How to take better notes in a meeting – 5 top tips
Effective minutes are vital in today’s busy world. Clear, concise, accurate minutes help to show regulatory compliance, good governance and accountability. Just as importantly, they provide a record of progress, developments and actions undertaken.
This responsibility can mean that minute-takers try to note everything down in a meeting – and then spend hours writing up notes and trying to work out what should go into the finished minutes.
What strategies can help minute-takers to capture the key points during the meeting?
Remember that minute-taking is not dictation! You don’t have to get everything down, word-for-word. Your aim is to note the main point or message.
Find out how much detail is needed for the finished minutes, in advance. Do you simply need to list the decision, actions and timelines – or do you need to add key points of a discussion? This will influence how much you write during the meeting.
Keep your notes concise. Only note down the key points that will go into the finished minutes. Not every point that people make or every piece of information people share needs to go into the finished minutes, so don’t try to get it all into your notes.
Be aware of the agenda item. If a speaker goes off on a tangent, then you probably won’t be adding it to the finished minutes.
Write shorter – so you can listen more effectively. You don’t need to learn shorthand because you can develop your own abbreviations for words that come up frequently. For example: rp or rep for report, conf for conference and st for staff.
Sarah Marriott is a highly-experienced trainer and former-journalist who specialises in delivering Writing Skills courses for the public and private sectors. Sarah has worked as a feature writer and sub-editor at The Irish Times. She has also been involved in training Irish Times editorial staff. She is a former lecturer on the MA in Journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology and is author of Common Errors in Written English..
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.