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Tips for taking meeting notes

The indication of a successful meeting is everyone aware of the next steps and expectations. This is why taking and sharing meeting notes is very important. Whether you are an organizer or are assigned to take notes during a meeting, the expectation is to share them with the stakeholders.

If you are have just started taking notes and don't want to miss on the important bits, remember the following simple tips :

✅ Primary and secondary note-taking tool

Get your primary and backup notes taking tools ready. If you prefer using pen and paper, please either have another pen or online tool ready as a backup.

✅ Listen

Obviously! More than anyone else in the meeting, note-taker needs to be super attentive. No time to doze off.

✅ Write meeting notes in real-time

Humans have a limited capacity to remember information. Its best to write notes as the meeting is happening.

✅ Structure

Avoid taking notes in the form of dialogue “he said, she said”, unless it's critical for the context. Try to capture the summary of key points of ongoing discussion and its outcomes and intentions. The outcome can be summarized in

  • What was decided
  • What was accomplished
  • Action and its owner

✅ Interrupt if you need to

To remain neutral, it is important to clarify any ambiguities. For example, if a group jumps from one discussion point to another without any outcome or actionable item, clarify about the next steps that need to be taken. It's in everybody’s interest that meeting notes are accurate.

✅ Wrap up and share with the stakeholders

I would suggest blocking up 10 minutes after the meeting is finished to proofread the notes and organize them (if they are not already ) . Ideally, meetings should have an actionable outcome or next steps, which should be shared with the meeting participants and/or stakeholders within few hours after the meeting.

Basic Note-taking checklist :
While some departments might have defined meeting note template. But you want to create your own perosnalized template by using following basic fields :

  • Date
  • Agenda
  • Participants
  • Participant Department (optional)
  • Other stakeholders to be informed about the next step or if any decision has been made (optional)
  • Action item , its owner and expected date of completion or discussion (very important)
  • Next steps
  • Schedule a follow up (syncronous or asynchronous) if requrired

For any kind of suggestions, feedback or queries, please feel free to comment or contact me on my email address nidasaleem333@gmail.com

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