How to Take Notes in a Meeting – the Smart Way

It’s 3pm, and you’re in your 4th meeting of the day. Coffee isn’t cutting it, and the subjects, numbers, and goals are starting to blur. Knowing how to take notes in a meeting can help you stay active, attentive, and improve your ability to take action after the meeting.

Here’s a quick guide on how to take notes in a meeting:

Make An Outline

Know what the meeting is about, and prepare. That way, you can prep your notepad the way you prefer, and you won’t have to worry about spending valuable time formatting your notes.

You can also leave some space for questions you want to ask, comments you should make, and notes for yourself, like a to-do list.


You aren’t writing a dissertation, so keep your notes brief! Jotting down the key phrases can help you get the gist of what’s going on with missing out on the meeting.

Being able to shorthand your notes in a concise and clear way will put you leaps ahead of average note takers. You can always go and fill in additional details during breaks or a lull in the conversation.

how to take notes in a meeting the smart way

Write With Structure

Find your own personal way to organize your thoughts. Everyone organizes their thoughts differently, so everyone will structure their notes differently.

Whether you bullet your notes down the left side of the page, direct the notes with arrows, or scribble additional thoughts in the margins or at the bottom, knowing and sticking to your note taking structure will help you make clear notes.


After your meeting, it’s beneficial to rewrite your notes. Either type them up or rewrite them in your notebook to reorganize your thoughts and identify any gaps you have in the information. Reorganizing your thoughts can help you more clearly display your notes for others to see.

If you are planning on sending your notes to a colleague, coworker, employee, or supervisor, rewriting your notes to look more presentable is a must.

Draw Conclusions

Knowing how to take notes in a meeting is beneficial, but you have to make your notes actionable after the meeting. After your notes are organized and looking great, you need to be able to draw intelligent conclusions from them.

Pulling out action items and to-do lists for you or others will add real value to your hard work at the meeting.

how to take notes in a meeting

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