Taking Meeting Notes On & Offline

By: Verbit Editorial
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 More than 4.7 million people are working remotely at least half the time. As a result, consistent communication can be trickier to maintain. Taking effective meeting minutes is one way to encourage and facilitate productivity. By fostering better communication, employees can keep better track of their tasks and avoid the need to revisit topics. However, asking someone without professional training to take notes manually can lead to inconsistent results. This responsibility can also be tedious for many employees whose main functions don’t include transcription.  

Leaning on transcription technology to produce call notes and summaries is a better way to perform this function. Fortunately, there are professional note takers capable of producing high-quality results. Additionally, tools like automatic speech recognition (ASR) are helping people capture notes and produce captions and transcripts. Businesses have many options to choose from when it comes to finding the best transcription solution. Read on to learn more about the benefits of transcription and how transcription tools and services support businesses and employees.  

four people in a conference room looking at a woman on a screen who is participating in the meeting remotely

Why taking meeting notes effectively is now more critical

Detailed and accurate notes from calls with peers, customers and potential clients are crucial for building successful businesses. Technologies are coming in to make the meetings themselves more engaging. Also, these tools are supporting the need for word-for-word note taking. When professionals in a meeting can stay focused on the matters at hand, they’re more likely to reach actionable takeaways from their discussions. 
 
Here are just a few meeting notes examples and solutions to improve the productivity and success of corporate meetings.

Increase meaningful engagement

On average, people spend 75% of their time distracted, preoccupied, or forgetful when they’re in meetings. Quality meeting minutes writing can therefore prove challenging for many. It’s likely that an untrained individual with miss key information as a result of lapses in focus.  

Leveraging technology to generate word-for-word transcripts automatically is one way to boost meeting engagement. ASR produces relatively accurate transcripts if the goal is to keep distracted participants more focused. Verbit’s proprietary ASR can also create real time captioning and audio transcription. There is evidence that having captions can help individuals better understand information because the visual representation offers a second input channel.  

In many cases, captions and transcripts also serve as accessibility solutions for people with disabilities. However, when providing accessibility tools for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, the accuracy requirements are more stringent. In such cases, the technology alone might not be the right option. Verbit offers solutions that combine the efficiency of ASR, but include a layer of human editing so that the results are appropriately accurate for these use cases. 

Share valuable information

Scheduling meetings can be challenging. It’s often the case that people who should be able to attend aren’t able to join. Sometimes meetings have to go on even if not everyone is present. One way to avoid the redundancies of multiple meetings or the need to schedule follow-ups is to have quality transcripts. Having meeting minutes to reference can provide a useful overview of the key points.  

Sometimes, the notes may even preserve information that participants can share with others who need the information after joining a company or new team. While a video recording can also be useful, it can be time-consuming to sift through them to find relevant information. Verbit’s technology offers solutions to this challenge as well.  

Save time with searchable meeting notes

Verbit’s transcripts sync with videos, so when viewers search for key terms, they can jump to the corresponding point in both the transcript and the video. This feature is valuable for many business professionals who are tight on time and need answers fast.  

Legal backing and records

Taking meeting notes can help ensure leaders have written evidence of their dialogue and discussions. Whether it’s interview quotes or client promises, having meetings recorded and transcripts as notes can save your company from the potential ‘he said’ ‘she said’ headaches later. This use case is one that HR professionals may find particularly helpful.  

Preserve accurate meeting summaries

51% of employees take their own notes. However, their interpretations of a project or specific details and delegation of tasks may vary. Meeting notes serve as useful, impartial summaries that cover the agenda and ensure employees have a clear picture of all project objectives. Engaging in this business practice can avoid miscommunication headaches related to important action items. 

two people in an office looking at computers

How to take meeting notes

Technology can help steer your employees away from many of the ‘old school’ note-taking practices. Still, employees may have different preferences or ideas about how to take meeting notes. It’s important to remember that the methods that work best for your company and individual employees might vary. Here are some of the most common note-taking styles that companies continue to use to preserve information. 

Meeting notes vs. minutes

Business leaders need to understand what they’re looking for from their notes. For example, it’s important to know if the meeting requires meeting notes vs. minutes. Notes are less formal than minutes, which offer details like a list of everyone in attendance. While people might use the terms interchangeably, for some professionals, they designate different tasks.  

Traditional sentence note taking

This method uses full sentences to transcribe as much information as possible from a meeting. Those who use traditional note-taking find it time-consuming and difficult because it requires quick typing or writing skills to effectively capture everything that participants are sharing in a meeting. Writing meeting minutes manually can also lead to difficult-to-read notes. These records may lack organization and end up failing to provide a useful summary of events and decisions. 

Shorthand note taking

Shorthand can cut down on the amount of time compared to methods that involve writing out full words and phrases. The process of writing in shorthand is sometimes called stenography, referring to professional stenographers that are trained to use special keyboards that have typing shortcuts. Some people take shorthand notes by using systems like the Gregg and Pitman. Expert stenographers who use these methods are able to type at extremely fast speeds.  

However, learning to use a stenography machine is no small task. This skill can take years to master. Hiring a skilled stenographer would produce highly accurate records. The costs associated with booking these in-demand professionals are prohibitive for most companies. Alternatively, many individuals form their own systems of shorthand by dropping vowels or abbreviating certain words. Not surprisingly, reading someone else’s idiosyncratic short-form notes is not easy. In many cases, people might just not know how to take good meeting notes. As a result, this system isn’t the best option in most professional settings.  

Topical note taking

Individuals use topical note taking to organize their notes by separating ideas into different categories. Instead of taking notes word for word, people use this method to outline key concepts and points of reference from their meetings, focusing on the main ideas participants share and excluding smaller details. Leaders can implement this method by asking each of their participants to take notes on a specific topic and then ask them to organize and share them with others after the fact. 

This method presents several challenges as well. For instance, some individuals might not know how to organize meeting notes, miss things they’re meant to record, misinterpret someone else’s statements or otherwise create gaps in the records. There are professional note takers who can perform this service well thanks to specific training. Verbit’s note takers provide this solution for meetings and can capture useful summaries that business leaders can rely on. Additionally, these professionals are discreet and ensure confidentiality when they perform note taking tasks for clients.  

Leveraging technology for better transcription options

Transcription tools can offer participants a visual meeting notes format for everything participants cover. This practice allows them to listen and read along at the same time in live settings or while watching the recording. Transcription solutions like Verbit’s take accurate word-for-word notes of meetings that offer integrations with Zoom and other popular platforms. Using transcription solutions with conferencing tools can support remote work arrangements for today’s global business settings.  

Many business leaders find this method the best for capturing meeting minutes because it removes the need to write down rushed notes. This option has the added benefit of making meeting notes and recordings searchable. Verbit’s option is cost-effective, efficient and allows professionals to focus on their meetings without worrying about taking notes. Additionally, Verbit’s solutions meet the higher standards that laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act create for creating captions and transcripts. For businesses looking to offer an accessibility solution that also promotes more effective work processes, partnering with Verbit might be the best way to take meeting notes. 

Use digital tools to transform note taking

Meetings are a necessary part of many professionals’ work days. However, it’s not uncommon to feel like those meetings aren’t as productive as they could be. Deficiencies in meeting practices can lead to the need for seemingly endless follow-ups and other inefficient practices. According to research, 38% of meeting issues stem from not offering effective follow-up information or notes. Relying on digital solutions to ensure accurate, useful records for every meeting helps make teams more productive.  

Verbit’s process uses ASR and human transcribers to bring our partners the best of both worlds. Working with Verbit means access to transcription and captioning tools designed for business needs. Whether you need records for anything from live meetings and events to recorded videos of private sessions, our solutions can support your business. Reach out to learn more about how we’re promoting accessibility, inclusivity and productivity at businesses worldwide.