Our checklist for note-taking to level up your meeting summaries

Great meeting summaries rely on great meeting notes being taken during the meeting; how can we ensure we capture the information we need to produce these?

We identified why we need meeting summaries here, and in this post we’ll get into the nitty gritty of how to take these great notes. Whether you’re taking notes just for your own future reference, or whether you’re taking notes on behalf of all attendees which will be distributed to all post-meeting, note-taking is a skill to be refined.

Why do we need notes? 

From technical issues such as people’s WiFi dropping out, to the dreaded catchphrase ‘you’re on mute!’, meetings currently are looking very different. Additionally, the days of a designated note-taker are somewhat behind us, so we think it’s important - now more than ever - that everyone within a team knows how to take effective notes in order to produce effective meeting summaries and ensure that meetings remain a worthwhile use of everyone’s time.

Our checklist for what to include when note-taking

When taking notes with a view to creating a meeting summary, it’s useful to have in mind an idea of what the summary needs to include. This enables you to guide and focus your notes accordingly. Some companies may have specific individual requirements, but the following list gives you best practice  for meeting summaries.:

  • Who was present at the meeting
  • When and where the meeting was held
  • The purpose of the meeting  
  • Details of each agenda item discussed (if there is an agenda set)
  • Details of any actions taken or agreed to be taken
  • Necessary next steps
  • The name of person/people responsible for actioning next steps 
  • Expected timeframes for task completion
  • Any new business 
  • Agreed time, date and expectations of next meeting

Our five extra tips for note-taking for meeting summaries

If you’re writing notes with a view to producing a meeting summary that will be shared with various other members of your company, it’s a good idea to take the following points into consideration. 

  1. Consider your audience

It won’t just be you that needs to make sense of your summary; keep in mind the language that you’re using and ensure you are clearly communicating the points you’re making. The meeting summary needs to inform colleagues who weren’t in the meeting, to the same level as they would have been if they had attended. 

  1. Remain objective

It’s not up to you to determine whether or not to include a piece of information in a meeting summary. Just because it might not impact you or your job specifically, doesn’t mean it won’t provide vital insights for someone else. Following an objective template like the one above will ensure you capture all relevant details. 

  1. Make it easy to share

Its personal preference whether to capture your notes digitally or by hand, but just ensure that when you’ve produced the final summary that it’s shared in a place where all relevant members of your company can access it. It might be a Google Doc, a board on Trello, or a shared company drive; you know what will work best for your company, so keep that in mind. 

  1. Keep it concise

Remember this summary could be referred back to in years to come. So when summarising, try and stick to detailing only the key takeaways that are vital to understanding. 

  1. Summarise soon after the meeting 

It’s wise to summarise your notes as soon as you can after the meeting has finished. That way it’s fresh in your memory and you have a better chance of remembering full context and details surrounding your notes. 

Ensure that the summary and notes are stored somewhere internally as a shared record that everyone can access; tools such as Notion can be a useful place to keep track of meetings and notes.

Using an AI-based note taker

While we think everyone should be empowered to take great meeting notes, we are also great believers in calling upon technology to complete some of life’s more mundane tasks. The practice of note-taking during meetings is the sort of activity that an AI (artificial intelligence) assistant could complete for us, freeing up time for us to delve into more complex tasks. 

AI-based note takers can be seamlessly integrated into your online meeting, allowing them to record the discussions at hand. This means that post-meeting everyone automatically has a record of what was said and agreed upon. Full meeting transcriptions provide a detailed debrief of a meeting’s conversations, and provide a useful reference point should anything need to be clarified or re-visited.

The use of AI-based note takers within meetings is rapidly rising, and has largely been accelerated in line with the increasing numbers of meetings being held virtually. They are also continually being developed in a bid to become more and more intelligent. In time we expect they will have an even larger role to play within the world of note-taking and improving meeting productivity, allowing human intelligence to be preserved for tasks that only we can do. 

The takeaways

We hope this post helps power-up your note-taking skills and enables you to great brilliant meeting summaries. As a team we are passionate about increasing meeting productivity and believe that taking notes and summarising meetings is an effective way of doing this. We also believe that incorporating AI technology within online meetings will even further enhance meeting efficiency, and this is something we’ll be looking at in more detail in our next post.

We’re looking forward to sharing more details with you soon about what role Eric.ai can play within your online meetings, so keep an eye on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for updates on Eric.ai’s offerings and release dates. Don’t forget you can still get early access to Eric.ai by signing up on our homepage.

Team Eric.ai