Users often ask us “what is the most practical way to take notes during the meeting?” These tips will help you take better notes. If you use these meeting note taking tips in combination with the MeetingKing meeting minutes software, your meetings will be more effective than ever.
What to write down
Keep your meeting notes as short as possible, nobody is interested in long essay. The purpose of your meeting notes is to provide a record with the most import information:
- The topics or agenda items
- Any relevant background information (general notes)
- Tasks that need to be completed
Before going to the next topic or agenda item of your meeting, summarize the topic you just finished. Read the decisions and tasks you wrote down to all participants. You will be surprised when you start doing this that people have different interpretations of what was just discussed. Over time your team will become better at understanding and formulating clear conclusion and decision.
This step will prevent confusion and unnecessary repeat discussions. You will save time and people will not waste time working on the wrong tasks.
One dedicated note taker, one set of notes
Taking meeting notes requires a lot of attention, you have to keep listening while writing something that was just said. Therefore it is very difficult for a person to both participate actively in the discussion and make notes.
Sometimes all participants make their own notes and write down action items. First of all this is disruptive (especially if everyone works on his/her laptop or tablet), but it also takes away the focus from the actual discussion and makes the meeting longer because people circle back.
One note taker can be really focussed on taking the notes, and having one document with meeting notes and a central task list prevents confusion. If you do not have a secretary, meeting participants can take turns for taking the meeting notes.
It is prefered that the role of chairman and note taker is separated, but if you do perform this combined role allow yourself some time to properly write down the notes, decisions and tasks. And do NOT forget to summarize at the end of each topic.
Computer or paper
This is a personal choice, some people are faster with pen and paper and there is nothing wrong with that. When you write with pen and paper, just make sure you structure your notes and clearly identify topics, notes, decisions and tasks and enter it into MeetingKing immediately after the meeting, if you wait you probably won’t do it anymore.
No other computers
In person meetings
If you meet in person, meet without computers and tablets, except for the note taker. Meetings are supposed to be personal interactions and need your full attention. Having a pc or tablet is distracting, you will be tempted to check the weather for the weekend, see what the Dow-Jones does and which great new cat videos have been posted on Facebook. Print out your agenda and focus on the discussion.
When you are in a virtual meeting, your computer or laptop is nothing more than an infrastructure tool to communicate with other meeting participants, just like a telephone. Limit your usage of the PC or tablet to ONLY that. Close your email, facebook, browser, twitter and anything else that could be even remotely distracting. We all have been guilty of this, but multi tasking does not work! If you are bored with the meeting, perhaps there was no reason for you to be there!
Sending meeting minutes document
Send the formal meeting minutes document immediately after the meeting. The discussion is still fresh in everyone’s memory and there is opportunity for feedback.
If you made your meeting notes in MeetingKing all you have to do is press the print or email button and MeetingKing will transform you short notes into a professionally formatted document, with title, list of participants, date, time and location. There is even a task summary.