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Ever heard of the concept of taking minutes in the meeting? The idea is that one person acts as a scribe and summarizes comments and points covered in the meeting. To some this may seem like an outdated or unnecessary concept, yet I've found that this can be a very effective tool to make sure that everyone is on the same page, both during and after the meeting. First, you'll want to designate someone as the note taker. You can rotate this responsibility; however, I've found that there are some people best suited for this.
These individuals usually have a high attention to detail, and they're very fast note takers. However, you decide to do it, I'd recommend that the meeting leader chooses one person to be the note taker for each meeting. Next, to make the task simple for that note taker, we've provided an outline of how to take notes. Use this outline as is or adapt to your situation. At the top of the form you'll find places to indicate the leader, the note taker, and the date and time of the meeting.
When it comes to the note taking itself, I recommend that the note taker focuses notes on actions rather than trying to cover each word a person says. Listen for and take notes about doing, changing, and making things happen, both inside and outside the group. For example, when summarizing the development portion of the meeting, you might write one sentence about what the development was and then add one or two bullet points about actions that you can take as a result.
When taking notes, make bullet points of the commitments people make. For instance, if during the meeting I commit to Bonnie that I'm going to deliver a document to her next Tuesday, then make a note "Dave will deliver the document to Bonnie by next Tuesday." You'll use these notes in two ways. At the end of the meeting you'll summarize the notes to help with making sure that each person knows their commitments from the meeting. Then after the meeting the note taker can send an email with the notes to everyone who was in attendance, or even was absent. That way everyone has a chance to review again what was covered, and if anyone missed the meeting, they can also feel like they caught the key points of what was discussed.
Keep note taking as simple as possible. The end result we want is to help people follow through on their commitments and strengthen the communication between attendees.
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