Meeting Notes Template
Writing meeting notes doesn't have to be a challenge whether you do it for the first time or it's your regular job. Also, it doesn't have to be a burden to the person responsible for it. Ready-to-use templates for meeting notes turn the process into a piece of cake.
They not only provide a consistent structure to record every single detail easily but also serve as a reliable step-to-step guide on how to take notes in a meeting.
The xTiles Meeting Notes Template offers you a simple yet powerful structure to keep a record of your meetings. Additionally, it may become an integrated part of your task-tracking and task management within xTiles so that you and your team have quick access to all the data, all the decisions, all the plans, and tasks.
Effective communication and collaboration are key to successful meetings, and sharing comprehensive meeting notes is a vital component of this process.
To help you manage every meeting notes taking quickly and stress-free, we have compiled some helpful tips and ideas to get you started on effectively preparing meeting notes. Additionally, we provide a meeting notes example that you can use as a reference and a meeting notes template.
Meeting minutes VS Meeting notes
Many people consider meeting minutes tightly inbound with time. The word "minutes" is misleading, making people assume it refers to the time passage, while in reality, it represents a concise report summarizing the discussions and decisions made during a meeting.
It's crucial to recognize that a meeting doesn't conclude when you disconnect from a virtual platform like Zoom or physically leave the conference room. The meeting truly concludes when you distribute the meeting notes.
And it's important to understand, for everyone for whom meetings are part of their regular work routine, that meeting notes often encompass additional contextual information beyond just the summary.
The distinction between meeting minutes and meeting notes lies primarily in their usage. Meeting minutes are commonly associated with a formal and detailed meeting report while meeting notes typically imply a more informal and abbreviated form of documentation.
Choosing the appropriate format depends on the preference of your team. If your meeting involves external participants, opting for a more formal approach with meeting minutes may be advisable. Conversely, if the meeting solely involves your internal team, you might prefer to use more casual meeting notes.
Regardless of whether you refer to them as meeting notes or meeting minutes (the distinction being minor), documenting the discussions held during the meeting is a vital aspect of conducting effective meetings.
Both meeting minutes and meeting notes serve the purpose of capturing the key points and decisions made, ensuring that a record is available for future reference and follow-up actions. By capturing and sharing the information you discuss in your meetings, you ensure that participants have a record of what transpired and facilitate follow-up actions and accountability.
Why will everyone benefit from taking meeting notes?
Have you ever experienced a meeting where no one remembers what was discussed? It leaves you questioning if the meeting even served its purpose. Or have you left the room with an entirely blank mind after an hour of active discussion? Everyone has been there at least once, and thorough meeting notes could have ensured the key points wouldn't be missed.
"Why would I jot down something? I will remember that instead!" is a very tempting thought. If a devil is on one of your shoulders, he probably shouts it to you. However, it's not only you who find yourself unable to recall the very information you intended to remember. Studies have shown that humans, unfortunately, retain a surprisingly small amount of information from meetings, regardless of their attentiveness.
Surely, you may retain 100% of the information discussed in the immediate aftermath of a meeting. You may remember every suggestion or idea in detail. However, after just one day, you will start to slowly forget what has been said at that meeting and who said that. The following day the decline continues as time passes. By the time Monday arrives after a Friday meeting, you will likely have forgotten the majority of what was discussed.
While your memory might fail due to you being tired or distracted, your meeting notes can't do that.
Meeting notes also play a crucial role in ensuring that everyone leaves a meeting knowing how to proceed.
Without proper documentation, each participant might interpret the results differently after a meeting is finished. Such misalignment might lead to confusion and cause people to waste time on unnecessary tasks.
Additionally, by having a documented record of past discussions and decisions, you can easily revisit the agreed-upon process, saving time and effort in rehashing previous conversations when similar issues arise again. That not only promotes consistency but also enhances efficiency in handling recurring matters.
Additionally, meeting notes become a reliable source of information for people who couldn't be present during the meeting. That's how they can stay in alignment with their team easily without asking others what was discussed and what was decided.
In summary, meeting notes facilitate alignment within the team, prevent misunderstandings, and provide a reliable resource for future reference. By capturing the details of your discussions, you establish clarity, foster effective collaboration, and mitigate potential frustrations along the way.
Why is taking and keeping your meeting notes online more effective?
Needless to say that paper notes slowly but steadily become the attribute of the past. However, many teams, companies, and organizations still prefer to stick to traditional methods of documenting their meetings, which only causes many headaches in the long run for everyone involved.
Digital ways of taking and storing your meeting notes are more convenient and effective in several ways:
- Accessibility and collaboration
Storing meeting notes online allows easy access for all participants. They can review the notes anytime, from anywhere, eliminating the need for physical copies or reliance on a single person to distribute them. Online platforms and meeting notes apps also enable real-time collaboration, allowing team members to contribute, edit, and provide input on the notes, fostering better teamwork and accuracy.
- Version Control and history
Online note-taking tools often provide version control, ensuring that you have a record of all edits and updates made to the notes. This feature allows you to track changes, revert to previous versions if needed, and maintain a comprehensive history of the meeting's progress and updates.
- Searchability and organization
Digital meeting notes are typically searchable, making it easier to locate specific discussions, decisions, or action items. For example, xTiles offers organization features such as tags and sub-documents, allowing you to categorize and sort your notes efficiently, making it simpler to retrieve relevant information when needed.
- All-in-one solution
Online note-taking may be a part of your project management software or task-tracking system. xTiles enables the seamless transfer of action items, deadlines, or follow-up tasks, eliminating manual entry and promoting better task management without constant switching between applications.
- Security and backup
Online platforms often provide robust security measures, including encryption and user access controls, ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of your meeting notes. Additionally, cloud-based solutions automatically back up your notes, safeguarding them against loss or accidental deletion.
And last but not least, is that by reducing the utilization of paper, you also reduce the amount of trash your company produces.
How to write effective meeting notes using the xTiles Meeting Notes Template?
Effective meeting notes don't require much effort and knowledge, yet there are a few secrets that will make everything easier.
Achieving effective meeting minutes and notes is mainly based on two key factors:
- Low effort
If taking notes becomes burdensome, the likelihood of maintaining consistent documentation diminishes.
- High comprehension
Similarly, if the notes are difficult to understand and no one uses them after the meetings, their usefulness diminishes as well.
Now that you know two basic principles to keep in mind when working on your meeting notes, let's switch to practice. We combined a quick guide on how you can craft meeting notes so well that everyone on your team will like to read them instead of their bed-reading.
To consistently produce effective meeting notes, follow these steps:
Choose your note taker
At the outset of each meeting, establish the individual responsible for taking comprehensive meeting notes and distributing them to participants. While attendees are welcome to take personal notes if desired, having one designated note-taker ensures the availability of a central source of truth.
In a perfect world, the person who can make comprehensive personal notes should be assigned this responsibility regularly. However, people tend to consider their notes, even those work-related, highly personal stuff and rarely spread them among someone except their work buddies.
Many teams and people see this responsibility as a burden, so they would like to assign it to anyone. However, it's important not to assign the task of taking notes to newcomers as they might not understand all the subtleties of your inner communication. And, since everyone tends to forget, especially when they don't have to remember something because they rely on meeting notes, the outcome of your meeting might be misleading or even harmful to your team and workflow.
That's why, if your team is intended to have good meeting notes at all times, you may try assigning different people for each meeting and, after some time, compare the results and find the chosen one.
The designated note taker should take the responsibility of clarifying any uncertainties that arise during the meeting. If conflicting points are expressed, the note-taker should seek clarification and document accurate information.
Sometimes, you can see that something is left undiscussed or unsolved only after a meeting. It's easy to miss something in a stream of discussions and conversations, especially if you're actively participating too. In this case, you will need to check or even double-check what is the last decision regarding those questions with your teammates during the meeting or afterward.
By assigning a dedicated note-taker and ensuring their active involvement in capturing accurate and clear information, you can streamline the note-taking process and enhance the usefulness of the documented meeting notes. This approach minimizes effort and maximizes comprehension, ultimately benefiting the entire team in the long run.
Use your meeting agenda as a base for your meeting notes
Every meeting should have an agenda, and this document can serve as a valuable guide for capturing essential information. Taking notes without a structure usually leads to a disorganized and confusing outcome for everyone. By aligning your notes with the agenda items, you create a logical flow and make it easier to comprehend the discussions after the meeting has concluded.
For each agenda item, provide a concise summary of the points discussed and outline the next steps related to that specific topic. This approach ensures that your notes reflect the key takeaways and action items associated with each agenda item.
Remember, a well-crafted meeting agenda serves as the groundwork for effective meeting notes. By using both, you establish a strong framework that enhances the overall productivity and outcomes of your meetings.
Effective meeting outcomes depend on the execution of action items
Assigning and clarifying the next steps during a meeting is crucial to ensure follow-through and progress. While summarizing the discussion is valuable, without clearly defined action items, the outcome can be limited.
Meeting notes play a vital role in documenting and communicating these action items. They provide a record of the agreed-upon tasks and keep the team aligned on the necessary actions to be taken after the meeting concludes.
When documenting action items in your meeting notes, it's essential to include specific details, such as the responsible person or team assigned to each task and the deadline for completion. By specifying clear parameters, you minimize ambiguity and ensure accountability.
The xTiles allows you to assign the needed person for a specific task quickly. The assignee will get a notification.
The more clarity and specificity you incorporate into your meeting notes regarding action items, the better. This level of detail promotes a shared understanding among team members and facilitates effective task execution once the meeting adjourns.
Remember, meeting notes serve as a valuable reference for the team to review their responsibilities and progress toward the desired outcomes. By documenting action items in a clear and comprehensive manner, you enhance productivity and increase the likelihood of successful follow-through.
Maintain structure in your meeting notes
Keeping a structure in your meeting notes is crucial, even if the meeting itself lacks organization. Consistency ensures that your notes will be helpful to anyone months after the meeting.
An established structure for your notes guarantees clarity and coherence in capturing the meeting's key points. The xTiles Meeting Notes Template helps to stick to the predefined structure without missing important details.
Here are some steps to help you add even more structure to your meeting notes:
- Start with the subject of your meeting. You may add a link to your agenda or copy the document on the next page to have everything handy during the meeting.
- Add attendees. You may make a numbered list of names or positions of people involved in the meeting, and in the process, use just the appropriate number to save time.
- Summarize discussions. Focus on capturing the main points, decisions made, and any relevant insights or conclusions reached. Be concise but comprehensive in your summaries.
- Note important points and insights that help understand the decisions taken during the meeting. That section of meeting notes is sometimes referred to as the "parking lot." It serves as a designated space to capture any ideas, tangents, or additional topics that may arise during the meeting but are not directly related to the agenda items. It allows you to acknowledge these points without disrupting the flow of the main discussion. You can revisit and address these items later, ensuring they are not forgotten.
- Also, you may add everything that needs further analysis or clarification during another meeting. That will help prepare an agenda for the next time or give the team something to think about till they meet next time.
- Outline the next steps and action items. Clearly specify the tasks and assign responsible individualsю. You may even set deadlines for each action item. That ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and can track progress effectively.
- If there were some additional materials you were discussing, or you need everyone to take a look at them after the meeting, add them too to the relevant section. Since the xTiles Meeting Notes Template is flexible and highly customizable, you may add as many new sections as you want if the specifications of your team organization require that.
By incorporating this structured approach to taking your meeting notes, you create a clear and organized record of the meeting's proceedings. It facilitates comprehension, aids in tracking action items, and ensures that important ideas or tangents are captured for future consideration.
Share your meeting notes
The final step in optimizing your meeting notes is the crucial task of sharing them with all attendees. While one person is responsible for taking notes, it's essential that everyone involved has access to the information discussed and the action items determined. The goal is to ensure alignment and clarity among team members.
By utilizing collaborative tools like xTiles, you can streamline the process of taking notes and automatically share them with all participants once the meeting concludes. This collaborative approach promotes transparency and accountability within the team. Attendees can easily review the meeting notes, refer back to important discussions, and stay informed about the next steps and action items.