Whether you plan and contribute to meetings or you are usually tasked with recording official meetings, taking effective meeting notes can be crucial to the success of any plan. Meeting notes summarize key points and they can be extremely useful during a project’s life-cycle. Learn all about meeting notes and how to improve your note-taking skills.
Meetings are a necessary activity, no matter the type of business you’re running. They gather the right people in a single room and they’re the perfect occasion for asking questions and clarifying doubts. If you have left a meeting wondering what some of the concepts meant, or feeling confused in regards to the plan, chances are you took little to zero notes.
Meeting notes are simply quick references to ideas, goals, decisions, deadlines, and data. They can be defined as the written record of anything relevant that's happened during a meeting, and they are used to keep track of key points as well as what was decided during the meeting so that you and your team can revisit the information and use it later down the road.
Meeting notes are not the same as meeting minutes. Even though they both have the same goal (writing down information that occurs during a meeting), minutes, however, are more formal and often include different and more structured details such as:
As mentioned above, minutes also cover key topics, but they follow a more structured format simply because they act as legal documentation of what was covered during a meeting, whereas meeting notes are much more informal and less structured.
Even though meeting notes are more dynamic and help to get the creative process going, in order to record information effectively they also need to have some structure, otherwise, they end up being cluttered, confusing, and with little to no context to the future reader, and that’s why having a few predefined steps can help you up your note-taking game.
Before you enter the meeting, there are a few things that are always good to know:
Now, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the main information you need to write down when you’re taking meeting notes:
Also, a well-planned meeting will usually cover a few core items that will be important to include in your meeting notes. Keep an eye for:
Taking notes it’s truly an art form and there are no rules when it comes to it. Some people prefer taking meeting notes on their laptops and others like to rely on pen and paper. It’s not important how you do it, but taking notes during a meeting or asking someone to do it is, especially when it comes to complex or large projects. Why? Because meetings are usually the place where discussion or key decisions happen, and relying solely on memory is definitely not enough.
But what happens when you take the time to write down exceptionally good notes and they still end up being lost or misplaced? It’s a common scenario, after all, you and your team might be managing and working on several projects at once, and this is where things tend to get mixed up. Luckily, project management software like Instagantt can truly make a difference by helping you keep track of all project-related information in one single place.
Instagantt helps you manage your schedule, tasks, and progress. But also, it can also help you keep track of your own meeting notes by allowing you to either add information to your tasks and keeping record of your notes on certain key points or topics by attaching the information as Word Docs or PDF files, or by simply creating Gantt charts with the most relevant action items and takeaways from your most important meetings. Additionally, you can assign these action items to whoever is responsible so that you can keep track of the progress of these tasks. This way, your meeting notes will never go missing again, and you can share this information with team members and shareholders alike, changing the dynamic and success factor of every meeting going forward.