Comprehensive meeting notes are critical for capturing productive meeting ideas and tasks. A Harvard study found that the most effective way to take notes is to use a well-structured template, assess the notes for connections between ideas, and review the notes often for better information retention.
In this article, we’ll explore strategies and tips on how to take better meeting notes in 2021. By following these ideas and suggestions, you’ll facilitate more productive meetings and elevate your professionalism in the workplace.
Benefits of effective meeting notes
While it may feel tedious to take meticulous notes during a meeting, there are several benefits when note-taking is done well:
- Improves recall of information: Studies validate that taking detailed notes helps retention and encourages a more profound understanding of the subject.
- Manages and boosts productivity: Effective meeting notes can keep track of goals, discussions, actions, and tasks that can encourage productivity and hold participants accountable.
- Elevates your professionalism: When you share well-organized notes with your boss and team members, the notes reflect an organized professional who takes the initiative.
Tips for taking better meeting notes
To elevate your note-taking ability, here are our best tips to improve the quality and professionalism of your meeting notes:
Structure your notes using a template
Before your next meeting, take some time to create a meeting note template. Not only will it create a structure that is easy to follow, but a template can also help keep your meeting on track and easily document tasks and deliverables for your team.
Some organizations have an existing template you can leverage, or you may need to create a template from scratch. An effective meeting notes template will include:
- note-taker’s name
- date and time
- meeting purpose
- meeting participants
- discussion summaries and key points
- decisions made
- essential ideas and questions to explore later
- actions, tasks, priority items, and deliverables identified and assigned
- follow-up protocols
Collaborate within one digital document
An excellent way to capture notes from all the participants is to use a shared digital document where everyone can collaborate and contribute in real-time. A shared document keeps all the ideas and thoughts in a centralized place and encourages the participants to stay focused.
The Vibe whiteboard application is an intuitive collaboration tool that allows all meeting participants to contribute, capture and innovate in a centralized digital document. The whiteboard can be saved and shared immediately to help the participants retain and remember what was discussed and what they’re responsible for moving forward.
Focus on important goals, details, decisions, and actions
During the meeting, you do not need to record every word verbatim. Learn how to listen for and record:
- key points and ideas
- any tasks or assignments created from the meeting
- relevant questions or follow-up actions
When capturing critical information, use shorthand, bullet lists, and brevity when recording the main ideas of the discussions.
Revise and polish your notes to reflect key points
After the meeting, while everything is still fresh, revise and polish your notes into a clear, articulate summary that:
- contains details of participants, date, and main purpose.
- highlights at least 3-5 actionable key points and tasks.
- organizes the notes into easy-to-read categories and subheads for scanability.
- removes any personal opinions or insights that don’t contribute to the meeting’s purpose.
- contains no misspellings or grammar errors.
The sooner you polish the meeting notes, the easier it will be to recall and capture the discussions. It will also help you interpret any quick-hand or incomplete notes that may be unfinished before you forget what you were trying to record.
Share your notes with meeting participants
Once your notes are polished and organized, share them with all the meeting participants and any executive team that may have a vested interest in the meeting’s outcome.
Send your notes
Sending the meeting notes to all stakeholders can increase the meeting’s success. When you send the notes, be sure to:
- thank all participants
- highlight deadlines
- define actions
- invite any questions or additional thoughts to be added.
Store the notes in a shared knowledge base
Save all meeting notes to a shared knowledge base where participants can easily access the notes. This should be a shared repository on the company network or a folder in your Google Drive. Make sure to use a clear naming convention when naming the file that participants can easily recognize and identify.
Follow up with stakeholders with actionable items
As meeting deliverables near their deadlines, follow up with stakeholders that are accountable for the particular tasks.
Tools that can elevate your meeting notes
An interactive smart board is an essential collaboration tool that has an infinite canvas for capturing all of the meeting’s ideas, decisions, and deliverables. An interactive whiteboard can act as a meeting notes document because you can save everything captured during the meeting.
There are several note taking applications that can streamline note taking and make it easy to share and store in several formats. Some of the best note taking apps include:
- Evernote: An industry leading app that allows you to add text notes, audio, images, documents and scanned hand-written information.
- Apple Notes: Integrates well with Apple devices and phones for easy notation.
- Google Keep: If you are using Google’s application suite then you might like Google Keep for integration with the other applications.
Capture critical decisions through effective meeting notes
By taking clear meeting notes that capture critical points and decisions, you’ll be able to influence the success of the meeting and keep the meeting focused on its purpose. By sending the polished notes to participants, you’ll boost everyone’s retention and focus toward accomplishing the meeting’s goals.
Vibe offers a collaborative solution combining an interactive digital whiteboard and innovative smart software. Increase engagement and efficiency at your brainstorming sessions, virtual training, and classroom sessions by integrating your favorite applications with video conferencing and an infinite, mess-free writing canvas. Collaborate today with Vibe.
Looking for the latest in interactive whiteboard technology? Check out Vibe today!
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