If you are taking notes, it's vitally important that you learn to filter out the 'noise' that seems to generate in every meeting. Invariably, there always seems to be a person that just likes to hear the sound of their voice as they trumpet off nonsense that is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.
You will also have people in the meeting that feel pressured to participate in the discussion even though they don't have any meaningful content to provide. This makes the job of the note taker particularly difficult. To determine which statements are simply noise, review the meeting agenda and consider the overall goal of the call.
If any statements are made that are outside of the scope or goal of the call, they should probably be disregarded.
Note takers are not machines and they will undoubtedly miss a few things. By recording the conversation you will give yourself an opportunity to rewind time and listen to the meeting again. This way, you can be sure you didn't miss anything.
If you write notes on paper you run the risk of either losing the notes entirely or not being able to read them when you are done. When we write fast, our handwriting tends to suffer. And as a result, our writing may be barely legible when we're finished.
In addition, should you need to share the notes or upload them into your CRM, you will have to type them all over again anyway!
Before the meeting starts, create an outline for yourself. If you have the meeting agenda, use that to create headings and a list of the participants. Take this time to write any prior knowledge you have about the subject matter.
This frees up your time during the meeting to focus on capturing key points of discussion.
Its vital that you know every participant on the call. The meeting agenda is a great place to look for this but if one is not available, you may need to ask during the call. This is important if you need to follow up with someone for clarification on a statement they made.
Don't be afraid to politely interject and ask someone what they meant by a statement or to repeat themselves. You can calmly and politely state "Pardon the interruption, but would you mind repeating that last statement about the Q4 earnings?". Most people will oblige without too much protest.
Headphones, especially those with noise cancellation technology, help you focus on the words being spoken during the meeting. Beats headphones are a great option for this but a bit on the pricey side. Also, only do this if you don't need to listen out for children or a delivery.
The only things that can multitask successfully are machines. Humans, at least most of us, are not wired in a way that allows us to focus on more than one thing at once. You may think you are multitasking but in reality, you are simply doing multiple things sequentially at sub-optimal levels.
As tempting as it may be, don't answer emails, instant messages, or take phone calls when you are supposed to be taking notes.
Posted by: Matt Irving on 6/20/2022