Management Taking Tips – Taking good meeting notes is an important project management skill. By providing good meeting notes to your stakeholders, you’re providing clarity on important conversations and key decisions made, even if they can’t make the meeting. In this article, we’ll discuss various note-taking techniques so you can create effective meeting notes.
Meetings are an important part of projects—they’re where decisions are made and team members connect with each other. If meetings are a key step in making good decisions, where do those ideas go? If it’s not clear whose responsibility it is to take notes, ideas, and action items, they can get lost.
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The best way to ensure that key information and context is documented is through meeting notes and meeting minutes. We will discuss these two types of documents in detail in this article.
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Meeting notes are key pieces of information you write down during a meeting. Good meeting notes help you remember the important details of the meeting and any action items you or other team members need to complete before the next meeting.
Meeting minutes are a formal note-taking format used as official documents by auditors or court proceedings. Meeting minutes have a set structure for what to include. Those requirements include:
The word “meeting minutes” comes from the Latin phrase minuta scriptura, which translates to “short notes.” While it is useful to dictate real-time minutes in your meeting minutes, the purpose is not to dictate what happens up to the minute.
If you’re a project manager, you use regular meeting notes. Notes are great for project kickoff meetings, project plans, or casual 1:1 meetings.
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If you need to record and document a more formal meeting, such as a public hearing or company meeting, meeting minutes are more appropriate.
Meeting notes can come in many forms, and whichever method you prefer, creating them has many benefits. Here are some reasons why meeting notes can bring more clarity to your team.
While some people have sharp memories, others may quickly forget decisions made in a team meeting. Creating written records of notes allows team members to refer to decisions made at a particular point in time. Meeting notes also help maintain accountability and are helpful for reference later in the project.
One way to ensure that everyone on the team can refer to the notes later is to keep them in a designated place as a central source of truth. Compiling all of the meeting notes and agendas in one place can help give important context to the conversation when someone is out and about and looking to catch up on the team’s progress.
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In the event that some team members cannot attend a meeting, sharing past meeting notes can help expedite meeting decisions while allowing them to process them on their own time. Some team members may not be able to participate due to scheduling conflicts, but sharing meeting notes allows them to participate in the decision-making process asynchronously.
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted some of the first experiments on memory and recall in 1895. In this study, he developed the forgetting curve, which shows how quickly information is lost over time if no effort is made to retain the information.
Effective note taking helps you recall information faster as things are retained over time. The more you interact with the notes—like reading meeting notes a day later—the more likely you are to remember the decisions made in that meeting.
Taking better meeting notes helps you stay on top of actionable tasks and key deliverables. Any important discussion will be documented in your meeting notes so you or your team can refer back to it later. Here are some tips to make sure your note-taking techniques are effective.
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There are many different note-taking methods out there, and it’s important to find the one that works best for you based on your role and personal learning style. Some of the most common note-taking techniques are:
Research shows that taking notes by hand is good for long-term memorization of conceptual information. When taking meeting notes, you are more likely to focus on the main points of the meeting, as it is nearly impossible to write down everything verbally. Not having your laptop will also prevent you from trying to multitask during a meeting.
Trying to copy meeting notes verbatim is a waste of both time and energy. There is a lot of conversation in a meeting—but those who read the meeting notes later don’t need every part of the conversation. Write down the main points discussed, the results of that discussion, and any next steps so you can focus on the most important operational work.
If you’re writing your notes by hand, use shorthand, symbols, acronyms, or abbreviations to quickly get common phrases or ideas onto the page. Be sure to create a legend or key first so you know what your shorthand means later.
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Whether you’re using a meeting note template or a meeting minute template, using a pre-made template can help speed up your note-taking so you don’t have to do any prep or formatting. Regardless of who is taking notes, all of your meeting notes follow a consistent structure and everyone on the team knows what information to convey.
If you’re leading a meeting, it can be challenging to simultaneously take notes and facilitate a conversation with other team members. If you’re leading an important meeting, ask one of your team members to take notes for you. If you have regular meetings, rotate who is the designated note-taker so that everyone has a chance to join the conversation.
As many teams work remotely, it becomes easier to record and share a video recording instead of writing meeting notes. Use integrations like the Zoom + integration to transcribe the conversation so team members can read the conversation later. By reading the transcript of the meeting, you can easily decipher the general conversation at a glance from key points and action items.
Before recording, it is important to warn everyone on the call that they will be recorded and what the recording will be used for. Be sure to share both the recording and the transcript in a central location so that everyone on the team has access to it.
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If someone brings up something that needs follow-up later, be sure to write their name by that point. This way, if you have any questions or need to sync with them later, you know exactly who to talk to about this particular topic.
This technique can also be useful if two stakeholders disagree on an issue. By documenting both of their opinions, you can use those arguments as a foundation for the decision you ultimately decide to make.
If you work in a distributed team or work remotely, chances are you participate in a lot of video conferences. Sharing your screen while taking notes can be helpful to your team members. If you miss something, your team can help jump in and suggest points to add in real time.
A follow-up after the meeting is a good way to ensure that all stakeholders are clear on the decisions made. If someone misses a meeting, they can catch up asynchronously by reading your meeting notes. Additionally, if any points are missed, your team has the option to add them to the follow-up notes.
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When you follow up with stakeholders after the meeting, make sure the document is easily shareable and accessible. Work with your team to create a communication plan so everyone knows where this information is stored and how to access it at a later date.
The best way to keep your project and meeting notes organized is to create a centralized place where all due dates and action items live. Using a task management tool can help keep your team members organized and ensure your meetings are productive. Interested in trying out the tool? .Time management is a very important part of coaching and leadership. From analyzing your team’s or client’s time to managing your own, scheduling on time will make your coaching career more productive. To start this time management training series, let’s make a very important pledge to improve our time management. This commitment is essential to see lasting change and unbeatable results.
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If you have a busy schedule, you can feel overwhelmed very easily. However, that doesn’t mean you should stress about something you don’t have time for. Using proper time management helps ensure you know your time
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