Taking Minutes: 8 Tips to Take Better Notes During a Meeting

February 26, 2019

Taking minutes effectively and efficiently is an important skill to have. Use these 8 tips backed by meeting experts.

Taking minutes during a meeting effectively and efficiently is an important skill to have. No doubt. But with so many note-taking tips on the market, how do you know which ones are the best? Firstly, let's look at the nature of your meeting. Is it shaping up to be a good meeting?

Sure, you can note down every word, or record the meetings, upload them to basic transcription apps and cross every finger and toe in the hope that you don't receive walls of gibberish. But even if it's recorded accurately and you have the time to sift through it all (which let's face it, we don't have), has it captured the context in which the discussion was intended? Can you share this discussion easily with others, and follow-up on actions?

When you take minutes or notes, your purpose is to be able to quickly act on the information or moments that have occurred. This could mean being able skim through a meeting overview at a later date for relevant information or being able to accurately share this information with others. Therefore, what you note down and how much you note down is key.

Here's a quick guide to taking minutes and which kind of notes are crucial, important and meaningless.

Crucial Notes - This is what you need to capture during your meeting

  • Tasks due and deadlines to be met.
  • Decisions made, even if they don't directly affect your work. This will help you anticipate your team's schedule and modify your activity so you can better help everyone succeed! This is how you become invaluable at work!

Important Notes - Add these moments to your meeting minutes

  • When taking notes, brevity is important; however, discussion points to help you track the progress of your meeting could be helpful.
  • So, what if a decision is left unmade or split? In that case, it's always worth jotting down the different opinions that were presented and note if it needs to be revisited at a later time
  • When it comes to brainstorming, it's easy to quickly go off topic or go too far down the rabbit hole. The outcomes and decisions of the session are important to note down.
  • There are several efficient ways to jot down the general flow of the meeting. You can use a timeline, a mind map or even a flow chart.

What's unimportant - It's white noise and it's best to leave these things out

  • Many a time, meetings have numerous differing viewpoints discussed. Just listen, participate in the discussion, and jot down any decisions made.
  • The start and end of every meeting is usually dominated by banter or small talk. How else will you commiserate about how tired you are? Even a dedicated note taker knows these are moments you really don't need in your notes.

Applying this into your schedule

Note taking can be a bit of a pain. It takes practice to train yourself with these skills. However, with these tips, you'll be able to sort out the fluff from facts and improve your meetings ten-fold! Now that you know how to take better notes, see if your meeting etiquette is on point with 6 Tips To Run An Effective Meeting.

Need additional tools to help you with your meeting?

With Notiv, you can stop worrying about taking minutes during your important conversations because you always have a secure and trustworthy record of everything that was said, at your fingertips. We're not talking about a recorder or a simple transcription program. Notiv will capture who is talking, when they're talking and use artificial intelligence to help you identify important moments that you might've missed in your notes! Notiv also trains to listen to your team-specific vocabulary and diction, so it's your personal productivity assistant!

To learn more about our product, download the app now for free on iOS or Android

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