Characteristics of a good secretary

The role of Secretary of a Management Committee can be key to the efficient functioning of the Committee, particularly in organisations with few or no paid staff members. Below are some of the qualities, skills and knowledge which should be demonstrated by those carrying out this role.

Quality, skills & knowledge

A good Management Committee Secretary will:

  • be methodical, with a good eye for detail;
  • be well organised, with an orderly mind;
  • bring objectivity to the proceedings;
  • deal promptly with correspondence;
  • be able to take accurate notes of meetings;
  • make sure members receive all the necessary material;
  • bring the necessary material to the meeting;
  • work well with the Chairperson;
  • ensure quorum is met for meetings; and
  • have knowledge or experience of committee procedures.

Do's and Don'ts

A good Secretary will:

A good Secretary will NOT:

  • Be organised.
  • Ignore correspondence.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence.
  • Keep information to her/himself.
  • Check quorum is met for meetings.
  • Be late for meetings.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Throw away important papers.
  • Work closely with the Chairperson.
  • Write down trivial details of all discussions at every meeting.
  • Make it easy for others to take over by keeping clear records.
  • Rely on his/her memory.
  • Prepare for meetings well in advance.
  • Repeat private conversations.
  • Summarise discussions effectively.
  • Organise meetings at the last minute.
  • Keep people informed.
  • Ensure accurate minutes of meetings are kept.