Have you ever thought to yourself while in a meeting, “I’ll jot down the meeting notes when I get to my desk.” At that moment, you probably thought that you were going to retain all the content discussed in the meeting. But, later, you may have been surprised to realize just how much information passed you by.
This is quite normal because in a typical workday, you are probably juggling a lot of activities and deadlines, including meetings. For this reason, it is possible to attend a meeting, sit through it and yet not retain important details.
If this sounds like something you have gone through before, we have some tips for you. In this article, we’ll show you how note-taking doesn’t have to be this arduous task that you have to dread. We will also show you how with Aira, you don’t have to put off note taking till later.
Before we begin, let’s define meeting notes.
What are meeting notes?
People usually confuse meetings and meeting notes; one is often taken for the other. While both meeting notes and minutes are somewhat the same, meeting notes serve as a quick summary of ideas discussed during a meeting. Meeting notes are also informal.
Meeting notes are important when you want to record information in a way that you will understand, or that is unique to you. some people also take notes as part of their creative process.
Minutes on the other hand, are structured, formal records of a meeting, and their job is to note down:
- Meeting attendance (present and absent)
- Meeting start and end times
- Broad topics discussed
- Decisions arrived at during a meeting
How can you take better meeting notes during an online meeting?
Even though meeting notes are formal, following a structure when writing them is important for future recall. The last thing you want is a scrap pad filled with cluttered meeting notes that you cannot make head or tail of.
Great meeting notes should be simple and have the following qualities:
- Provide context
- Have relevant details
- Be legible, whether expressed in full sentences or shorthand
- Have ideas that flow logically into each other
What details should you include in your meeting notes?
For your online meeting notes to be exhaustive and complete, they should include the following details
- Main discussion points. A lot is said during a meeting, but not all of it is worth noting down. Therefore, to avoid ending up with copious amounts of notes, first, note down important points. Second, expound on those points in a few sentences.
- Action items. What is the task? To whom is it assigned? What is the deadline for completing the task?
- Questions. Write down any points you want to clarify and ask them during the Q&A session.
- Follow ups and ideas. Ideas may start coming up during a meeting. Such ideas may be the beginning of new projects therefore it’s important to write them down.
Manual and automated note taking
There are two ways to take manual notes:
- Manually, either by writing or typing
- Automated note taking
Manual note taking: Laptop vs pen and paper
Some people prefer to write down their notes while others prefer to use a laptop. There are downsides and upsides to each method.
Research shows that people tend to type verbatim. The upside of typing however, is that organizing and editing points is a lot easier. When using a pen, you will note down the main points. The downside of course is that if you need to send out the notes to people, you have to type them out later.
Therefore, what it comes down to when deciding whether to write down notes using pen and paper or to type them out on your laptop, is preference.
How to take better meeting notes manually
Manual note taking requires skill. If you don’t have those skills, you will fall behind during the meeting and important information to pass you by.
Here’s how to take manual notes easily:
Shorthand is a writing system that is mostly used by administrative assistants who normally need to type a lot of notes throughout their day. It is a good system to use if you already possess the skill. If you don’t, you first have to learn how to do shorthand scribbles before you start using it.
Another way to keep up the pace when taking meeting notes manually is to codify some parts. For instance:
- Use abbreviations. For example, use “max”, instead of maximum
- Use an asterisk * to mark important points
- Use an exclamation mark (!) to note urgent items
Automated meeting note taking
Automating the note taking process can make work easier for you. There are many tools for automating note taking, and all of them have different capabilities.
One of the reasons why we favor Aira is because of its audio recording capability. Not only does Aira’s audio recordings ensure that nothing is missed, the meeting app notes down keywords, making it easier to pick out important details that were discussed in a meeting.
What’s more, you don’t need to jot down the notes yourself because you can print the transcript from the meeting and circle or underline whatever you need to refer to.
- The notes are organized and clutter free
- The app provides context for the meeting notes
Online meetings happen between people who cannot be in the same room or location. If you are then stuck taking notes, it’s possible to appear aloof or even rude to other participants. Not to mention, internet lag time can make it almost impossible to follow and take notes at the same time. Thankfully, with a meeting note app such as Aira, you can reduce the hustle of note taking and improve note accuracy while conducting online meetings.