Simple Tips on how to Take Notes During A Meeting Like A Pro

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Whether you are involved in a brainstorming session, an interview with a potential client or meetings with your team, meeting notes can be beneficial to you when it comes to remembering key information. Here is a simple walkthrough on how to note during the meeting that would improve your communication skill with others and establish a meaningful record of knowledge for the company.

1. Determining what is the most significant

First of all, you need to understand that it’s not necessary to record everything. A meeting is not exactly attending a trial, an event that requires you to have every word on paper for legal reasons. Start by determining what is most essential to record. It usually starts by following:

  • time, date and venue
  • list of attendees
  • topic to discuss
  • decisions to be made
  • tasks being sorted out and to whom

All the points above, you can find during the meeting invitation, so utilize it to speed up your process. Take, for example, you simply tick down the names of the people who did not show up for the meeting. Then look through the meeting agenda. From there, you can look into the topics to be discussed. All you have to do is strike them as they are displayed or add/remove if the plan requires changes. Now you have a minimal amount of things to keep track of the meeting. Your main focus will be gathering detailed information about the agenda and recording the decisions made, including the task delegation. 

2. Utilzing a voice recorder

Whether you are writing it down by hand or straight into an application, people tend to speak faster during meetings than you can write. It would be exceedingly hard to follow if multiple people are engaged in a discussion at the same time. This is one of the main reasons why you should request permission to use a voice recorder during every meeting. At the same time, you can still take notes at your own pace. Shortly after, when you transcribe them into the official file or application, you can listen back to the entire recording to ensure you did not miss out key information.

Most importantly, make sure you went through the privacy policy of your company before using a voice recorder. Talk to the HR to clarify and ensure that you are allowed to record during meetings. Lastly, remember to inform every attendee at the meeting when you are about to start recording and ending for the meeting.

3. Don’t get yourself overwhelmed

The main thing during the meeting is to take note of the key takeaway:

  • Was there a topic added to the schedule at the very last minute?
  • Did an unusual situation occur during a meeting?
  • What questions were asked?
  • What was emphasized by the facilitator?
  • What should not be forgotten or overlooked?
  • What should the people in the meeting have learned during that period?

Whoever went through your notes in the future should be able to attain this information there. You may be required to add additional info, depending on the type of meeting. It’s also important to register any numbers mentioned, such as dates or statistics. This is what most people usually miss out or misunderstand. All these essential materials presented such as videos, handouts and slides should also be compiled together in a file.

4. Utilizing meeting templates to avoid unnecessary mistakes

While there are people who would frown against the use of templates, there is no denying that it is useful especially when you are working on a repetitive task, so why should you redo the same thing every time you are at a meeting? Most meeting notes retain the same format, so utilizing a fixed template would help you to reduce your time spent creating one for every meeting. It will also help to avoid any mistakes as you have a proper process to guide you through it. The essential information you must key in will be identified in the form of empty blocks or checklists.

5. Ensuring your meeting notes are easy to search

Once you are done creating your meeting notes(before or after), it’s important to establish a searching system. This would make things easier for you and everyone else to search the meeting notes when they require them. You can choose to utilize tags to easily classify online information based on the topic discussed. Alternatively, you can create categories for each type of meeting in your filing system, this would ensure everyone involved will be able to see them from a single list.

6. Setting up an effective follow-up process

Creating a follow-up process based on your meeting notes can be beneficial, it allows you to highlight the tasks agreed, the person responsible for the type of task, and the important deadlines. You can also add resources, instructions or ground rules that were discussed during the meeting. 

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You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

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