How to Take Meeting Notes or Minutes Effectively

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how to take meeting notes and minutes

Mastering the art of taking meeting notes and minutes effectively is important for boosting accountability and productivity. From strategy sessions to client discussions, note-taking remains an essential skill. As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, the ability to capture vital information and discussions gains even greater significance. 

In this article, we are pleased to offer valuable samples and insightful tips to enhance your note-taking proficiency. With the aid of tools like meeting note templates and platforms like Microsoft Teams from Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, you can make meetings and discussions impactful, ensuring that your teams are empowered with clear directives and purposeful outcomes. 

Without further ado, let’s get started on how you can do it with Microsoft Teams.  

Microsoft Teams

The main use cases for Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes

Microsoft Teams Meeting Notes helps you capture important things from your Teams meetings like the agenda, things discussed, tasks to do, and many more.

You have a few ways to use Meeting Notes in Teams:

  • Take notes during the meeting: While the meeting is happening, you can start typing notes. Go to the chat of the meeting and choose the Meeting Notes tab. Your notes will be saved in the meeting owner’s OneDrive, and others can add to them too.
  • Prepare notes before the meeting: If you already know what the meeting will be about, you can get your notes ready early. Open the chat for the meeting and choose the Meeting Notes tab. Then, click “Start taking meeting notes” and type your agenda or important points.
  • Make a transcript of the meeting: If you want a written record of the whole meeting, you can turn on transcription. Open the chat for the meeting and choose the Transcription tab. Then, click “Start transcription.

Before a meeting

When you want to organize a meeting and help everyone get ready, you can add an agenda that people can view and work on together. Any updates are visible right away.

To set up a meeting with notes:

  • Open your Teams Calendar.
  • Click + New meeting to plan the meeting.
  • In the Details section, choose Add an editable agenda.
  • Put in your agenda, notes, or tasks.
  • Click Send. Everyone will get an invitation with the meeting notes attached.

Related: How to Use a Microsoft Teams Calendar

Agenda

An agenda in meeting notes serves as a structured outline of topics and discussions that will be covered during a meeting. It provides participants with a clear roadmap of what to expect, helping them prepare and engage effectively. An agenda typically includes a list of items to be discussed, each representing a specific subject or goal.

As the meeting progresses, the agenda helps guide the conversation, ensures important matters are addressed, and provides a reference for tracking outcomes and action items.

In collaborative environments, participants can often contribute to, edit, and view the agenda in real-time, fostering collaboration and alignment among team members.

Action items

Action items are what transform a meeting from a simple team chat into a useful and scheduled task. Write down every action point, mention who is responsible for it, and provide its deadline.

Team ideas

Meetings can spark new and creative ideas, especially when you’re working together with different departments simultaneously. Make sure to capture any standout ideas that you can explore further in the future.

Key questions

What significant questions came up during the meeting? Take note of these questions and also jot down any answers that were given. If there are questions without definite answers that need your attention later, make a special note so you remember to include related tasks in your to-do list.

Main decisions

Decisions form the core of your meetings. While specific details might fade away, it’s important to record what was determined, including the next actions and any results that came from it.

Tips for taking meeting notes 

1. During a meeting

Work together during a meeting by setting up an agenda, keeping tabs on crucial information, and generating tasks. Anyone participating in the meeting can contribute to or modify the meeting notes, and updates become visible in real-time as they are made. Delegate agenda points and tasks to particular individuals in the meeting by tagging them.

Related: Start an instant meeting using Microsoft Teams

To insert meeting notes while the meeting is ongoing:

  • Join your Microsoft Teams meeting.
  • Click on the “Notes” option.
  • Incorporate an agenda, notes, or tasks.
  • Only record key meeting items

Furthermore, don’t attempt to record every single word spoken during the meeting. Such a high level of detail is seldom necessary. Striving to document everything can lead to stress and push you into a robotic, uncreative mode of note-taking. Essentially, you’re reducing yourself to a mere typist, neglecting to differentiate between important and trivial information.

By purposefully noting down only the vital elements, you’ll allow yourself to relax and concentrate on ensuring their accuracy.

  • Key meeting items to record
  • Meeting name
  • Purpose of meeting
  • Date and time
  • Team members present
  • Agenda items
  • Key responses to agenda items
  • Questions that were discussed
  • Action items/next steps

2. Turn your notes into engaging resources

Taking notes initially and organizing them in an easy-to-reach spot is important. However, certain notes have the potential for greater impact. Depending on the discussion, your meeting notes might evolve into captivating resources that remain accessible in more memorable and noticeable ways.

For instance, if you’ve recently found a solution to a recurring problem, it’s likely that others within the organization are encountering or will encounter the same challenge. It would be a missed chance to record the solution solely within meeting notes that only attendees and occasional interested parties will view.

3. Identify areas of high importance that require follow ups

A successful meeting typically leads to assigning particular tasks to certain individuals afterward. These tasks are usually of significant importance and often demand further action.

Ideally, you should aim to never conclude a meeting without a definite grasp of:

  • The key priorities.
  • The action items to be taken.
  • The designated individuals for each task.
  • Any anticipated follow-up actions, if applicable.

4. Meeting Summaries

Obtain a more comprehensive breakdown of your meeting through the recap, which grants you access to meeting notes, transcripts, and additional details.

To reach meeting notes in the recap:

  • Navigate to your Microsoft Teams calendar.
  • Pick the previous meeting for which you wish to review notes.
  • Click on “Expand meeting details.”
  • Choose “Recap” followed by “Notes.”

 

Google Workspace

google workspace

Add meeting notes to Google Calendar events

From your computer, you can share meeting notes directly to a Google Calendar event.

Adding Meeting Notes to Google Calendar Events

You can conveniently link meeting notes to Google Calendar events from your computer. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new or existing Google Doc on your computer that you want to associate with an event.
  2. Inside the document, type the “@” symbol.
  3. In the resulting pop-up menu, click on “Meeting notes.”
  4. Search for the event you want to link the notes to.
  5. Pro Tip: Typing “next” helps you quickly select your upcoming meeting from the calendar.
  6. Choose the desired event. Note that meeting notes are pre-filled with event details but aren’t physically attached to the event yet.

Email meeting notes to participants

Sharing Meeting Notes in a Google Doc

Once you’ve added meeting notes to a Google Doc, you can easily send them to all participants by following these steps:

  1. Open the Google Doc containing the meeting notes on your computer.
  2. On the left side of the meeting date and title, click on “Email meeting notes.
  3. In the Gmail pop-up window that appears, you can directly compose and send the email.

Best Practices for Taking Meeting Minutes During the Meeting

1. Date and time of the meeting

Before you begin drafting your meeting minutes, make sure to record the date and time of the meeting. Although this might seem obvious, it’s worth emphasizing because it’s essential for referencing past meetings. Knowing when they took place helps in comprehending what progress has been made and what tasks are still pending.

2. Names of the participants

The subsequent action is to record the names of all attendees and any individuals who couldn’t join the meeting. Typically, at the start of the meeting, there’s a period designated for confirming or revising the previous meeting’s minutes.

This gives you an opportunity to review the list of participants from the last meeting and create a preliminary version of the attendee list. An even more effective approach is to use the calendar invitation to cross-reference names as participants join or enter the meeting space.

3. Purpose of the meeting

It’s necessary to document and clearly present the “why” behind holding this meeting. In this section of the meeting minutes, aim to provide comprehensive details about the purpose of convening this meeting and the specific goals it intends to accomplish.

This level of detail is particularly valuable for individuals who couldn’t participate in the meeting and for those who will rely on the meeting outcomes to inform their decision-making.

4. Agenda items and topics discussed

Utilize your meeting agenda as a basic framework for structuring your meeting notes. Dedicate a section to each agenda item and use it to document notes, including significant decisions or outcomes reached.

Sending out the meeting agenda beforehand is a smart practice. This enables everyone to offer suggestions and contribute to it before the meeting. It also ensures that no one is entering the meeting without a clear understanding of the topics that will be covered.

5. Key decisions and action items

Effective meetings lead to assigning tasks to various participants. As soon as decisions or action items arise, make a point to document them promptly for accuracy.

It’s not feasible to capture every single detail. Instead, focus on recognizing actions related to significant decisions, suggestions, obstacles, or solutions that have been identified.

To prevent these important takeaways from being overlooked, ensure they’re highlighted in the meeting minutes. This could involve using checkboxes, bold text, highlighting, and so on.

Recording the meeting’s action items plays a vital role in holding the team accountable for their responsibilities and providing mutual support to accomplish tasks that contribute to your broader organizational objectives.

6. Next meeting date and place

When drafting formal meeting minutes, remember to indicate the date of the upcoming meeting related to the same project or topic of discussion. This provides attendees with a rough timeline for completing their assigned tasks.

Having a clear idea of the next meeting’s schedule assists in effectively managing your time and prioritizing tasks. Additionally, don’t forget to note the meeting’s location, whether it’s online or in-person.

7. Documents to be included in the report 

The final addition is to attach supplementary documents to your meeting report when sharing the minutes. Consider whether any documents were used or referred to during the meeting that could be beneficial for your team members.

These might encompass an action or issues log, key performance indicators (KPIs), project updates, or modifications.

In addition, it’s common for teams to either record the meeting or generate an automated transcript, particularly for video conferencing sessions like Zoom or Google Meet.

If this applies to your meeting, ensure you include or link these recordings and/or transcripts with the meeting minutes. This simplifies accessibility for your team and proves highly valuable for those who weren’t present during the meeting.

 

Final takeaways 

Mastering effective meeting note-taking is extremely important for all companies. Meetings and discussions fuel successful collaboration, and with the help of meeting notes templates and the right tools, such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, companies and teams can get even more productive.

We hope this article has provided you with insightful tips on how to take meeting minutes effectively. Remember, good meeting notes or minutes should enable you to revisit discussions and key takeaways effortlessly. 

Related articles:

Google Calendar: 12 Hidden Tricks to Improve Your Workflow

Mastering Google Meet: Simplify Video Call with Confidence

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