Taking good notes during a meeting can be a crucial time saver. Headaches can be avoided with good taking notes skill and this skill is generally greatly appreciated by your superiors, colleagues as well as subordinates. Your notes allow you record important takeaways from the meeting. A point to remember when taking notes is to keep them well organized so that you can easily and quickly reference to the important information later.
So, if you attend a meeting, make sure you take down notes. It doesn’t matter what you use to take notes since each note can be a personal record of discussions, decision or actions that you or someone needs to take. The notes would be important references long after the meeting has ended. Every person in a meeting should be taking his or her own notes. Unless the meeting minutes are very comprehensive, meeting notes might save the day!
Here are the basic steps in taking notes:
- Record first, sort later – Put date and meeting title at the top. Record everything that we feel important. Pay attention to the discussion at the same time. Sort the notes after the meeting.
- Record only what you need – Actions or decisions affecting you, key reasons for the actions, statements that you made and any other key points that would be important later on. Do not try to take down everything. You will miss the meeting.
- Record by hand – It is faster and you will not be distracted by something else, such as when you are taking notes on your laptop.
- Summarize and Sort - Categorize them by items to be actioned by you, main decisions and other references. Use highlighters, color pens as well as boxes, underlines or asterisks. There is no need to rewrite your notes.
Below is a good example of an excellent note taking during a meeting. I took this during my department meeting last week. Let me know if you have any trouble reading or understanding it.