It’s good to “be in the room”, actively joining in with the conversation and debate and taking too many notes can definitely detract from your ability to both contribute and to listen.

Plus, you’ve got a good memory and if something’s important enough it will stick, and if not, someone else will remind you, right?  Well maybe, but you are probably on thinner ice with this thinking.

Firstly, during the typical meeting there’s an awful lot that gets discussed and even more that you notice (or should notice) that doesn’t get discussed.

(Sue looks tired, Bob didn’t agree with the decision, Jo talked over Matt when she disagreed with him etc.)  It’s almost as important in a meeting to observe others reactions and feelings as it is to follow the logic of the words said.  Again, jotting down actions from your own observations of others can be really helpful thing to do (Have a word with Jo re interruptions, Check in on Sue etc.)


Click on this link to consider how to gain more from observing others in meetings


Be in the room

I’m not suggesting It’s helpful to capture all of this – first and foremost, you really do have to “be in the room”, but jotting down the odd note can really help on a number of levels.

Secondly, even as we are listening intently to someone, we are also thinking about what we want to say.  If we have a really important point, then there’s a risk we will interrupt and make it immediately (in case we forget it) or if we’re being a bit more polite, we’ll stop listening to make sure we remember the point to be able to make it as soon as the speaker has finished.  Quickly jotting down the point we want to make, so we can come back to it later, can help us to stay with the speaker and to listen more actively. This is important in its own right and will quickly be really appreciated by others.

Finally jotting down Action Points is really important.  Almost all of us confuse short term recall with long term memory but just because it feels “engrained” whilst its fresh in our minds, does not mean that it will get converted to long term memory for recall in several hours or days time.

And by the way, others will quickly judge you in a poor light if you don’t take notes and forget to get things done. Don’t put yourself in that position.

Your memory may be fantastic, but give yourself more brain space to focus on the meeting and make sure you capture all of the things you want to do after the meeting with some concise notes.


Click on this link to consider how to make meetings more effective