Taking (remote) meeting notes

Effectively taking meeting notes can help you make the most of your meetings. Here's a few tips on how to do that.

Taking (remote) meeting notes
Photo by Unseen Studio / Unsplash

Folks on teams I've led have asked me for my resources on how I learned to take notes during meetings. I couldn't find anything from more reputable authors, so I had to fill the void for them.

The most important thing to remember is that you're not trying to be a meeting recording or transcription. If you want or need that, then grab one of the relevant services. You've got options. (And they can be game changers if you use them.)

You're trying to capture the most important points in a way that you'll be able to recall them with high enough fidelity up to 24 hours after the meeting.

That's because you want to review and clarify your meeting notes for general consumption after the meeting. And you'll want to do that inside the 24 hour window.

Preparing to take notes

Touch typing

Before we get into the notes about the notes themselves, to be able to take good meeting notes while being an active member of the discussion you probably need to be able to touch type.

If you can't touch type, or can't touch type very quickly (this probably only needs to be ~40 words per minute), that's likely going to be your biggest blocker, at least based on my experience.

For remote meetings, the other piece of advice relates to your screen setup.

Multiple monitors

If you've got multiple monitors you want the monitor the individuals you're talking to and webcam to be on the same monitor. That way you are focused on looking at, and conversing with the folks "in the room".

This brings us back to why touch typing is important. Your notes are on the other monitor. You want to be able to glance over at it periodically. Do this especially when you want to return to a point someone made earlier.

You don't want to look at what you're typing as much as possible in any given meeting.

Single monitor

If you're on a single monitor, split the screen. Put notes on half, and the meeting app on the other.

Focus your attention on the meeting half.

Taking the notes

Remember, this is just to help you recall the points when you can expand the notes after the fact.

  • You want short bullet points
  • Avoid exact quotes, unless incredibly important
  • Note who's speaking with each bullet, whether by initials or any other identifying mechanism
    • Nest the bullet points when individual reply to certain points in a branching way, like so.
      • This nesting can go infinitely deep, as more folks branch this thread
    • If they don't branch, you can just pile it on, forum style
  • If you've got standard meeting types, create a template that helps you to capture the most important information from them

Don't open unrelated apps

The only other piece of advice I can give is exactly what I said above.

Don't open unrelated apps.

Leave Slack, Discord, email, your browser, whatever, closed.

Focus on the notes app, and the meeting app.

Only open other apps if asked and specifically relevant for the meeting at hand.


Other than that, at least as far as I can tell, it's just practice. Practice actively listening and taking notes.

If there's something I missed about taking notes effectively during meetings, especially remote meetings, I'd love to hear it.

Reach out at brittonbroderick@gmail.com.