What are meeting notes?
Definition: Meeting notes are an informal report of key takeaways from the team meeting. The aim of taking meeting notes is to have a summarized, easy-to-go-through record of important ideas and facts mentioned during the meeting.
Meeting notes vs. meeting minutes
Meeting notes are usually informal, shorthand key takeaways from a meeting written down by any team member. Meeting minutes are a more formal summary of the whole meeting, with details such as an absentee list.
The team can use meeting notes to refer to the topics they discussed, while the court considers minutes a legal document written by an official minute taker or notetaker.
The team member writing the meeting notes should write only the most essential ideas/decisions/ and questions that came up in the meeting, not all of it. While minutes must cover everything from the beginning to the end of the meeting, with all details included.
After the meeting, the meeting notes should be cut down into key points so all team members can skim through them when needed. Meeting minutes should cover everything, so details and further explanations don’t need to be added after the meeting.
For meeting notes, there is no need for anyone's permission. Any team member can take notes and share them with the rest of the team.
For meeting minutes to be official, the notetaker needs the superintendent's approval that the notes are accurate and credible.
In informal meetings, only the internal team is present, and both the present and absent team members can access the meeting notes later.
External participants may be present in more official meetings, and they will get the official meeting minutes they can refer to.
Benefits of taking meeting notes
Hermann Eddinghaus did a study regarding the brain’s ability to obtain and retain new information.
The graph below, called “ the curve of forgetting,” presents how as time passes, we rapidly forget new information. Note-taking solves this problem because it is a fast and effective way to jog our memory.
Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve and review cycle.
Being present fully
With meeting notes, the team members can relax and participate in the conversation fully without stressing over remembering all the details.
The goal is for all the members to participate fully during the meeting and have something to refer to later if they need additional explanations or don’t remember who said what.
Documenting important information
Writing down meeting notes is one of the best ways to document important information. Things can easily escalate during a meeting, and many ideas can clash, so recording key points can help team members follow up.
Informing absent members
Creating meeting notes and sending them to absent members of the team is an effective strategy for inclusion. After reading well-organized notes with the most important conclusions can help absent team members keep up and prepare for the future.
How to take meeting notes?
Before the meeting, the team should decide on one person in charge of meeting notes.
The team member should make a template that helps them break down a meeting into the most important sections and organize them for further use.
The team member should know the agenda, participants, and potential topics before the meeting to better prepare the template.
During the meeting, the team member taking notes should focus on the main ideas, decisions, and problems mentioned.
The goal of this particular team member is to complete their template with key information in a manner that is the easiest for them to comprehend later.
After the meeting, the team member organizes the meeting notes and shares them with team members, so they can refer to them later on.
Key items to include in meeting notes
Time, date, and participants
The basic information regarding the time, date, and participants will be useful when you need to refer to a particular meeting after some time has passed.
Decisions, questions, ideas
The next steps and future actions are the first thing you should include in meeting notes because it’s the most effective way to let every team member know what needs to happen in the near future.
Questions and ideas are important because they can potentially lead to new discussions, agendas, and meetings.
How to take meeting notes in Mindmesh?
The easiest way to take meeting notes in Mindmesh is to click on the meeting in the calendar section in Mindmesh and click on “ + New resource.”
Once you take meeting notes, you can access them easily by clicking on the desired meeting and then “ resources.”
An example of meeting notes in Mindmesh.
What to do with meeting notes after the meeting?
The person writing down meeting notes needs to organize, store and deliver them to all team members so they can always go back to the main decisions and ideas presented in the meeting.