Should you take notes in meetings electronically?

note taking at meetingTaking notes during meetings is part of many business profes­sionals’ normal routines. Those notes help them remember what was said and what action items came out of the meeting. For administrative professionals, those notes are not only for them, but for others who rely on the information.

How you take notes makes a big difference in today’s digital age. For some people, a computer will never replace a pen and paper for note-taking. However, for other admins, electronic notes may make more sense, especially if they have to share them electronically anyway. If you take notes on paper, you spend extra time typing them up before sending them out. But, if you are slower taking notes on a computer than on paper, a pad and pen may be the best option.

Here are three questions to determine which is best:

  1. Can you type fast enough to keep up with the meeting?
  2. Does the laptop or tablet cut you off from participating in the meeting?
  3. Are you comfortable with taking notes in a linear fashion?

If you decide to take notes electronically, here are some tips:

  • Come prepared with a preformatted note-taking document. With the formatting already in place, you will find it easier to keep up with and participate in the conversation. If your company has a standard format, begin with that.
  • Note-taking on an electronic device is mostly linear. You cannot naturally move up and down to add additional notes to something that was previously said. There are two solutions. Use a note-taking device that lets you scroll up and down easily. Or develop a note-taking method that allows you to reference previous notes in later ones.
  • Take notes based on who-what-when. Who said what when? This is perfect for noting action items as well. Using the same format for each note will make it easier to keep up with what is going on.
  • Use standard shorthand or create your own. Utilize abbreviations and acronyms you easily recognize. This makes note-taking faster, yet still provides notes you can read.