How To Take Meeting Notes: Template, Tools, Guide
How to take meeting notes

How To Take Meeting Notes: Template, Tools, Guide

Michael DamMay 28, 20229 mins
What should you include in meeting notes?

Do you have a meeting coming up? 

It's good to take notes when conducting a team, sales, or customer support meeting. It will help you stay organized and on track. As well, it will ensure that everyone remains on the same page. 

In this post, we'll discuss:

  • How to take meeting notes

  • What to include within your notes

  • A review of five meeting notes apps

We'll also provide you with a simple meeting note template you can use for your next video conference call.

What should you include in meeting notes?

Consider including the following topics in your meeting notes.

  • Agenda: What items will your team discuss during the meeting? 

  • Attendees: Who is attending? 

  • Notes: The key points of what your team discusses during the meeting. Which action items should you act on? 

Let's discuss point #3 above in greater detail because "notes" are the most important aspect of meeting notes. Your notes should include the following.

Milestones: If your team is working on a project, review the milestones of the current phase. Make sure everyone is on track and identify any challenges to address. 

Open items: Bring up open items from previous meetings. Assign someone to address them. 

Challenges: Create time to discuss challenges openly and generate ideas on how to overcome them. 

Deadlines: Make everyone aware of any upcoming deadlines to ensure the team is on track to meet them. 

Next action steps: After the meeting, each person should have a clear understanding of their next action steps.

There are several benefits to including this type of information in your meeting notes, including:

  • Keep everyone on the same page

  • Review important points after the meeting

  • Identify areas of improvement

  • Better decision-making

  • Hold people accountable

  • Create reference points for future meetings

How to take meeting notes effectively

There are a few different ways to take notes.

  • Write them down by hand

  • Type them out on your computer

  • Use a meeting notes app

Consider the pros and cons of each method and choose the one that will work best for you. 

If you opt to write your meeting notes by hand, bring a notebook and pen to the meeting. This way, you can jot down important points as they're discussed. One downside of taking handwritten notes is that they're harder to read and organize later. 

When typing meeting notes on your computer, use a reliable laptop or tablet. The disadvantage of taking typed notes is you may find it difficult to keep up with the discussion. It's easy to miss vital pieces of the conversation while using this method. 

Another option is to use a meeting notes app. These apps often come with features like the following. 

  • Transcription

  • Real-time collaboration

  • Timestamps

For most company teams, salespeople, and customer service teams, using a meeting productivity tool makes sense. Let's review how the best available meeting notes software can help you easily take notes.

Create your agenda

Meeting notes apps will help you create your agenda. Some software will help you with each of the following. 

  1. Set a timer for each topic

  2. Use pre-built meeting templates

Take a little time to create the meeting's agenda ahead of time. Give the agenda to each attendee so your meeting can remain productive from the first minute to the end.

Use a productivity tool to increase efficiency

If you use productivity software instead of manually taking notes, it ensures you’ll never miss another important discussion point. Select a meeting notes app that takes notes automatically. As your meeting flows, each participant can view the transcript in real-time. 

You and other participants can create notes and action items as the conversation flows. Most apps will attach timestamps to each note. After the meeting, you and the team can easily retrieve important parts of the conversation. 

Review the meeting's highlights

After the meeting, review the conversation by skimming the transcript for key points. Taking notes by hand will make this process seem tedious. Using top-of-the-line meeting notes software, you can find meeting highlights and listen to a specific attendee's recording. 

Share key points with the team

Productivity software often integrates with apps your team already uses:

  • Microsoft Word

  • Slack

  • Google Docs

  • Notion

  • Google Calendar

Using an integration like Notion or Slack, export the transcript and notes to share with the team. If a team member or client needs to hear a specific section, use timestamp features to send the snippet only.

A basic meeting note template

If you've decided to take your meeting notes manually on your next call, try this meeting notes template to remain organized. Here are the important sections to include in your template:

Meeting notes

1. Date of meeting 

2. Attendees‍

3. Discussion topics

  • Agenda Item

  • Presenter

  • Notes

4. Action items

Add action items to close the loop on open questions or discussion topics

5 meeting notes apps that are worth trying

To help you choose the best meeting notes app for your needs, here’s a list of five top apps to consider. 

  1. Airgram

  2. Happy Scribe

  3. Grain

  4. Otter

  5. Fireflies.ai

Airgram

Airgram is a meeting productivity tool. It's a web-based app that allows you to take notes in real-time, as the meeting takes place. You can also use Airgram to:

Key Features

  • Meeting transcription: Airgram uses AI-powered transcription features to take real-time meeting notes. For example, any team using Zoom can download accurate live transcriptions.

  • Collaborate on meeting notes: Using a public notepad, all attendees can type notes simultaneously on a public notepad.

  • Integrations: Airgram integrates with Microsoft Word, Slack, Google Docs, and more.

Pros

  • Timestamps: Easily locate relevant aspects of each conversation

  • AI entity recognition: Airgram lets you find and listen to a specific speaker's audio recording 

  • Clip extraction: It's simple to cut meeting segments and share them with others

Cons

  • If you use Microsoft Teams, the auto-join function doesn't work with these options

  • Airgram doesn't work on mobile devices

Plans & Pricing 

  • Free (10 free lifetime recordings)

  • Team: You can choose a Team plan based on the number of recordings you need every month - 15, 30, 50, or 100 recordings/mo.

  • $17.99/mo for Team 15 Plan

  • $28.99/mo for Team 30 Plan

  • $42.99/mo for Team 50 Plan

  • $79.99/mo for Team 100 Plan

  • Enterprise: Contact sales for pricing details (100+ recordings per month)

Happy Scribe 

Happy Scribe is a meeting notes app that offers transcription, translation, and subtitles. 

Key Features

  • Live Transcription: The app will take meeting notes that you can share with other attendees. 

  • Translation: With Happy Scribe, you can translate meeting notes into over 100 languages.

  • Subtitles: You can create subtitles for your meeting notes so that everyone can understand them. 

Pros

  • Machine translation: Your subtitles and transcriptions occur automatically. You can also intervene with manual transcriptions if needed.

  • No upload limits: The platform supports uploads of all file sizes.

  • Integrations: Integrates with YouTube, Zapier, and more.

Cons

  • Time code mismatches: Silence during meetings can sometimes cause the need to reformat timestamps.

  • Pricing: More expensive than other similar options.

Plans & Pricing

  • Automatic: $0.20 per minute

  • Human-made: $2.25 per minute

  • Human translation (for subtitles): $24.79 per minute

Grain

Grain is an app that gives you the ability to add meeting notes. You can include action items, too. It also allows you to easily share meeting notes with others who couldn't attend the meeting.

Key Features

  • Transcriptions and notes: You can create meeting notes while transcribing the conversation using Grain. 

  • Share clips: Grain helps you share meeting snippets with Salesforce, Notion, and Slack.

  • Video library: The video storage feature includes an area to place all your video recordings so you can go back and review them later. 

Pros

  • Action items: Add next-step actions to keep track of what you and your team should do after a meeting concludes.

  • Auto-recordings: Automatically record each meeting.

  • Summarize conversations: Combine meeting highlights into short three-minute summaries.

Cons

  • Limited integrations

  • Doesn't return full accuracy with some transcriptions

Plans & Pricing

  • Free

  • Business: $19/month/user

  • Enterprise: Contact the company for pricing

Otter

Otter is a meeting notes app that offers real-time transcription. It works well for recording video or audio conferences. Otter also allows you to search your transcriptions for keywords.

Key Features

  • Automated notes: Otter builds out meeting notes for you.

  • Share Notes: You can share your Otter transcriptions with others via email or link.

  • Integrations: Otter integrates with Zoom and Google Meet.

Pros

  • Calendar integration: Connect the Otter app to your calendar to help automate the recording process.

  • Search notes: After recording a meeting, you can search notes to find important details to review.

  • Aid collaborations: Teams can comment on transcripts to help improve communication.

Cons

  • English only: Unlike solutions such as Airgram, only English-speaking people can use Otter.

  • Inaccurate transcriptions: The AI-assisted system used by Otter sometimes misses vital parts of a conversation.

Plans & Pricing

  • Basic: Free

  • Pro: $8.33/month/user (billed annually)

  • Business: $20/month/user (billed annually)

  • Enterprise: Contact the company for pricing

Fireflies

Fireflies is a meeting notes app that offers a forever-free plan. The app provides a transcription of meetings as well as a way to take notes and store them in the cloud. The app also allows you to share your notes with others via Slack and other websites.

Key Features

  • Video conferencing bot: The software will connect your Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and GoToMeeting accounts to your calendar.

  • Chrome extension: Use the extension to capture meeting recordings.

  • Audio uploads: With Fireflies, your team can upload audio files in various formats.

Pros

  • Free plan: You can start for free and then upgrade as needed.

  • Integrations: Fireflies integrates with dozens of apps and software, such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Skype, Zoho, Calendly, and Dropbox.

  • Search transcriptions: Easily search through your meeting notes to find specific areas of interest.

Cons

  • No video recording: It transcribes for you but won't record live video.

  • Transcript inaccuracy: The app sometimes fails to accurately transcribe meetings.

Plans & Pricing

  • Free

  • Pro: $10/month/user (billed annually)

  • Business: $19/month/user (billed annually)

  • Custom Pricing: Contact the company for pricing

4 common mistakes about taking meeting notes

Now that you know how to take meeting notes, let's quickly review some mistakes you might make.

  1. Taking too many notes: Remember, the goal is to jot down important points so you can review and act on them later. You don't need to include every single detail from the discussion. Instead of taking notes verbatim, focus on writing down the main ideas discussed. These will become the sections for you and other attendees to review later.

  2. Not using a meeting notes template: By taking a few minutes to prepare, you can ensure that your meeting notes will remain organized and effective. 

  1. Waiting to review notes: Don't wait several days to go through your notes. You might forget important details if you wait too long. Create a habit of reviewing each call while it's fresh in your mind.

  1. Writing too much information: Avoid using full sentences in your meeting notes. Shorter phrases and bullet points are easier to read and understand later on. 

If you use Airgram to take meeting notes, you don't have to worry about these common mistakes. The app does all the work for you so you can focus on being present in the discussion.

Conclusion

Taking meeting notes doesn't need to feel like a difficult task. By following the tips in this article, you can easily take effective meeting notes to help you stay organized and on track. 

Even better, use a meeting notes app to automate the process for you. Doing so allows each participant to remain fully engaged, helps to more effectively review each meeting, and keeps your team efficient. Try using Airgram today.

Michael Dam

Michael started his career as a product manager and then developed a passion for writing. He has been writing on technology, remote working, productivity, etc., hoping to share his thoughts with more people.

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