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Question Regarding Preferred Method of Taking Meeting Minutes

In your professional experience with taking meeting minutes, which method have you found most efficient and easiest for you? Do you use a laptop, do you use OneNote and record the meeting while taking notes on a laptop, or do you find handwritten notes best? Note, I do not take shorthand. I'm wondering which method is most preferred by my fellow admins, based on your past experience. Also, for those of you who take notes on a laptop, do you find that this method is distracting to meeting attendees (the clicking of the keyboard, seeing the screen while I'm typing, etc.), especially those sitting right next to you?

Submitted by: Nancy Meyer


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After taking shorthand for years, I now take minutes with an iPad and a wireless keyboard. When the meeting is over, I simply e-mail the notes to myself on my office desktop computer. I clean them up and manipulate the format on my desktop before e-mailing them out to committee members. Anonymous on 2/10/2014 11:08:02 AM
After taking minutes for years using shorthand, I've now switched to using my iPad and a wireless keyboard. I can watch committee members speak while typing. It is not distracting since most of the members have iPads or iPhones out, too. After the meeting, I e-mail my notes to my desktop computer to format and finalize the minutes. Pat Baugher on 1/24/2014 4:30:05 PM
I take minutes using my laptop and find it very efficient for me. As I do not normally look at my screen while typing, it affords me the ability to watch the participants in the meeting as I type. I use our system standardized minutes template, so all I have to do after the meeting is clean up my notes and they are ready to record. Typing the minutes also makes it easy to make notes to myself as we go along. Debbie on 1/24/2014 10:04:26 AM
Nancy: I use my laptop to take minutes. I do not use OneNote. I find it a lot easier than trying to hand scribe and then enter that into the computer. I also do not take shorthand. I have never had anyone say that the clicking of the keyboard is bothersome. What's really challenging is when you laptop is projected onto a screen so that everyone can see what you're typing! Yikes! Hope this is helpful! Sue Whisennand on 1/24/2014 8:41:50 AM
I have learned to use a legal pad instead of the usual steno book to take notes in longhand. This actually proves to be a great idea. I learned this from my own organization. Try to stick to the agenda even though there is usually a lot of discussion beyond the agenda. If another topic does come up that you think may be important jot it down at the bottom of the sheet. Hope this helps. Paula Kelly on 1/24/2014 8:34:15 AM
For over 10 years, I have used a laptop to take minutes. I don't really think the tapping of my fingers is all that distracting since others in the meeting are talking and discussing items which they tend to focus on more than my typing. I find this is much easier than handwriting using my own 'shorthand' which later I have found some difficulty remembering what I was trying to write! As to others seeing your screen, I have always had a table I had set up just a few feet away from the main table where the meeting attendees sit. They can't see my screen and it also helps mute the sound of my typing. This way, I have room for a note pad if I need to jot down something, room for my IPhone, coffee, etc.You also have the advantage of being able to see everyone so that you know who says what. Also, as to content, I type everything said and then my boss read's through that first blush version in a printed out version. He goes through and strikes what he wants removed and then I save a second version of the minutes and make those changes. I keep both versions so that if he ever has to go back and prove what someone has said they will do, we have that for back up. I hope this helps and good luck. Kelly Dodson on 1/24/2014 8:14:05 AM
I use the Pulse Pen by Lifescribe. It is a life saver. I take 10 to 15 minutes per month and this makes my life easier. I tried using a laptop but it was distracting to others and I am too OCD to type as I go and not go back and correct my spelling which distracts me and I miss parts of the meeting. The Pulse Pen records both audio and it records what you write; you can then download it onto your computer and share it with others if you want. Diane Murphy on 1/23/2014 4:43:36 PM
I have been taking minutes for the past 10 years on a regular basis and prefer the handwritten notes primarily, though I have used a recorder this past year in addition to that as I changed employers and was not as familiar with the meeting topics and attendees so wanted to make sure I captured everything I needed to. I do have shorthand training, but that was nearly 30 years ago, so needless to say I am very rusty now. I have typed on a laptop at a few meetings, and I find it more unnerving because of the noise and attention it draws to myself, as well as the fear of accidentally deleting the notes during the meeting. My minutes do include a lot of the meeting discussion - more so than what some organizations might require or prefer - but I write fast and can abbreviate enough words to piece together the sentences later. Debra Shumate on 1/23/2014 4:39:23 PM
I use a laptop to take minutes and have "soniclear" recording on my laptop. The noise of the keys hasn't been a distraction so far. I am lucky enough that the only person seeing my screen is my assistant and she is taking her own notes & not paying attention to what I'm doing. I love the soniclear program because the recordings are on my laptop and I can listen to the recording & make any corrections I need to on the minutes at the same time. I hope this helps. Marilee Taber on 1/23/2014 4:29:30 PM

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