Many of us can relate to starting a new role and finding ourselves in various meetings, struggling to keep up with the background story, learning new acronyms, figuring out those in the room and asking why yourself why are you even there.
This doesn’t even include the horror of seeing various formats of the corporate brand in use, presenters reading every word from their slides or why someone thought it was a good idea to fit a whole excel sheet onto a single slide!
As an #ICnewbie it’s vital to get yourself out into the business, meet your stakeholders and attending meetings about projects and business operations. These are also a great platform for you to observe the behaviour of management, understand current challenges and an opportunity for you to have a voice.
A question that I’ve often asked myself is ‘how do I know what to capture during a meeting in case it’s important and I forget?. Don’t spend the whole meeting writing everything as I did at first otherwise you won’t be listening to what is happening in the room.
To help stay focused and save time, I stick with the following principles when taking notes:
- Key messages – What are the main points you want to remember as useful context to share with your team, the business or for reference.
- Internal comms actions – Specific points that they have assigned you, including the individuals you must speak with.
- Content ideas – Comments that might be worth following up on at a later date as content ideas.
- Observations – Notes to yourself such as people who have gone off-brand or side thoughts that might pop up that you don’t want to forget.
- Value – Ask yourself if you added anything to the meeting or if it was worth your time attending?
Another one to watch out for is getting caught taking minutes. No one really enjoys taking them and I’m sure someone will suggest that as a communicator, you’re the best person for the job but politely say no! Suggest that if there is no secretary rotate the duty between all the attendees.
More useful tips for taking notes in meetings I found useful were in an article by Finances Online. I don’t feel there is a need for learning shorthand though, but just make sure you can read your own notes!
I appreciate everyone has their own ways of working so if you’ve got any suggestions or examples on how to take valuable meeting notes please share them.