How to Take the Most Efficient, Effective Meeting Notes
Whether you've volunteered to record the meeting notes for a department meeting or have been asked to update the meeting agenda with specific notes and action items, keeping minutes for a meeting doesn't have to be a cumbersome task that requires a lot of extra work on your behalf.
November 19, 2018

Whether you've volunteered to record the meeting notes for a department meeting or have been asked to update the meeting agenda with specific notes and action items, keeping minutes for a meeting doesn't have to be a cumbersome task that requires a lot of extra work on your behalf.

Note-taking for meetings is important because it helps team members follow up on action items, recall what needs to be accomplished and determines who is responsible for which tasks. Today, we will review some tips and best practices to make creating and sharing meeting notes as efficient and productive as possible.

What Should Be Included in Meeting Notes?

Meeting notes are also commonly called meeting minutes, which can be a bit misleading. No one needs word-for-word detailed notes including the verbatim of what each meeting member said during your meeting. The best business meeting notes capture the follow-up items for each agenda item, including things like:

  • Summary of the previous meeting
  • Meeting attendees and any team members that were absent
  • Meeting agenda outline
  • Decisions that were made during the meeting, like budget approvals, hiring recommendations or the motion to move forward on a particular project
  • Next steps that have been planned on a project or issue
  • Tracking of actions items including who is responsible for what and when it is due

Share Meeting Notes With the Right Team Members

Meeting notes are a concrete record of the meeting for each team member and serve as a document that people can go back to for information, and a guide for those who may have been unable to attend the meeting on what happened and next steps.

If you don't share meeting notes, people will likely be confused about what the next steps are and what they are responsible for. Many professionals find using a meeting notes template that can be reformatted for each meeting helpful for keeping the process as streamlined as possible.

Some teams email meeting notes shortly after the meeting. While helpful, it can be cumbersome to dig through old emails to search for a file, and only one person can update it at a time without the others being able to view changes in real-time. Smart organisations leverage the power of technology to make meeting notes collaborative and more accessible to the entire team.

For example, Samewave is social performance management software that helps teams collaborate and communicate about tasks and goals created during meetings. The software also allows team members to upload documents, store them and update them in real time. When your meeting notes live in the cloud, anyone who needs to access them can do so anytime, anywhere.

You can even update your progress towards tasks assigned during meetings, and since everyone can view progress towards goals, this naturally increases accountability and improves team productivity. Improve your collaborative process and try out Samewave today, for free.

Record Meeting Notes While Staying Engaged

One of the biggest challenges for anyone responsible for recording meeting notes is being an engaged, active meeting participant while recording the minutes. Teams have two choices to overcome this challenge. They can assign an administrative person that doesn't need to participate in the meeting to record meeting minutes or have the right person in place that can handle doing both.

If you are meeting participant as well as the meeting note-taker, you have options. If you would rather focus on the meeting without taking any notes, bring a recorder to the meeting and outline the notes afterwards. Or, jot down some notes and organise it into a document you can share. Bring a laptop to the meeting so you can copy and paste notes later.

This is also where having a streamlined meeting agenda handy can be convenient. If you outline the agenda items beforehand, simply put the notes underneath each category and finalise it later. You will save yourself a lot of time in the long run.

If you are the meeting facilitator as well as recording the minutes, you have to plan before thoroughly. Before each meeting, list out the agenda items and put sub-questions that you know you want to ask or discuss under each item. You can even share it with the other meeting participants beforehand to help them be as prepared as possible. Leave space between each agenda item so you can write notes next to your questions.

Make Time to Finalise Meeting Notes

Don't forget to schedule time on your calendar right after each meeting is over to finalise meeting notes and send them out. Avoid saving it for a later date. The best time to wrap up the notes is right after the meeting is over so everything you need to document is fresh on your mind.

Put a 30-minute block on your calendar to finish and send the best meeting notes. Your team members will also appreciate receiving meeting minutes in a timely manner so they can plan out their follow-up action items and get them done in time.

Simplify Meeting Notes Today

Use these tips and best practices to streamline your note-taking process for each meeting. Keep everyone on the same page and on track to meet important business goals with a clear meeting note template that outlines the meeting agenda, action items and next steps, plus assigns responsibility to individual team members.

Share meeting notes in the most efficient way possible by using technology that makes notes accessible and able to update in real-time. Finally, don't forget to finalise your meeting notes as soon as possible after each meeting. Before you know it, you'll be a pro at creating and sharing meeting notes that help drive progress towards your most important business goals.

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