While we spend a lot of time on planning and designing great communications we often ignore the importance of note taking and direction. Capturing the essence of a discussion and clarifying in words that gets everyone on the same page are crucial skills we tend to overlook, resulting in mismatched outcomes.
Program management of an internal communication plan is important – such as keeping a close eye on the key milestones and deliverables but distilling conversations into tangible action points is even more relevant for the success of your initiatives.
Here are a few tips to get the best out of your meetings and get you in a good spot with your note taking.
- Listening intently and dispassionately: How you write up your meeting minutes can make a difference to the outcomes of the initiatives you drive. During the course of a meeting we get caught in the heat of the moment and for forget to ‘listen’ to what is being said. I have observed in many meetings ideas get exchanged, debated and buried since the notes never captured the genesis and the reasons why we went ahead or dropped suggestions. When the notes get written what gets discussed is muddled with what is agreed as next steps. So, sifting through what is ‘agreed’, ‘debated’, ‘explored’ and ‘parked’ are important to keep a tab on.
- Writing and rewriting your notes: Writing minutes and notes can be a painful task especially if you are already on to your next assignment and there is so much to get done! Have a dedicated note taker if possible or else be ready to frame up your meeting in a way that you know how to assemble the output. Writing up the notes right after the meeting and sending it out the very same day keeps the wheels moving and demonstrates commitment from your side – and keeps everyone on their toes! Apart from listing the notes in a logical format you also need to succinctly explain the key highlights.
- Defining ownership in a non-threatening manner: Many times people baulk when they see their names besides some next steps and feign ignorance that they were on point to deliver! It is also cultural at times – when taking the lead on certain topics is often left to the ‘leader’. In essence, everyone is a leader, with or without a designation and the expectation is that team work will help move the project ahead. Clearly calling out the ownership and what it means to get it done will reduce angst and overcome missed expectations.
Have other ideas to ensure you gather all the inputs you need in your meetings? Do share them here.