Anyone can download a free version of QuickTime Player, select “New Screen Recording,” and tap “Record.” Recording meetings has become more common with the advent of technology, so is it still worth it to capture meeting notes, or has this become an antiquated tool?
You Create Documentation
It’s a tale as old as time- meeting notes provide documentation to reference later. Write now, reference later. Managing a project can take up an extraordinary amount of space in your brain so it is natural to forget the small details. With meeting notes, you have a metaphoric trail of breadcrumbs to backtrack and reference who said what, when, and how the group arrived to a decision. More importantly, you have a reference of what was approved when and by who.
You Set Expectations in Real-Time
One of my managers gave me the tip of a lifetime- screenshare your meeting notes as you type them in real-time within the meeting. Yes, people will read what you are writing. Yes, there will be giggles and oopsy doopsies when you misspell a word in front of everyone. You’re human. That’s okay. Yes, you will be interrupted and THAT IS A GOOD THING. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. More often than not, you may get interrupted to rewrite a statement you jotted down for clarification. This may spur a discussion amongst the group because everyone had a different set of expectations. The note taker may hear “Why don’t we aim to launch by mid-February?” and write down “Launch date – by February 15th.” The client interrupts, “Well, I was hoping closer to February 8th…” A clear and specific expectation is set, spoken, and documented. Epic win for project managers.
You’re More Likely to Remember What Happened
The unspoken secret to the project management sauce is being detail-oriented. What does that mean (outside of a bullet point on a job description)? It means when the client asks the group who approved the email language 5 months ago, it helps to be the go-to person who can answer that on the spot. Research says you are more likely to remember something if you write it down. You live to manage the details, so why not make an effort to remember them while you’re at it?
Delegate and Conquer
At one of my past jobs in practicing Fire Drill Evacuation, the instructor told our designated Escape Plan Leader to assign a task to each person. She had to firmly state their name aloud with their assigned objective as she was pointing at them. He made her practice in front of the 200+ employees on the floor. “MARY- YOU CALL 911. PHYLLIS- YOU DO A HEADCOUNT. RHODA- YOU HOLD THE STAIRWELL DOOR OPEN.” Meeting notes work similarly. At the end of your notes, write down the name of the person and the task they are assigned. For example, “JOE- EXPORT CDO REPORT & SHARE WITH LOU.” People are more likely to take action if they are visibly assigned it in front of an entire group. Otherwise, you risk leaving room for kryptonite – the “A” word. Assumptions.
… but It’s Labor-Intensive
It doesn’t have to be! Meeting notes are YOUR notes. This isn’t a thesis for an MFA in Non-Fiction. These are notes of a meeting. They can be as brief as you want them to be- just be sure to get the major points down. Make sure they serve as a useful tool that you can USE.
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