"I spend most of my work-life in meetings. Note-taking is a survival skill. Yet, I am surprised at how few people bother to take notes in meetings. Those who do sometimes express frustration at how ineffective the exercise seems to be. In this post, I’d like to expound on why I think you should take notes in meetings and then offer a few suggestions on how to do it better.
1. Note-taking enables you to stay engaged. The real benefit is not what happens after the meeting but during the meeting itself. If I don’t take notes, my mind wanders. I daydream. As they say, “the lights are on, but no one is home.” However, when I take notes, I find that I stay more alert, focused, and actively involved. My contribution to the meeting is thus more likely to add value to the topic under discussion. This is why I take notes even if someone is officially taking minutes.
2. Note-taking provides a mechanism for capturing your ideas, questions, and commitments. Not everything can be resolved in the meeting. Some ideas require incubation. Questions require further research. Commitments require follow-up that cannot be done until after the meeting. Regardless, note-taking provides a way to capture the content of the meeting, so that I can processes it after the meeting…"