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Meetings and Notes: Why Good Note Taking Matters

Taking good notes is an often overlooked task. You have to actively listen, process what the speaker is saying, and condense it all into a few sentences. It can be hard to keep track of everything that's said, especially when you're trying to focus on the speaker instead of your laptop screen. Learn more about strategies for good note taking to ensure you get the best outcomes from your next meeting.

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By Elliot
August 10th, 2021

You should never underestimate the importance of taking good notes. Good notes can help you keep things straight, and they can help you remember key details and decisions that are made during meetings. They're also an effective way to communicate what transpired in a meeting to your broader team (or just yourself) later on.

What happens if you don't take any notes? If you don't take notes, or if you can't find them, you'll be forced to rely on your memory. You could email everyone the day after the meeting to see if they took notes. But this can be time-consuming and difficult, especially if you're relying on other people to send you their notes. You could also try asking everyone to email you back with their notes after the meeting. But that can be annoying for everyone involved, and it also means you'll be limited to what you can do with the notes there's no way to search through them for specific terms, for example.

Notes vs. Transcripts

Before we talk about good note-taking strategies, it's important to understand the difference between "notes" and "transcripts." The word "notes" is a broad term that covers both good and bad note-taking strategies. Notes don't have to be a written document. They can also be drawn or dictated notes. If you use a digital pen and tablet, your handwriting is transcribed into digital text in real-time. If you prefer drawing, you can draw your notes directly on the screen of your tablet with a stylus, and your handwritten notes will be converted into digital text.

Transcripts are an exact, verbatim copy of everything that was said in a meeting. They are created by a machine-or a person-during the meeting. Transcriptions are often created when a meeting is recorded. In order to create an accurate transcript, the transcriptionist will likely listen to the audio file multiple times. This allows them to ensure that they have captured all relevant information-and they can correct any errors in their initial transcription.

Notes are generally shorter than transcripts because they're not verbatim and do not capture every single word and detail expressed in the meeting. But good notes can be very valuable as part of your meeting record and knowledge base.

What Are The Benefits of Good Note Taking?

The benefits of taking good notes are many. Good notes can help you remember key details from meetings. They're also an effective way to communicate what transpired in a meeting to your broader team (or just yourself) later on. They can also help you learn from past meetings if you review them regularly.

Good notes will help you look more professional and be more prepared for the next meeting that you attend. They will make it easier for you to remember what's important about a meeting-and they'll help jog your memory during subsequent interactions.

How to Take Good Notes at Your Next Meeting

There are several steps you can take to help you take good notes at your next meeting:

Step #1: Focus on listening to the speaker

When you take notes, focus on listening carefully to the speaker. Resist the urge to do anything else, especially if you're using a computer.

Step #2: Write down what's important-not everything that is said

Write down what's important. You don't need to record every single word and detail that's said in the meeting. Instead, focus on capturing the high-level concepts and decisions.

Step #3: Don't be afraid to ask for clarity

Ask for clarification if you're not sure about something. This might help you clarify your notes and make them more accurate.

Step #4: Clean up your notes after the meeting is over

Try to wait until after the meeting has finished to clean up your notes. If you're using an app or web tool to take notes, this can be automated so that you don't even have to type in anything yourself. (You'll still have to review and edit your notes, of course.)

What to Expect From Good Meeting Notes

When you take notes at your next meeting, remember that they're only a snapshot of what was said. They're not a transcript, and they're not the meeting itself. They'll help you remember what was discussed, and when combined with other resources such as call recordings or summarized meeting minutes and action items, can prove extremely useful in ensuring proper knowledge capture.

This is where Hyperia's automatic call recording, machine transcription, and summarization can make the difference. Using technology to capture and transcribe your meeting can help you create searchable notes in a matter of minutes. And this can help generate insights on key decisions or outcomes.

The Benefits of Using AI and Human Note-taking Together

When you combine human note-taking with machine transcription, summarization, and insights extraction, you can reap the benefits of both. For example, if you use an AI call and meeting capture solution to capture the bulk of what happened in a meeting, you can take notes more sparingly, focusing on higher-level ideas and concepts.

AI meeting capture can help you automate your note-taking process so that you don't have to do much manual work. You can configure these systems to automatically join meetings on your calendar, based on your personal privacy settings. Best of breed solutions can also summarize and extract key insights from recordings so that you have an accurate record of what was said in the meeting, even if you took very limited notes.

How to Review Your Notes for Insights

After a meeting has finished, you may want to review your notes to look for new insights. This is where you'll get the most benefit from combining human note-taking with machine transcription. If you've recorded and transcribed your meeting, you can review automatically generated meeting summaries and search for specific topics, keywords, and outcomes.

Here are some of the ways you can review your meetings in today's AI call and meeting capture solutions:

1. Look at the key decisions

You can search for key events such as "decisions," "outcomes," "action items," etc. This will show you any decision that was made during the meeting. You can then explore this decision further to see what it involved.

2. Read AI-generated meeting minutes

Automatically generated meeting minutes will provide you with a summary of what happened in the meeting. They'll include key decisions or outcomes that were discussed, and they'll be organized in a way that makes it easy for you to see where each topic fits in the context of the meeting.

3. Skip through the recording

If you recorded your meeting and want to review it, you can use audio/video playback to skip through the recording quickly. You can use the meeting timeline view to go back and forth in the recording, or you can search for keywords, topics, outcomes, or specific speakers in the recording to jump to the right part of the meeting.

Final Thoughts

Taking good notes is an often-overlooked task. You have to actively listen, process what the speaker is saying, and condense it all into a few sentences. It can be hard to keep track of everything that's said, especially when you're trying to focus on the speaker instead of your computer screen.

You should never underestimate the importance of taking good notes. They can help you keep things straight, and they can help you remember key details and decisions. The next time you take notes in a meeting, consider using an AI meeting capture solution such as Hyperia to streamline the process.

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