How to organize meeting notes for maximum efficiency

How to Organize Meeting Notes for Maximum Efficiency (Top Tips)

If you want to know how to organize meeting notes for increased efficiency, you already know how important it is to get right. Lots of people take notes, but not many people use them. What’s the point of that? 

To be fair, the true potential of note taking has hardly been realized due to the seemingly never-ending search for the best way to organize meeting notes. People jot things down on paper, scrawling illegible notes in the margins and then wonder why they don’t get any value from them. The answer is simple, and it’s staring you in the face. Notes need to be organized. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. In order to gain value from your notes, you need to know how to organize your notes for maximum efficiency. 

We’re here to solve the age-old enigma for you. 

Table of Contents

Why is Note Taking Important?

Sales teams that organize meeting notes effectively turbocharge their sales pitch preparation and access critical information from meetings quicker than teams with disorganized notes. It gives you a razor sharp edge over your competitors. You’ll be able to carve through the clutter with a meat cleaver, while your competitors will be hacking and sawing with butter knives. Basically, you’ll leave them in the dust.

The reason why is simple. Your team will be able to retain information about prospects better than others. You’ll create stronger bonds as your prospects will feel remembered, respected, and genuinely cherished. It’s not just about remembering a prospect’s name, but their passions, their hobbies, their wants, needs, and pain points. If you make a prospect feel unforgettable, they’re far more likely to convert than someone who feels like another statistic.

A personalized approach is just the start. If you want to know how to organize meeting notes efficiently, the skill doesn’t stop with sales calls. You can organize your internal meeting notes in the same way. This creates a streamlined work environment where everybody is on the same page and working towards the same goal. 

Note Taking Styles

Not every note-taking style suits every personality. Depending on each individual in your team and the intent behind the notes, there are several styles that you could adopt.

Slapdash Notes

These notes lack detail but focus on the most important points during meetings. The notes are often in bullet point format and are easy to scan over.

This style of note taking can be prone to inaccurate information as it’s often jotted down so fast. Additionally, the notes are handwritten which can lead to misunderstandings.

Methodical Notes

A more structured style of note taking, methodical notes include more detail and break down different topics into skimmable chunks. Methodical note takers often use a template to follow the same format each time.

Using this style, you may be at risk of overcomplicating the notes. If your sales rep is focusing on the details when making the notes, that’s all well and good, but are they concentrating on the notes more than the meeting? It makes it super easy to miss things, especially subtler communication like body language or tone.

Detail-Oriented Notes

Similar to methodical notes, detail-oriented notes provide a comprehensive and thorough overview of the meeting. They include lots of detail, references, and specific data. The aim is to take notes with precision and accuracy.

As above, this style takes time and focus, so it may prove difficult to do during the meeting itself without losing focus on the conversation.

Visual Notes

Visual notes mostly involve diagrams and doodles that relate to key points. They can also include mind maps or spider diagrams to illustrate important interconnecting contexts.

However, visual notes can be difficult when documenting more complex ideas that are hard to represent visually.

Summary Notes

Summary notes provide a more detailed overview, highlighting key points without noting them down verbatim. They’re a useful form of note taking to communicate meeting insights quickly and efficiently.

This style of note taking can run the risk of oversimplifying the content, but it requires the least focus.

How To Take Meeting Notes Efficiently

Taking notes during meetings and calls is an important way to capture information, but ensuring they are accurate is what improves the efficiency of your sales team. There’s a fine line to walk between taking high-quality notes and thoroughly engaging in the conversation.

Here are some of the ways you can take meeting notes. We’ve graded them based on efficiency.

Pen and Paper

Nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper when taking meeting notes, right?


  • Accessibility. Most people have a pen and paper handy at all times so it’s quick and easy to use.
  • Natural. It’s the most natural way to jot down notes. That’s why it’s called a notepad.
  • Highlight. You can annotate and highlight certain notes to make them stand out and increase retention. However, it’s important to remember that this varies from person-to-person based on their individual note-taking skills.
  • Unclear. When handwriting notes, sometimes they can be unclear or illegible (even to yourself).
  • Time-consuming to transcribe. If you want to digitize the notes or share them with your team, it can take a lot of time to type them up.
  • Difficult to share. Collaboration on hand-written notes is practically impossible. In order to share them, you need to manually transcribe them.
  • Distracts from the meeting. When you’re handwriting meeting notes, you aren’t focusing on the conversation. You’re not looking at the screen either, meaning you’ll miss important body language, especially useful in sales calls.
  • Difficult to edit. Editing hand-written notes can make them messy and confusing to follow.
Rating: 4/10

It can be useful in a pinch, but if you want to know how to organize meeting notes for maximum efficiency, you’re gonna need to let go of the past and move into the future. 

Type As You Attend

Typing up your notes while you’re in a meeting has advantages and disadvantages, too. 

  • Fast. Most people type quicker than they write.
  • Easier to organize. As your meeting notes are already typed up, you can easily share them and organize them elsewhere, like a CRM.
  • Collaboration. Depending on the tool you use, you can easily collaborate on notes with teammates.
  • Miss key information. If you’re typing, you’re not paying attention to the meeting and can easily miss key information.
  • Engage the prospect less. You’re less likely to engage the prospect or truly empathize with them if you’re not actively listening.
Rating: 5/10

Typing might be slightly better than handwriting as you can get the notes more verbatim, collaborate easier, and get them organized and clear more easily.

However, it distracts you from the meeting and stops you engaging fully with the prospect. 

Designating a Minute Writer

Having a designated minute writer to type up notes could solve the focus issue prevalent in the above two methods. However, this method comes with flaws of its own.

  • Improved concentration. The sales reps can focus on the sales call and not on note taking, increasing sales team performance.
  • Higher accuracy. By hiring someone dedicated to writing minutes, the accuracy of the notes will be a lot higher.
  • Expensive. Minute writers aren’t cheap. It’ll be an extra expense for each and every sales call you want notes for.
  • Lacking context. The minute writer likely won’t have the same context as the rest of your sales team, meaning they’re not going to make the same insights that your sales reps might make.
Rating: 5/10

If you have cash to burn, you can bump the rating up, but most businesses are looking for ways to cut costs, not increase them. In reality, hiring a dedicated note taker isn’t feasible for sales calls.

Use an AI Note Taker

An AI note taker can help you take your sales performance metrics up a notch. It takes the notes for you, like a minute writer, but for a fraction of the cost. In fact, some AI note takers and transcription tools are so powerful that they make manual note taking almost obsolete.

If you want to make a specific note, then you still can, but it frees you up for the vast majority of the call as you know that you’ll have an entire transcript, as well as an AI summary of key points afterwards. 

If you opt to use tl;dv as your AI tool of choice, you’ll also get the ability to rewatch the call or jump to timestamps from the AI summary to rewatch exactly what the prospect said, how they said it, and what subtle message their body language said at the same time. You can even use it to schedule recurring reports about any topic you wish across all your team’s calls, or create reels of clips from multiple different meetings, talking about an objection of your choosing. This is excellent for cold calling training, for example.

  • Full transcription. A full transcript is a way to remember the entire conversation.
  • Recording of the meeting. If you use an AI tool that also records the meeting, like tl;dv, then you can rewatch to gather insights on tone and body language, too.
  • Automatically generated summaries. After each call, receive an AI summary of all the key points discussed, as well as any CTAs.
  • Easy to share. Don’t just share notes, share clips of the actual call itself. 
  • Timestamps. Rewatch the note in real-time.
  • Full focus. While the AI takes notes, summaries, and transcripts on your behalf, you can focus your full attention on the conversation.
  • Translations. tl;dv’s transcripts can be translated instantly into over 30 languages.
  • Organization. For expert level organization, you can set up integrations to forward your meeting notes or summaries to your CRM of choice as soon as the call ends. tl;dv has over 5,000 integrations!
  • Requires a subscription. Most AI tools require a subscription for them to take notes and record meetings. tl;dv records and transcribes all your meetings free of charge, but for its advanced organization features, you’ll be set back $20 per recording user per month.
  • Compatibility. Different softwares are compatible with different video conferencing platforms. tl;dv is available for MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet.
  • Can take time to learn. Like all new softwares, you need to put in a bit of effort to get the most out of them.
Rating: 9.5/10

When you compare AI note taking tools with handwriting, typing, or hiring minute writers, it’s easy to see why they’re the standout winner.

If you’re here to find out how to organize meeting notes, AI tools are the best way. Imagine: you have your sales call, focused fully on the prospect, and by the time you’ve ended the call and closed the tab, a full transcript, recorded copy of the call, and meeting notes and summaries are already on your CRM under the prospect’s name. You can’t get organization like that elsewhere. Full stop.

How To Organize Meeting Notes For The Best Results

It’s crucial to ensure meeting notes are organized with clarity so that you can reliably check back in the future. If they’re not coherent, it will only cloud your decision making process. We want to enhance it!

We’ve already pointed out the necessity of an AI note taker, but there’s more to it than that. Customer relationship management platforms can come in handy, and there are a bunch of tips and tricks that you can implement to organize your meeting notes better. 

Let’s start with the CRMs.

Customer Relationship Management Platforms (CRMs)

CRMs can play a pivotal role in assisting you and your team in regards to how to organize meeting notes effectively. They consist of a centralized location to store information about your prospects and customers. And the best thing? You can sync your meeting notes in just one click!

By storing your meeting notes on your CRM, you can get all information about your prospect under one roof. Want their name, email, demographic? It’s all there. Want the notes, summaries, and timestamps of previous sales calls with them? That’s all there too. 😉 

Most CRMs also offer templates for note taking. When used, these can boost the reliability and consistency of your team’s workflows as there won’t be any contrasting styles between different sales reps. This is great for organizing meeting notes because it means all sales reps can find the information they seek, even if they’ve never encountered the prospect personally before.

Here are some industry-leading CRMs that are worth checking out.

  • Salesforce
  • Hubspot
  • Pipedrive
  • Insightly
  • Apptivo

Tip #1: Keep Notes Brief

If you’re manually note taking, which is still possible with most AI note takers, then it’s important to be brief. Too much information can lead to a lack of understanding of key points and important context. Brief notes focus more on the essential points, reducing the overload of info and ensuring the main takeaways from the meeting are understandable. This improves clarity, focus, and speed.

Brief notes also are easily transferable. Other members of the team can read over them and still get a good grasp on the context. It makes reviewing notes a lot simpler for you too. The last thing you want to do after a busy day is wade through pages of messy notes. Keep them short and sweet. 

This is even more true of the 12% of employees in non-managerial positions that attend more than 15 hours of meetings per week. Write anything more than brief notes and your hand will literally burn off.

Makes perfect sense. #meeting #comedy #corporate #meetings #9to5 #firstday

♬ original sound - - AI Meeting Recorder

Tip #2: Take Notes Collaboratively

Get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet by collaborating during your note-taking process. Individuals can interpret points differently, so it’s important that your team are all on the same page with regards to prospects and internal goals. 

If you opt to note-take manually, collaboration is key. This can even be true of AI’s notes. You might want to add something specific that the AI overlooked, like how the prospect looked when asked a certain question, or how they had a sarcastic tone in one of their replies. AI is great, but it doesn’t always pick up on the subtle nuances of humans. By collaborating on your notes, you can make sure this is referenced so as not to misconstrue what the prospect meant.

Tip #3: Always Summarize at the End of the Meeting

While the content is still fresh, get down the most important points that you can remember. One way of doing this, if you’re opting for manual notes, is to jot down a word or very brief sentence that will remind you to go into more detail after the meeting ends.

If you’re using an AI call recorder and you want to make a specific note, you can add a timestamp and then return after the meeting ends to write out your note. This way, you don’t lose your focus during the call.

Tip #4: Be Consistent With Formatting

There’s nothing worse than unformatted notes. They’re hard to skim and it makes for a cluttered and confusing summary.

Pick a format and stick to it. Encouraging your team to structure their note-taking the same way will speed up the review process later. To organize your meeting notes effectively, your team can all follow a specific template with sections such as:

  • Time & Date
  • Attendees
  • Agenda
  • Decisions
  • Action Items
  • Additional

If you implement a specific type of methodology, such as the Cornell Method, the whole team will have a consistent outline for every meeting going forward.

Different Note Taking Methods

If you’re committed to manually taking notes, there are a few methods you need to be aware of. By keeping a consistent method throughout your team, you make it easier to keep notes organized. This is when the magic happens and your sales team flourishes.

Here are 4 note-taking methods to organize meeting notes efficiently.

  • Outline Method. A structured method, where your team can divide their notes based on topics and sub-topics. It’s an organized way of formatting to note all the key points without typing or writing verbatim.
  • Cornell Method. The Cornell Method consists of two columns, one small column on the left and a larger column on the right. The left column will have topics and key ideas noted down from the meeting, whereas the right column will go into more depth about the topics. At the bottom, you’ll have a summary of both columns. It’s a great way to review notes after the meeting.
    For a comprehensive overview of how to organize meeting notes effectively with this method, read this guide to Cornell note taking.
The Cornell Method of note taking is one of the best ways to organize meeting notes efficiently
Source: MyProductiveJournal
  • Mapping Method. The Mapping Method is a spider diagram or mind map with branches that break the central topic down into more details. It’s a visual form of note taking and it’s used to view relationships easily. Spider diagrams are often color-coded for a clearer overview. However, bear in mind this will be nearly impossible to do during the meeting. It’s something that’s best done at the end of a call.
  • Quadrant Method. The Quadrant Method consists of four different square sections. Questions in the top left, general notes in the top right, personal action items in the bottom left, and action items for others in the bottom right. These sections can be altered depending on the context of the meeting. Bill Gates notoriously used the Quadrant Method to record his meeting notes back when in-person business meetings were common. 
Quadrant method to organize meeting notes efficiently
Source: Fireflies

Get Your Notes Organized

If you want to learn how to organize meeting notes efficiently, it’s time to invest in an AI note taker and link it with your CRM. It’s a vital factor for understanding key context and retaining information from your meetings. It will give you the ability to quickly access and act on critical information, imperative for making strategic decisions in the future.

Whether you opt to make the notes yourself using one of the four methods outlined above, or you get AI to make the notes for you so you can focus your full attention on the conversation, we hope this article has pointed you in the right direction regarding organizing your meeting notes.

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