Good meeting notes are crucial for maximizing the impact of any meeting. However, many team leaders struggle with getting good notes from a meeting—to the point where many simply decide to record their meetings and play back the audio (which is slow) or have a transcription service create their meeting notes for them (which can be expensive and takes a long time to complete).
Knowing how to take meeting notes that are valuable to the whole team is important for maximizing the impact of team meetings—and a crucial meeting management skill in general. Why are meeting notes so important? What meeting notes format should you use? And, what other best practices for meetings should you keep in mind?
Uses for Meeting Notes
Meeting notes/minutes are a crucial tool for teams because they can be used to:
- Capture Helpful Ideas.
Team meetings are a great opportunity for team members to share their ideas and insights. Well-made meeting notes help capture these ideas so they can be given the attention they deserve. This helps to demonstrate that employee input is both heard and taken into account—which can increase trust and employee engagement.
- Increase Alignment with Meeting Initiatives.
If a team meeting is held, but nobody remembers the action items from it, does the meeting really matter? Taking good meeting notes and ensuring that employees have access to them can help increase alignment with meeting initiatives—largely because this helps ensure that employees remember the action items from the meeting.
- Keep Absent Employees Updated.
Not every employee can attend every meeting. Some employees might have other appointments, be in the middle of traveling for work, or may be sick on the day of the meeting. Detailed meeting notes help keep these employees apprised of important takeaways from the meetings they missed. This, in turn, helps them stay on the same page as their colleagues who were able to attend.
- Record Agreements Reached During the Meeting.
If anything was put to a vote or a consensus was reached on a particular topic, recorded meeting minutes can help ensure that the results are preserved (and even who voted in favor of a particular item). This can help improve acceptance of vote results and make it easier to recognize who contributed to team decisions.
These are just a few of the basic uses for meeting notes. However, to get the full benefits of taking meeting minutes, it’s important to know how to take notes. Here, using a meeting notes template can be helpful.
Example Meeting Notes Template
Having a template ready for taking meeting notes can help you better organize your notes and ensure that you capture the most important information. Here’s an example of a meeting notes template that you could apply to your own team meeting minutes (or adapt to better suit your specific meeting management style):
Why is this meeting being held? What are the key goals of the meeting? Define objectives below:
Who is attending the meeting? What are their roles? Add list below:
Highlight the list of topics below. Adding timestamps can help keep the meeting moving along:
Are stakeholders sharing ideas? If so, record them below:
Prioritization of Issues
Which issues/meeting items are the most important? Establish a priority order below so the most important issues can be handled first:
What is the measure of success for this meeting/project/product? Establish your success criteria below:
Key Resource List
What resources should be used by employees following this meeting? Create a list (with appropriate links or file names) below:
Post-Meeting Action Items
What actions should employees take following the meeting? Who is responsible for each action item? Establish a list of action items and responsibilities below:
What were the key takeaways from the meeting? Summarize important notes and takeaways below:
Follow Up Schedule
After the meeting, it may be helpful to schedule follow-ups with various team members to check progress and make adjustments. Create a list of follow up meetings below:
Note: You may want to add or remove some sections to this meeting notes template based on the nature of the meeting or the specific needs of your team.
There are many more things you can do to make your meetings more meaningful. Need more help increasing the impact of your team meetings? Reach out to the adam.ai team to learn more.