How to take minutes during an online meeting

3 min read
March 4, 2021

During virtual meetings, there can be a lot of discussion, with a lot of important ideas brought up. With that amount of information, it’s crucial to take notes so that nothing vital passed unnoticed. Meetings can be recorded, and they often are, but it’s not the same as taking notes.
When you have an entire recording of a meeting, it’s very hard and time-consuming to distinguish relevant from irrelevant. Minutes (or notes) serve as a sifter, keeping only what’s really important about a particular meeting. 

Table of Contents 

  1. Prepare well for the meeting
  2. Interrupt when it’s necessary
  3. Make use of templates
  4. Take advice and feedback from the chairperson
  5. Leveraging digital tools for online meetings

1. Prepare well for the meeting

Preparation is essential for effective note-taking. It will be virtually impossible to follow agenda items well without prior knowledge of what the meeting is about.

The person in charge of taking notes should read all the relevant documents and materials pertaining to the agenda.

Also, he/she should know who the attendees are:

  • What their role is within the company
  • Why they are attending the meeting
  • What is their expertise and responsibility is
  • etc.

All of this will prove vital once the meeting takes place.

The person taking notes should also be good at recognizing different speech patterns (even accents if it’s an international team). This will help them understand the attendees perfectly, without losing any crucial information “under the radar”.

2. Interrupt when it’s necessary

Online meetings are live events and, like any other live event, they can have unexpected moments. This is why it’s important to be prepared for them and to know what to do when they come up.

Therefore, the person taking notes shouldn’t be just a passive observer, but an active participant. In case something is inaudible, or they think they didn’t hear or understand something well, they are allowed to interrupt an attendee.

Also, they should interrupt when they think something requires further clarification for other participants. Usually, the meeting chairperson does this, but the person taking notes should also be allowed to act as an “assistant” to the chairperson in this respect.

3. Make use of templates

Not everything that is spoken and discussed during an online meeting is of equal importance. That is why meeting minutes should be organized according to their priority. Also, in order to be used easily afterwards, notes should be gathered in a logical, intuitive way. The easiest way to do this is by using meeting templates.

There are many resources for meeting templates online (i.e. here's a template for Evernote); the person taking notes should consider several of these and choose the one that is most suitable for their meeting agenda.

4. Take advice and feedback from the chairperson

The person taking notes should communicate with the chairperson before, as well as after the online meeting. Discussing the meeting before is a part of the preparation, where the chairperson can give guidelines and point out crucial aspects of the meeting agenda. The two can go through the meeting templates, discussing the meeting by each bullet point.

However, even more important is their feedback after the meeting. This way, the person taking notes will know exactly what to pay attention to in future meetings.

Needless to say, the chairperson should have absolute trust in the one taking notes. This is important for both. The chairperson will be more relaxed and focused on the meeting, and the person taking notes will be ready to handle the meeting with confidence.

Leveraging digital tools for online meetings

The key to maximising productivity during online meetings is to leverage the right digital tools. Digital Samba, a GDPR-compliant video conferencing API and SDK provider offers a top-tier solution that is ideal for conducting smooth and secure virtual meetings. As an EU-hosted provider, it brings to the table not only world-class digital communication capabilities but also the assurance of robust data privacy.

Our video conferencing solutions are designed to be embedded into software products or websites, allowing businesses to integrate high-quality, end-to-end encrypted video conferencing into their existing digital environment. This ensures seamless communication, fostering improved engagement and collaboration during meetings.

In the context of note-taking, Digital Samba’s API and SDK offer features such as screen sharing and recording capabilities. These can be invaluable for the person in charge of taking notes, providing them with a clear and real-time view of any shared materials or crucial discussions that take place during the meeting. Additionally, the ability to revisit recordings can aid in ensuring no critical point goes undocumented.

In a world where digital transformation is becoming the norm, embedding such video conferencing capabilities into your software or website can greatly enhance your productivity during online meetings. Furthermore, by leveraging a Digital Samba, businesses can provide these features under their own branding, reinforcing trust and continuity with their clients or team members.

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Photo by Jacob Lund from Noun Project

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