Be Kind to Your Note Taker

Last week I led a writing class for a group of administrative assistants who wanted help writing meeting notes and minutes. We began by talking about the challenges they face as note takers. Here's their list of challenges:

  • Getting the information down when speakers talk quickly.
  • Recognizing what to record and how much of it.
  • Dealing with two people speaking at once.
  • Facing an incomprehensible stream of acronyms and abbreviations.
  • Trying to hear when side conversations compete with the main speaker.
  • Being unfamiliar with the attendees and topic, also known as "not having a clue."
  • Not knowing when a decision has actually been made.
  • Feeling timid about interrupting the group with a question.

If you lead meetings, be kind to your note takers. Recognize the challenges they face, and do your best to eliminate them.

The October issue of my newsletter, Better Writing at Work, covers how to write meeting notes, in the article "Meeting Notes Made Easy." In it I offer suggestions for tackling six major meeting challenges. You can read it here

Want more? You can get templates, strategies, and note-taking practice in my online self-study course Meeting Notes Made Easy

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  1. Thanks for your article on writing good meeting notes. I have searched and searched for good information to help me be a better minute taker and minutes editor. We have either two hour board or committee meeting a minimum of once a month. I am overwhelmed each time trying to accurately capture and then edit the information. I love my job but I am trying to be more efficient as our board and corporate secretary.

  2. Helen, thanks for your comment. I hope you have applied the tips I suggested and have found them valuable. Please let me know if you have note-taking challenges I haven’t addressed in that article. I want to make sure it’s thorough.

    Good luck!


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