How to take good notes in meetings ?

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Note-taking is important in meetings, but it can sometimes be complex. It is an exercise that requires methodology.

So, in order for you to become a note taking expert, we explain the 5 key steps to follow !


Table of contents :

I/ Choosing the right medium to take notes

II/ Inquire about the meeting beforehand

III/ Write a bit, write useful

IV/ Structuring your note-taking

V/ Enriching your notes after the meeting

 


First, this article is intended for a broad audience because the term “meeting” encompasses:

  • company meetings
  • conferences
  • training sessions
  • staff representative bodies
  • interviews and talks

In short, you will have understood that meetings come in many forms, and for each of these examples, note-taking is essential !
 
So let’s see how to be efficient…
 

I/ Choosing the right medium to take notes 📝

First, it is important to choose the right medium. Depending on the purpose of your meeting and its duration, you may decide to opt for paper notes or to use a note-taking tool.
 
For a short, weekly meeting, a notepad and a pen may be sufficient.
 
However, if it is a meeting of more than one hour with a complex subject, I advise you to opt for a digital tool. Today, many tools are specialized in note taking, such as :
 
  • Word ⇒ simple and efficient
  • Evernote ⇒ many features to enrich your note taking but a substantial price tag
  • Microsoft Onenote ⇒ a free tool to type, draw and write as you wish
  • Bear ⇒ for Apple fans
  • Simplenote ⇒ which allows you to share your content with your collaborators
 

Vous avez donc l’embarras du choix, à vous de choisir le support qui match le mieux avec vos besoins et vos attentes !

 

PS : pour vous assurer de ne rien oublier, enregistrez vous pendant la réunion, afin de pouvoir revenir sur certains moments clefs par la suite.


II/ Inquire about the meeting beforehand 🔍

It may not make sense to everyone, but knowing the subject of the meeting, the objectives and the participants can be very useful for good note-taking.

Why? Simply because it will allow you to be more reactive and to better understand the interactions. You will then be able to write down the key words and important elements right away.


III/ Write a bit, write useful 🎯

It is important to know that a person’s speaking rate in France varies from 120 to 160 words per minute on average. It is therefore impossible to take note of all this manually.
 
Two options are available to you :
 

1. Sort out the key elements 

To do this, answer three primary questions beforehand :
 
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • Who are the targets/addressees?
  • What are their expectations?
 
Thanks to these three questions, your thinking will be focused and you will be able to choose the key information. Do not pollute your notes with unnecessary details, you have limited time and the objective is to select elements with high added value that will be useful later. The goal of this note-taking is to be able to draw conclusions that will allow you to set up new actions and evolution objectives.
 

 2. Use automatic dictation with Noota !

There is a second option: automatic dictation. Noota is a tool specialized in automatic transcription. With such a tool, you will have an accurate and complete note-taking! This solution allows you to be actively involved in the meeting, without worrying about anything else.
 
Our tool will allow you to :

  • note down your exchange in real time (taking into account the different interlocutors)
  • highlight important moments and phrases
  • insert screens from any window on your computer to illustrate what is being said
  • edit your entire text afterwards ⇒ once you have transcribed your recording, you can add tags, themes and a lot of information to enrich your note taking
 

IV/ Structuring your note taking ✍🏼

Staying with the idea of manual note-taking, beyond sorting information, it is important to structure your words!
What does that mean? It is very simple! It is a question of being efficient in order to be able to find the key elements at a glance.
 
To do this, avoid writing down words in bulk without any indication.
 
I advise you instead to use abbreviations, short sentences, bulleted lists or key words.
 
It is also possible to create a table in advance in which you will fill in :
 
  • the subject
  • the people involved
  • the objectives
  • the key points
  • the actions to be taken
  • potential outstanding questions
 
But all this again requires work upstream !
 

V/ Enriching your notes after the
meeting ⏳

This last step is very important and will determine the quality of your notes !
 
Whether you take notes manually or not, it is strongly recommended that you go back over the elements you have noted in order to add comments, to sort them out and to emphasize the information with high added value.
 
Don’t forget, these notes will be the basis of your memory ! And humans tend to forget things quickly…
 
For manual note-taking, it is advisable (at the end of the meeting) to :
 
  • fill in the “blank” areas
  • correct abbreviations that are too vague
  • add comments to important points (deadlines, objectives, expectations…)
  • rewrite passages that are not very readable
  • structure the form : add titles and subtitles for example


If you follow all these steps, you should be ready for your next meeting !

We hope this article has been useful to you, and don’t hesitate to check out our Noota account to better understand the use and features of our tool! For more specific tutorials, check out our YouTube channel 🎬

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