How to Take Effective Notes in Meeting


During meeting it is quite difficult to keep track of a conversation whilst taking minutes simultaneously.  Taking notes effectively is a skill you can bring with you as you move up in the organization ladder.  

Always remember notes and minutes are the similar thing. Minutes are more formal and are often required by organizational bylaws.

Let us understand few easy tips on taking effective notes effectively in meeting, prior to that you need to understand the benefits of taking notes:

Benefits of Taking Notes

  • Confirm any decisions made
  • Record any agreed actions to be taken
  • Record who has been allocated any tasks or responsibilities
  • Prompt action from any relevant attendees
  • Provide details of the meeting to anyone unable to attend
  • Serve as a record of the meeting’s procedure and outcome
  • Helps to remember action items

1. Always try to answer: Who, When, What, Why, and Where

  • Who:
    • Who attended?
    • Who did not attend?
    • Who is to complete the actions?
  • When:
    • When was the meeting?
    • By when to complete the actions?
    • When follow-up meeting scheduled?
  • What:
    • What topics were discussed?
    • What was decided?
    • What actions were agreed upon?
  • Why:
    • Why meeting is scheduled?
    • Why follow-up meeting scheduled?
  • Where:
    • Where meeting is scheduled?
    • Where follow-up meeting scheduled?

2. Use paper and pen

Using paper and pen is the easiest and simplest way to record minutes. With pen you can draw the pictorial image to capture the context. Using a laptop, tablet or notepad while taking notes can create a barrier between you and the person talking. Usage of these devices during meeting will give a feel to other members like you’re working on something else or chatting with someone. It may results in distraction.

3. Mind mapping

Use graphical approach like mind mapping to capture the meeting details. Prior to the meeting have meeting agenda and list down the meeting topics at the center of a piece of paper. During meeting draw lines out to the ideas and points that are connected to each topic.

4. Capture notes according to agenda key points

Prior to the meeting check the meeting agenda. Divide your notes according to the agenda’s main points even before the meeting starts. As meeting progresses fill in the important notes under each of the main points.

5. Learn shorthand or practice mnemonics

Shorthand will help in replacing common writing constructs with symbols and abbreviations, allowing you to write hundreds of words per minute. If you find difficult to learn shorthand you can also practice mnemonics or visual note-taking. 

6. Write minutes immediately after the meeting

Don’t delay in writing minutes. Write minutes based on your notes right away while everything is still fresh in your and also in attendee’s mind, and those who did not attend will promptly know what happened.

About the author

Rajesh Giribuwa

Rajesh Giribuwa is an IT professional, motivational leader, blogger, author & founder of TheBlogOn. Rajesh is passionate about blogging on Interesting Tips, Tricks, and How-To Guides on various topics like Digital, Lifestyle, Health, Food, and Travel to provide access to comprehensive advice to people to improve their lives every day, so that they can utilize the maximum time in doing what they like.

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