A notebook is a traditional way to take meeting notes. While pen and paper have been a trusty tool throughout the years, there are some advantages to using a paperless meeting management software. Listed are 8 reasons to consider using technology for meeting notes:
1 Everyone has access to the same single source of truth
When every meeting attendee takes their own notes, it results in different records or takeaways from the same meeting. Which can cause confusion in the future if everyone references their own version of the notes. Keep meeting attendees on the same page with a shared, collaborative agenda via a meeting management platform like Fellow. This creates an easy-to-reference single source of truth for discussions, decisions, and action items.
2 Instant backups of your meeting notes
What happens when your notebook gets lost, damaged, or filled up? Unfortunately, this can lead to a feeling of sheer panic. In most cases, a notebook is one and done with no backups. But with software, your notes are kept in the cloud and since everyone has access to the same notes – it becomes much harder to lose every copy.
3 Organized meeting agendas
Unless you have a masterful organizational system, it’s easy for different meeting notes to be mixed up in the same notebook or for the same meeting to be spread across different meeting notes. This makes it frustrating to review past decisions, discussions, and action items.
A meeting management software will automatically organize your notes for you. In Fellow, notes for recurring meetings are stacked on top of each other in one ongoing stream. Which means that in order to review the last meeting, you’ll just need to scroll down.
Using a meeting management tool like Fellow will not only save paper but also time by having one source of truth and clear meeting notes for the whole team.
Fellow also gives the option to have incomplete action items or talking points forward to the next instance of the meeting. There is no need to search through your notebooks in order to find topics that you didn’t have a chance to discuss.
4 Clear action items
Have you ever left a meeting with no idea what to do next? Or made the assumption that another person was responsible for an action item even though they had no idea themselves?
This confusion can mean that tasks do not get completed which can result to deadlines shifting and an increase in workload. Having clear action items, assignees, and due dates can save a lot of confusion.
5 Enhanced formatting options
Writing in your notebook does provide some extra freedom when it comes to colours, drawings, and fonts. But no matter how you spin it, there are still some types of formatting that are not supported by pen and paper.
Fellow supports the ability to embed images, videos, Figma/Miro/Spotify files as well as attaching PDFs or linking Google Docs. While you could argue that you could print out documents and attach them to your notebook, video or audio are something that can never be part of your pen and paper notes.
6 Notes integrated with your other tools
For day-to-day work, it’s common to use a customized tech stack. This might include internal communication tools, databases, CRMs, or other specialized tools. Some companies even end up with large tech stacks such as Uber (~59 tools), the New York Times (~41 tools), and Soylent (~26 tools).
If you are using 20+ tools, it can be incredibly frustrating if those tools don’t work well together. As trusty as a notebook is, it doesn’t integrate seamlessly with other tools. With meetings, sometimes these tools are referenced or needed for the next steps. Whatever the situation, using a notebook will inevitably cause an additional step. This might be entering action items into a project management software, documenting client needs in a CRM, or updating an issue or ticket. Take those tasks off your todo list by using a meeting management tool that syncs with your other tools.
7 Search and find past decisions
When reading a large document, you might have used cmmd + F to quickly find what you are looking for. Or maybe you’ve used the search function to find a pesky email or calendar event. These hacks are super handy, but unfortunately are not supported by a paper notebook. Save some time flipping through your notebook by instantly searching for the information you’re seeking.
8 Share meeting notes with stakeholders
As mentioned before, in order to get content out of a notebook you likely have to recopy it or scan the content. So if you would like to share the agenda or the notes that you wrote down in your notebook with a colleague, you might end up following this workflow (or a version of it). 1) copy out the content into a document b) attach and send the document to your co-worker via Slack, MS Teams, email, etc.
What if you could eliminate step 1 and share right away? It’d make things a bit simpler.
That is what can happen if you use a meeting management software or other online tool.
Now, this isn’t to say that notebooks are bad and should never be used. But notebooks like everything have a time and place in which they work best. Personally, a notebook still remains part of my workflow but I use it for scribbling down ideas, remembering numbers like what size image I should be using, or drafting blog posts. However, if you depend on a notebook for meeting notes, your notebook might not be as useful or functional as other tools.