Meeting notes are a crucial element for successful meetings. And yet, people frequently underestimate its importance. Note-taking can be overwhelming, especially when you have back-to-back meetings all day.
We’ve all been there; sometimes, in the rush, we forget to take notes and end up leaving team meetings thinking we have got it all in our heads. But, as it turns out, the forgetting curve kicks in faster than we realize.
In this article, I will walk you through how to take effective meeting notes and delegate note-taking tools to focus on meetings and give your best.
Let’s dive in!
What are meeting notes?
The meeting notes are a written record that covers the key points of the meeting agenda, important details, and follow-up items that should be done. They are not meant to be a word-for-word record; instead, consider them a brief summary of the key takeaways.
Essentially, meeting notes are a valuable resource for future meetings and help you to have a clear understanding of the key decisions and tasks you need to complete. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for note-taking methods, techniques, or formats.
The only rule is to keep it simple and keep it useful! The meeting notes are about helping your future self when this topic arises again.
Benefits of meeting notes
Let’s quickly refresh our memory and see the benefits of taking notes.
Taking meeting notes is essential to capture important points and key ideas. Without taking notes, you could rely only on your memory, which is pretty limited when it comes to information retention.
In essence, meeting notes help you remember what happened and the follow-up tasks from your side.
Share information with others
Meeting notes are an excellent way to share information with team members who could not attend the meeting. Whether it is a summary of talking points, action items, or key takeaways, sharing meeting notes ensures everyone is on the same page during the next meeting.
If the whole team has access to the meeting notes, it becomes easier to track team members’ responsibilities and hold them accountable for assigned tasks. Whether it is a project milestone or a follow-up, meeting notes clearly understand who is responsible for what.
Taking meticulous notes keeps track of what is discussed and shows ownership and engagement. It shows that you are invested in the meeting’s outcomes and are committed to contributing to the team’s success.
Fuel to productivity
Meeting notes is a fuel to productivity. You will have an overview of due dates, key points, tasks, and action items. This approach enhances efficiency and ensures you know what to do until the next meeting.
Meeting minutes vs meeting notes
Meeting minutes are a more formal document that includes specific requirements, such as dates, names, topics, key decisions, and action items. For example, people use meeting minutes as legal documentation for board meetings or court proceedings.
On the other hand, meeting notes have no formal requirements; their only aim is to assist you in staying organized.
Manual meeting notes
Manually writing meeting notes is way better than not taking notes at all. Although there are already tools to replace manual note-taking, some still prefer to take notes themselves. Below, there are some tips for taking notes effectively.
Tips for better meeting notes
- Keep it simple and useful: Writing good notes is all about focusing on the important points and details instead of writing down everything word by word.
- Designated note taker: Assigning note takers will help you to focus on the meeting while others take care of meeting notes.
- Note-taking method: Utilize the Cornell or Quadrant method for more effective note-taking.
- Highlight key points: Highlighting important details will help you navigate easier in your meeting notes.
- Meeting notes template: Using a meeting note template helps you and your team members to capture and review important discussions.
- Sharing: Do not forget to share meeting notes with your team to ensure everyone will be on the same page.
How do you upgrade your manual meeting notes with tools?
Using AI-powered apps for manual note-taking and editing can also be a great way to take better notes faster. Employing AI note-taking apps will provide you with an organized place for your meeting notes and tasks. It assists you in summarizing notes, providing templates, and checking your grammar.
One of the best tools for taking meeting notes in an organized workspace is Notion. Using Notion, you can access free templates for creating to-do lists, meeting agendas, summaries, etc. Furthermore, it can improve your writing, make it shorter or longer, and summarize the meeting notes.
Essentially, Notion can replace ChatGPT and Grammarly and can be implemented in many workflows besides note-taking.
Challenges of manual taking: A real-life example
Taking notes manually can be challenging, especially if you have no other team members on the call.
Imagine stepping into a sales meeting where your team members could not make it. Juggling between engaging with meeting participants, speaking, and taking effective notes simultaneously feels like a nightmare. This multitasking scenario significantly raises the risk of missing crucial information during the meeting, potentially leading to an unsuccessful sale or communication breakdowns.
Now, envision a different scenario: You are on the same sales call without your team. However, you have an AI-powered note-taking tool that automatically transcribes the meeting and sends you great meeting notes with concise summaries of the key points.
AI note-taking tools are not exclusive to sales teams. They are an excellent solution for making meetings more productive and lifting the weight of overwhelming tasks, like note-taking, off your shoulders.
Discover the shortcuts with automated note-taking apps
Let’s break down how AI note-taking apps can help you to take better meeting notes!
Automated meeting notes and recording
AI note-taking apps can seamlessly join and start video recording your meetings on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and more platforms. So you do not have to bother more with beginning the recording.
Additionally, such tools will automatically begin taking notes when the meeting starts. This is especially useful for teams working remotely because they can essentially automate all their meetings and dedicate their full focus to meeting participants.
While there are instances when you require detailed meeting notes that capture everything discussed, there are also times when a concise summary with the important points is all you need. AI-driven note-taking tools will not just transcribe meetings but also provide you with a brief overview and highlights.
For example, Meetgeek automatically creates highlights on the call and delivers them to the relevant people’s inboxes. This means you don’t have to worry about sending meeting notes or summaries; it’s all fully automated.
Good meeting notes are one thing. AI meeting assistants take one step further to make your meeting more productive.
Such AI tools can give you key insights into speakers, topics, sentiments, etc. With this comprehensive data, you can easily compare trends and evaluate the overall quality of your team’s conversations.
Easy sharing and collaboration
Using AI note-takers simplifies the sharing of a meeting note. For example, Airgram allows you to export meeting notes to platforms like Slack, Notion, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs. Or, you can share recordings, transcripts, and notes effortlessly via a link or email.
Therefore, you do not need to copy and paste a meeting note. Instead, you can easily export and share it with your team members.
Furthermore, many AI note-takers have features that enhance team collaboration. You can edit notes together or assign tasks to your team members using a real-time notepad.
Many AI note-taking tools are highly versatile regarding language, platform support, or integration possibilities.
While some AI tools can only understand and transcribe online meetings in English, others, like Fireflies AI, support live transcription in 69+ languages. It is an ideal solution for remote teams using languages other than English.
The platform support varies depending on the specific AI note-taker, and notable differences exist. Generally, popular platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are supported.
However, if you are looking for broader compatibility, Avoma might be the right choice. It works seamlessly with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Blue Jeans, GoTo Meeting, Uber Conference, Lifesize, and Highfive.
AI note-takers generally allow integrations with third-party apps. Integrating note-taker apps with CRM systems, calendars, and project management tools will allow you to manage your workflows and tools smoothly.
The best tools to automate your meeting notes
In this article, I collected the best AI apps for manual and automated note-taking.
If you are looking for a solution beyond meeting notes automation, explore this guide on the best AI meeting managers.
For Zoom users, I recommend trying these apps to automate your Zoom meeting notes.
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Frequently asked questions
How do you take effective meeting notes?
- Focus on important points instead of writing down everything word by word.
- Assign a note-taker to ensure someone is always responsible for meeting note-taking.
- Utilize common note-taking methods like the Quadrant or Cornell method for more effective note-taking.
- Highlight the key points in your meeting notes.
- Use the meeting notes template to write and review meeting notes.
- Share the meeting notes with your team members.
What are the five R’s of note-taking?
The five R’s is a note-taking method (i.e., Cornell method) that includes five steps to effective meeting notes. The five steps are record, reduce, recite, reflect, and review.
What is the best way to take meeting notes electronically?
Tools like Notion or Taskade will help you take good meeting notes. They allow you to structure or summarize the content and provide an organized workspace for your notes and tasks. These tools utilize artificial intelligence, and you can implement them in many workflows.
What is the AI tool for meeting notes?
It depends on your preferences and what meeting platform you use daily. The best AI tools for note-taking are the following:
- Fireflies AI