I need to compile a reference which will allow an end user to effectively take notes at meetings, and then transcribe them into a legible, professional report.  The problem I'm running into in my search is; results are returned which describe either academic note taking (Cornell system), technological systems, short hand systems or meeting minute how-to's.  I've found a reference on structuring a newspaper article, and another on how to write in active voice, which is exactly what I'm looking for in the end state.  What I need is the beginning.  Meeting minutes are close, but not in depth enough.  I have my own system, but I can't teach it to others because my brain thinks in spirals.  My question to the group is; what resources have you used to make you better note takers in the business world?


- It must be simple to learn (no complex short hand).

- It must be easy to implement (if the system is difficult no one will use it).

- It must provide a logical process.

- Pre-printed forms are fine, but they tend to become doctrine around here.  However, if you have specific headers you use to keep information straight, I would be interested to know.

- The system can't rely on technology.  It must be usable with pencil and paper.

- It must be acceptable to barely literate, knuckle dragging neanderthals, who also have college degrees.

I'm looking for specific references I can point to and cite.  There is no problem with appealing to authority, it's actually the preferred method, and would help me sell it.  However, at this point I will take any advice I can get.  So, if you've read a book or an article which has helped you, I could use the reference.  If not, any tips you have will be greatly appreciated.


How do you take good notes in a business meeting?

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I'm useless in this arena, and rely on a mix of typing on my laptop, audio recording, and my own language of visual (drawn) cues - arrows/brackets/flowchart type. 

I'll be curious to see what suggestions come in. 

Might have to wait til tomorrow when the lawyers and businessmen log in.

i just write keywords that i know will trigger a fuller memory recall for me. and like Liam, i am visual and will draw diagrams and arrange the words in a visual pattern.

also curious to see what others say.

This. I've never been to a business meeting that was so involved that I couldn't recall what little actually happened with some keywords and at most whatever material was passed out or presented.

Interesting.  This project may suck more.


As much content as possible, and I mean that in the very broadest and literal sense.  Paper and pencil because technology isn't reliable.  The Cornell system is fine, but designed for academic note taking during lectures.  Not the same forum.

How do you modify it for business meetings? Do you turn your notes into reports or archive them as is?

Awesome. Thank you.

The Cornell system is slowly pushing to the top of my list.

Thanks Shane for the topic. I suck at note taking and as such I have nothing that I can suggest but I plan watching for the suggestions. I need this kind of help personally.


If I'm able to get this project finished in a workable format, I'll post up the product.

Shane, Good luck. I look forward to your results.

 I've found my note taking in meetings suffers from two "problems", first I can't write fast enough to keep up with some speakers, which puts gaps in the information; second there's always that droning soporific presenter who never quite understands that you need to be brief and be done, but is excellent at oing on long enough for one's attention to wander.

To those who question why Shane's after a paper & pencil system:  There are more than a few venues where one can't use your electronic gadgetry. 


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