Please take note! 3 tips for taking and utilizing meeting notes
by Fred Gaede, Chief Creative Officer
What’s your process for taking notes during a meeting? Do you use your smartphone or prefer a legal pad and pen? Maybe you would prefer to simply record the meeting and listen to it later. However you choose to go about it, proper note taking remains an important aspect of generating good creative.
In marketing, a good creative solution has to be more than simply eye-catching or clever. It has to work! It not only must capture the audiences’ attention, it also must to deliver on the approved strategy and value proposition. This information is typically what is covered in a creative launch meeting.
Of course you cannot transcribe an entire meeting, no matter how fast you may thumb a keypad, nor should that be the intent. Taking meeting notes is not to be confused with taking meeting minutes! What you are striving to do with your notes is capture those decisions that will direct your creative, as well as the critical information that this creative must convey.
Here are three tips for taking and utilizing meeting notes.
Be prepared. Whatever your method—laptop, smartphone or paper and pencil—make certain that you are ready when the meeting begins. You never want to be the person who has to lean over and ask to borrow a sheet of paper from the person next to you. Check that you have plenty of battery life or plenty of paper.
Ask good questions. This is perhaps the most important tip! Often there will be an agenda or list of topics made available at the opening of a meeting that top-line some of this information. As helpful as this framework may be, it rarely contains the details and nuances that develop as the meeting progresses. It is during the discussion of this top-line information that details are uncovered and creative pathways opened. Here is the key: if you want to take good notes during a meeting, ask good questions. Then accurately record the answers to these questions.
Refer to your notes often. While good and accurate meeting notes are critical, they serve no purpose if they are not referenced! When developing a creative solution, it is easy to become excited about and caught up with a certain idea — to hit on a concept, and then allow it to lead you down a path. Yes, this can lead to great results, but only if it follows the direction determined in the launch meeting. Refer to your notes often to make sure you are on track.
There is nothing more embarrassing when reviewing creative then to have someone say, “But wait, didn’t we say in the meeting that were not going to show (insert forgotten detail here)?” Or, “Didn’t we agree that we would be showing one version that focused on (insert another neglected detail here)?”
So, please take note! Be prepared, ask good questions, take accurate notes, and reference them as the project progresses.