Skip to content

Turning Desire Into Action: Writing Great Meeting Notes

In a Meeting Notes Made Easy course online, one of the participants wowed me with the extra effort she has put into taking successful meeting notes in a foreign language: English.

To get her meeting notes down correctly and to write well in her new language, she has been creative and resourceful:

  • When she landed a job working in a university department whose emphases were horticulture and entomology, she took a Master Gardener class and an entomology class to learn the language of her new position.
  • When she began to work in a nursing department, she read nursing magazines, a biography of a nurse, and lots of nursing notes to write knowledgeably.
  • When she was asked to take notes at an important Intelligence conference, a new field for her, she made a list of acronyms, abbreviations, and technical terms she found in the previous meeting notes and program reviews. Then she learned what they meant.

Of the third point above, she said, “This helped a lot since now the abbreviations meant something to me and I understood–to a certain extent–what they were talking about.”

Writing well requires turning desire into action. I hope this woman’s example inspired you as it did me.


Posted by Avatar photo
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

2 comments on “Turning Desire Into Action: Writing Great Meeting Notes”

  • Great story, Lynn. Too often, we let our own fears and insecurities hamper our abilities – it’s not my field, it’s too technical, etc.

    How challenging must it be when it’s not your 1st language? Bravo! By taking practical, simple steps, this person met those challenges and beat them!

Comments are closed.