pen is mighty

How to Make Meetings Powerful Using a Pen

There really is “power in the pen“.  The person who takes notes in a meeting and then drafts and distributes the Meeting Record is demonstrating leadership. Deciding how what happened in a meeting is to be memorialized is a power move. Those who want to be leaders and who want to be powerful will find that owning and driving the process to produce Meeting Records is the way to go!

Every meeting has three kinds of outputs:

  • Action Items
  • Insights
  • Decisions.

It doesn’t matter much who said what and when they said it. What matters is what those in attendance agree to in each of the three categories.

Here’s how to wield the power of the pen:

  • The Meeting Owner designates a Note-Taker to start the meeting.
  • During the meeting, participants help the Note-Taker keep track of Action Items, Insights, and Decisions as they occur.
  • The Meeting Owner calls on the Note-Taker to read out loud what has been recorded just before adjourning. Upgrades are solicited, offered, and duly noted.
  • Before the “forgetting curve” kicks in (i.e., within 36-hours) the Note-Taker fills in this template to draft the Meeting Record and submits it to the Meeting Owner.
  • The Meeting Owner immediately reviews and upgrades the Meeting Record to reflect how they want what happened to be memorialized.
  • The Meeting Record is distributed, in draft, to all participants.
  • Each participant consults their notes and recollections and suggests upgrades to the Meeting Owner and Note Taker. Note: a best practice leadership move for participants to also keep a record of entries in each category as the meeting progresses. So doing facilitates their consolidation at the end of the meeting and makes it easy to check for accuracy upon receipt of the draft.
  • The Note-Taker and Meeting Owner consolidate and reconcile any input to arrive at the Final Meeting Record.
  • The Final Meeting Record is filed for future reference and distributed to meeting participants.

Note: Meeting Minutes are distinctly different from Meeting Records described here. Meeting Minutes are more formal and often serve as a legal record of a meeting occurrence as for board meetings.

Example Meeting Record:

Download Interview Questions
Download Editable Meeting Record Template


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Editor’s Note: This content was originally posted on April 25, 2012 and updated for July 22, 2020.

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