A meeting is a great way to convey information but you need to make sure that you have the right type of notes so that you are ready to use your newfound knowledge after the meeting. Here are some of our top tips to make sure that you will leave the meeting with useful notes that will help you achieve the goals set out in the meeting.
Find out about packs
At the beginning of the meeting, ask the meeting organisers if they will be sending around any slides or promotional materials after the meeting, as that way you may not need to make such thorough notes and can simply concentrate on listening. Packs are a great way that meeting organisers can get their points across, as the attendees will have the notes and information to take away with them after the meeting ends.
Write down questions
As the meeting progresses, you may find that you have questions that you will need the answers to. If it is not possible to ask the questions when you come up with them, write them down so that you can ask them at a suitable portion of the meeting or send them as follow up questions to the meeting’s chair.
Take plenty of supplies, including spares
It may sound like a strange piece of advice but it’s always worth taking an extra pen or two, just in case your reliable and trusty pen chooses that moment to break. If you will be taking digital notes, you may still want to consider having a small notepad and pen, just in case you run out of charge or a last-minute update strikes as you are going into your meeting.
Swap notes with other attendees
If there was something important that you don’t think you got down right or you missed a portion for some reason, send your notes to other attendees and ask for theirs in return. That way you can all enrich each other’s takeaways from the meeting. If you have other takeaways that you aren’t ready to share, perhaps because it could give your organisation a competitive advantage or because you want to investigate it further, that’s okay, just be aware that not everyone will want to share their discoveries either.
Use codes or symbols for clarity
If you will be leaving the meeting with actions to complete, consider a symbol like an A with a circle around it (or a highlighter) to make it easier to find later when you are coming back to these later to go through them.
If there is something written up on a board or a flipchart, take pictures and add them to your notes later. This will help to enrich your notes and enable you to quickly remind yourself of some of the points made in the meeting.
Transfer your notes somewhere useful
If you have taken handwritten notes, consider transferring them somewhere digitally, whether that it through sending it as an email to your colleagues or adding digital notes to an archive to make sure that anyone who will need them will have easy access to them. Archiving digital notes is a really good idea too.