How to take productive meeting notes

09 November

It doesn’t matter if it’s a ten-minute daily standup or a quarterly report presentation; there’s always something to write down on a meeting. Some people find it easy, others not so much. That’s why we have compiled a list of tips that might make your notetaking more productive.

Don’t record ideas verbatim

Writing things word for word is only going to distract you from the very goal of the meeting, as it’s very stressful, requires a lot of work, and takes up our precious time. Instead, focus on the content of what’s being discussed and only highlight the key points. If it’s necessary to know who said what, use person’s initials to mark it, as well as try to skip words without much content load, e.g., articles or particles. You can add them later if needed.

Plot the outline of the meeting beforehand

It’s a good idea to start with checking the meeting’s agenda (if there is one). That way you can divide your notes into main points and just fill these sections in as you go, as well as know the timeline of the meeting when revising. Color coding might come in handy in this case; use different colors so as not to get lost.

Don’t write – map!

If you don’t want or don’t feel like accumulating written information, just take a free-flowing graphical approach. List the topics of the meeting on a center of a piece of paper, each item having its own page. As the meeting goes on, draw lines, arrows, or whatever you prefer connecting the topic and what’s being discussed. This is entirely instinctive, so you won’t get distracted.

Save organizing for later

Don’t try to organize your notes as you’re writing them. Just note the date and time, and devote all your sensory organs to capturing and comprehending information. Same goes of mind-mapping – you can always arrange your maps into a linear form later, if necessary. That way not only will you not miss anything, but will also revise the critical points of the meeting and maybe come up with some new ideas later.

Tech up!

Thankfully, some of the newest devices and apps on the market are able to take care of all those things for you. Applications like One Note, Google Keep or Bear let you digitalize your minutes; some of them, like Evernote or Cogi even let you go one step further and take notes with your voice. But if you’re ready for something even more forward-thinking, try Senstone. Not only will it organize, and sort your notes by time and location; it will also transcribe all your voice recordings automatically. Moreover, you will stay focused thanks to its flawless intuitive design. No need to type or write – merely think out loud!