Taking efficient meeting notes may sound like a no-brainer, but how often have you referred back to previous notes that now don’t make sense.
It’s not always an easy task. Many don’t think about the consequences of missing a critical element that could be essential information to share with others or act upon yourself. No matter how daunting this task is, for most, it’s a necessary part of life.
Whether it’s a company meeting, addressing your staff, or meeting with a client who depends on you to take accurate action notes to execute in the future, you should take note-taking seriously.
To follow is some advice about taking reliable meeting notes without frustration.
Get Organized and Plan Ahead
Before the Meeting
During the Meeting
It’s unnecessary to write down everything verbatim, but separating relevant and “fluff” is essential. For instance, you don’t need to include hearsay – stick to the facts. If you are not sure of something being discussed, ask for further clarification. Of course, if it’s been explained repeatedly during other meetings, and you’re still unsure, it’s best to take it offline and ask someone you trust so you don’t give the impression of not paying attention.
For critical points that need more focus, underline those notes so you remember it’s important later. Try sticking to precise individual bulleted lines so it’s easier to decipher later. And, one of the biggest things to remember is to write legibly (if handwritten). The worst scenario is going back to your notes and not understand a word you wrote.
After Meeting Follow-up
If you take handwritten notes, take the time to transcribe them into a document. If you wait until shortly before the next meeting, you’re bound to miss something as the content won’t be top-of-mind. However, if you take accurate notes, this will be less of an issue.