In the fast-paced world of business, learning how to take meeting notes is crucial in ensuring that your meetings bear excellent results. One of the biggest challenges most professionals face is effectively capturing and retaining the key points discussed during these meetings.
While there are many reasons behind this, the main reason has to be their lack of effective note-taking skills.
But how do you ensure you actively participate in meetings and get accurate documentation of the most important details?
This article will help you to get started by:
- Highlighting what meeting notes are and how they differ from minutes;
- Exploring how to take effective meeting notes for enhanced productivity and retention.
What Are Meeting Notes?
As the name suggests, effective meeting notes are simply the notes you take during a meeting. Essentially, these notes are a record of the key discussion points, decisions, and action items that arise during these meetings.
Moreover, meeting notes serve as a reference for future follow-ups, ensuring no important information gets lost or forgotten.
Benefits of Meeting Notes
The main role of meeting notes is to ensure that you have optimal information retention. This means that they assist you in remembering all important details and discussion points from the meeting.
Besides that, there are also numerous other benefits associated with meeting notes. They include:
- Enhanced productivity: By taking meeting notes, participants can remain focused and engaged during the meeting. This is crucial as it relieves them of the pressure of recalling every detail discussed during the meeting.
For instance, people taking part in a hybrid meeting will find this most helpful, as their ability to pay proper attention may be at risk, making note-taking a crucial reminder in case any of them didn’t understand the discussions well.
- Improved clarity: So much can get discussed in a meeting. However, taking notes can distill complex discussions into more digestible summaries.
Moreover, when holding a meeting virtually, some participants still don’t know how to mute the sound on Zoom or reduce distractions surrounding them. Getting them Zoom meeting notes ensures they do not lose important discussion points amidst all the noise.
- Accountability: Meeting notes serve as a reference for action items, decisions, and deadlines. Organizations can rely on these meeting notes to hold the participants accountable and facilitate effective follow-ups. This also boosts productivity by ensuring all tasks are completed within the stipulated deadlines.
- Decision-making support: Certain challenges and decisions are recurring within organizations. By referring to their meeting notes, companies can get further insights and perspectives, which they can use to resolve similar concerns.
- Conflict resolution: Effective meeting notes are crucial during important meetings as they act as an effective reference to conflict resolution. This is because they clarify what was discussed, preventing misunderstandings.
- Continuous improvement: Did you know there are lots of recurring and repetitive discussion points during regular organizational meetings?
By analyzing their meeting notes over time, companies can identify patterns and areas of improvement regarding their meeting style or learn how to take good meeting notes by learning from their mistakes and experiences.
What Are Meeting Minutes?
Although some people use the terms interchangeably, meeting notes should not be confused with meeting minutes.
Meeting minutes are formal and detailed records of a meeting that follow a specific structure. Unlike meeting notes, meeting minutes provide a detailed highlight of the entire meeting, with additional details, such as the names of the attendees, those absent, the agenda, discussions, decisions, and action items.
5 Effective Tips For Taking Meeting Notes
Learn how to take better notes in meetings through these five effective tips that can elevate your note-taking to the next level:
Prepare well in advance
Early preparation is vital for effective note-taking during meetings. There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself adequately, including creating an effective meeting agenda.
Preparing your key discussion items in advance makes it easier for an automated meeting minutes tool to provide excellent results.
This enables you to anticipate the topics and discussions, making it easy to identify and capture the most important details during the meeting.
Use a consistent format
Note-taking during meetings only requires you to jot down the most crucial details. This means you should not only know how to capture important details but also when. Doing this ensures you do not miss important discussions, even when you are hit with virtual meeting fatigue or unable to concentrate on the meetings.
Having a consistent format that you follow makes the work easier for you. You may consider following a preset template and note-taking structure that works best for you, also depending on the nature of the meeting.
Use the ready-to-use templates from Krisp’s AI Meeting Assistant to generate and share key discussion points with other participants, making it easier to follow a format that can enable you to take notes easily.
Be selective in what you write down as part of your notes. Note-taking requires you only to focus on the most important discussion points. This means you ought to be selective in what you put down by only summarizing the main ideas, key insights, and action items.
Being able to actively participate in the meeting and take notes effectively may be daunting for most people. This is especially the case when using methods such as the traditional pen and paper to take notes.
There are now numerous apps that you can use to take notes during your meetings, especially when using online meeting apps.
One of the leaders in this sector is Krisp’s new AI meeting assistant. If you want to know how to take meeting notes automatically, this tool has all the answers to make your meetings more productive.
The automatic note-taker from Krisp seamlessly transcribes your online meetings and offers you a summary of the most important discussion points and action items at the end of the meeting.
Furthermore, you don’t have to download or install any plugins or extensions when using Krisp’s AI meeting assistant. The tool works in the background and does not intrude on your meetings.
Share and collaborate
Part of virtual meetings etiquette is ensuring that only those who need to be in the meeting can stay. But what if they also need to be kept abreast of whatever was discussed? This is why sharing your meeting notes with the relevant stakeholders is advisable immediately or soon after the meeting.
Doing so fosters transparency in the key discussion and action items.
Moreover, by sharing the meeting notes with teammates or the relevant personnel, you ensure that everyone is on the same page, hence being helpful when resolving any potential future conflicts.
Take Better Meeting Notes With Krisp’s AI Meeting Assistant
Learning how to take notes during a meeting has a plethora of benefits that are beneficial not only to the individuals but also to the organization as a whole. However, taking great meeting notes is just like art. Having the right skills and talent is only one half of the equation, as using the right set of tools gets you an added advantage.
Krisp has revolutionized how we take meeting notes, all thanks to the AI meeting assistant. With this tool, you can focus on your meetings as you let a reliable assistant transcribe your meetings and share summaries of the most important parts of the discussion.
What’s more, you can adequately prepare yourself using the premade meeting notes templates from Krisp. These can help you to curate your agenda and determine the most important discussion and action items during the meeting.
Meeting Notes vs. Meeting Minutes
Now that we have highlighted meeting notes and meeting minutes, how do you know which of the two to use and when is the right time to use them during your meetings?
There isn’t a standard formula to be followed as each organization is different from the others. This means that whether you choose to use minutes or meeting notes during your meetings is up to you. However, it also depends on the context of the meeting, among other factors.
To understand the best applications for meeting notes and minutes, it is important to understand the key differences between the two.
Meeting notes follow a flexible format and are less formal. Note-takers can use their personal style to write notes while also using abbreviations and symbols that they can understand, as long as they capture only the key information based on their understanding.
On the other hand, minutes follow a standardized formal structure that follows a predefined template.
Level of detail
Meeting notes only focus on capturing essential information based on the key points of discussion and the action items. They only provide a concise summary, and note-takers can prioritize only the most important aspects of the meeting.
However, meeting minutes are more detailed and comprehensive. They may contain verbatim or near-verbatim transcriptions of the discussions, resolutions, and all the decisions made during the meeting.
Meeting notes are generally intended to be used by the note-taker for their reference. However, they may choose to share the notes with immediate participants of the meeting.
On the other hand, meeting minutes have a broader audience and may be distributed to a wider range of stakeholders.
Here’s when meeting notes may be deemed appropriate to be used:
- Team meetings
- 1-on-1 meetings
- Brainstorming sessions
- Internal discussions where a more informal record is sufficient.
On the other hand, meeting minutes are ideal for use in the following scenarios:
- Board meetings
- Committee meetings
- Meetings with legal implications.
Ultimately, the choice between meeting notes and meeting minutes depends on factors such as:
- The formality of the meeting
- The level of detail required
- The audience
- The purpose of the documentation.
Assessing these factors will help determine whether meeting notes or meeting minutes are more appropriate for a particular meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it so important to take meeting notes?
There are many reasons why taking meeting notes is crucial, including enhanced productivity, information retention, and accountability.
What should be included in meeting notes?
Meeting notes should include the details of the meeting (such as the date and attendees), agenda items, key discussions, and action items.
What should not be included in meeting minutes?
Meeting minutes should be broad in nature. However, they should not contain irrelevant side conversations, personal opinions, or subjective interpretations of discussions and any sensitive information not intended to be shared broadly.
What tense should meeting minutes be written in?
Meeting minutes are typically written in the past tense. This is because they document events and discussions that have already taken place. Using the past tense provides a clear distinction between the time of the meeting and the time of recording the minutes.