4 Simple Strategies To Capture Meeting Notes

WARNING: Today’s post offers some simple strategies to make your meeting life better.  These tips aren’t going to blow your mind, but I know some folks are asking these questions, so I’m going to offer some answers …



Make the most of meeting notes!

I go a lot of meetings.  I’m sure you do, too.

Of course, many strategies for taking meeting notes exist. Some of them are pretty involved.

I’ve tried lots of them, but settled on one very simple process with 4 easy steps. These strategies have simplified my meeting-full life and the follow-up required after each one.

And, they do everything I need to help me stay alert during the meeting, identify action items, and easily transfer my to-do list to my task manager.

Here are my 4 simple steps (see the picture of a recent agenda for examples): 

1. In the upper right-hand corner of the printed agenda, I write “To Do.”

2. As the meeting proceeds, I take note of action items in one of two ways.

    • If the printed agenda has an item that needs my attention, I simply draw a STAR next to it.
    • If the agenda does not (or I need to jot down more notes to explain what I need to do), I make a note of it in a bullet-form list under the “To Do” heading.

3. Once I return to my desk, I review the agenda, starting with the items on the To Do list and then moving through the starred items.

    • I follow David Allen’s great advice: if the action item takes me 2 minutes or less, I do it right then.  If it takes more than 2 minutes, I add it to my task list (currently, I use Producteev).
    • If I’ve attended several meetings in one day, I try to attend to meeting notes from all of them at once.

4. I 3-hole punch the agenda and ANY supporting documents, like hand-outs, proposals, etc. (unless I specifically need them to complete my action items) and put them in my “Meetings” binder.  I put all agendas (and supporting documents) from all meetings into the one binder (organized by date), and put it away.  Usually I can get six months to one year in each binder.

The after-meeting process normally takes 10-15 minutes.  When I’m done, I’ve either completed or captured in my task manager every action item, I know exactly where my meeting notes are in case I need to reference them in the future, and my desk is clear of any clutter.

These simple strategies make me much more productive and efficient, and help me manage the constant stream of information and task items in meetings.

Reflection Moment:

What are your techniques and tips for taking meeting notes?

meeting agenda

P.S. My new ebook BURST is now available on Amazon Kindle and Apple Bookstore. Of course, it’s also available for free when you sign up for email updates. But, if you don’t want to give that to me, you can buy it now and read it on your Kindle (or Kindle app on other devices).

If you’ve read it, I’d be honored if you’d go to Amazon or Apple Bookstore and leave a brief review of the ebook there and let others know about it via TwitterFacebook, or by forwarding this email.


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  1. […] to staying organized in your meetings.  Use agendas, take solid meeting notes, and don’t […]

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