In the accompanying main article “meeting roles”, the purpose of a meeting and which different meeting roles there has been mentioned already. This sub-article discusses what you can expect from a note taker before, during and after the meeting.

What seems crystal clear at a meeting may be completely faded or forgotten at the next meeting. The spoken word is simply fleeting. It is therefore wise to record the meeting result in a report, the minutes.
For example, these minutes serve as:

  • Information source for absentees,
  • Reminder for those who attended,
  • Means of recording decisions,
  • Basis for progress control.


Good preparation can eliminate uncertainty, both when taking notes during the meeting and while working out those notes afterwards. Points that are useful to do beforehand:

  • Read previous minutes,
  • Go through the agenda in advance,
  • Bring an extra copy of the previous meeting-minutes,
  • Bring sufficient writing material with you,
  • Knowing the names of the participants,
  • Reserve time to create the meeting-minutes report,
  • Agree on what type of report you will make.


Now it is a matter of taking the minutes

  • Choose a good location within the meeting setup,
    • Tip: take a seat next to the chairman at the conference table
  • Take notes,
    • Listen carefully and only then summarizing what has been said. This usually results in notes that are shorter and easier to process.
  • Be attentive to non-verbal communication,
  • Sound recording,
    • Tip: only use audio recording as an aid and when a detailed report is required.
  • (Re) order notes,
  • Mark decisions.


Only after the meeting the main effort is to be made: writing the report. It usually takes some effort (depending on the type of report you need to write).
Aftercare includes the following tasks:

  • Create report quickly,
    • Tip: do this within one or two days of the meeting. You can usually still interpret your notes properly, so that the chances are that you come to a reasonably accurate representation.
  • Consider fixed agenda items as place to be filled in,
  • Design the report properly,
  • Reformulate notes,
    • Provide all relevant information
    • Display the contents of the conversation and use business / formal language
    • Try to formulate as neutral as possible
    • The rule is that the record is always written in the present tense.
  • Check ambiguities,
  • Submit draft report to the chairman in advance,
  • Sending the report to the participants,
    • Decision list / action list: within two or three days after the meeting
    • Meeting report: At the same time as the new agenda, no later than one week before the new meeting
  • Process additions / corrections from the participants.


As a note-taker you fulfil an important role in recording what has been discussed and decided during the meeting. In this it is essential that: clear agreements are made in advance about reporting, clear and concise notes are made during the meeting, and that the correct information is subsequently presented in a structured manner in the minutes.

If you need help setting up and/or holding effective meetings or if you want to know more about how Cthrough coaching & consulting can help you as an external chairperson, please contact us.

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