an attorney and freelance writer who lives in the Washington, DC, area. She writes consumer-related legal features for The Washington Post, the Plain Dealer, the Spokane Spokesman-Review and the Toledo Blade (Ohio). She is also a contributing editor to and In her practice, Lisante is counsel to and was counsel for Zapnews, a fax-based customized news service for radio stations. Previously, she served as Assistant District Attorney in Queens County, New York, and Deputy District Attorney in Nassau County, New York.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.