Creating Effective Meeting Summaries

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Across companies, in international institutions, the local community organisation, or the local chess club, meetings are essential to keep organisations moving forward. Just as importantly, the meetings require a written record of what was said.

It is an important skill to create easy-to-read and effective summaries to send out to attendees afterward.

In this article, I look at three of the best ways to write effective meeting summaries and notes, and the advantages of each. They are the:

  • Cornell System
  • Charting System
  • Mind-mapping System

Minute skills

But first, let us review why taking minutes and notes is an important responsibility.

  • They highlight the most important ideas and opinions during an event. This will help further the development or brainstorming of ideas.
  • They provide a storyline of how a project or idea develops.
  • They attribute responsibilities for action.
  • They ensure accountability.
  • They provide an opportunity to cross-reference important points.
  • They can be used as an opportunity to clarify the main concepts or highlight where further clarifications are required.
  • Lastly, they give information to those who could not be present at meetings.

That is a lot of responsibility for one person!

Ensuring the minutes reflect the meeting

Clearly, gathering all the information given by several representatives at one sitting can be challenging.

So how can you approach this task?

There are various strategies for taking notes that have been developed that can be used for minute taking.

cornell system Meeting Summaries

Cornell System

The Cornell System.

This was devised by Walter Pauk, professor at Cornell University and author of the best seller book “How to Study in College”. It consists of dividing the note sheet into three parts. One part has all the keywords. The second part has all the points that need clarification or action. And the third part will hold the actual notes. The advantages of this system include encouraging you to reflect on the meeting points by actively summarizing them in your own words. Furthermore, it is easy to review and track the flow of topics via the use of keywords.

 

Chart System meeting summaries

Chart System

The Chart System

This involves splitting the document into several columns. Each column has its own argument. It aims to concretely compare different topics and ideas. The advantage of this system is that it helps you to track conversations and dialogues, particularly if the discussion does not follow a linear path.

 

 

Mind-Mapping System

The Mind-Mapping System

This is a popular way of creating a hierarchical structure made of lines and font size. Each of the subjects contains a key topic linked to other subjects. Advantages lie in the fact that connections between people and ideas can be easily followed.

Using one of these methods will help to present all the points from each meeting, and provide a means to focus on the most important ideas.

Minute taking requires practice. And over time you may find your own method for taking the best notes. It is an important position; good luck!

Images:

maxpixel

wiki images

Flickr

Sources:

I 5 migliori metodi per prendere appunti (con esempi concreti)

Further reading:

The Importance of Taking Minutes by

Daniel Zakaria Daniel Zakaria

If you need someone at reception or in your administrative department who speaks Italian, English, French, and Spanish to make sure that your clients feel welcomed, then you can count on me.

I am a people person. Whether working in a team at the front desk of hotels, an international company, or in NGOs, I have always been passionate about using foreign languages and my administrative and reception skills to help people from different cultures and backgrounds.

At the same time, I am always looking to learn and improve my skills and knowledge. As an example, I am interested enough in contemporary social-political matters and history to be remotely studying for my political and social sciences bachelor's degree! On a non-professional note, I am also intrigued by personal development.

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