On the Usefulness of Meeting Notes and Recordings

When’s the last time you’ve reviewed meeting notes? Do you watch recordings of meetings you weren’t able to attend?

I’ve noticed a trend in the crypto community toward taking meeting notes. Sometimes it’s seen as the first step toward implementing a project management process.

I don’t review meeting notes much. I don’t recall ever watching a recording of a meeting.

Too Much Information

Most notes I’ve seen look like transcripts of a conversation. I don’t find meeting notes that act as transcripts of meetings very helpful. I’d put recordings in the same category.

To me, they provide too much information. Also, if I wasn’t able to prioritize the meeting in my schedule to attend, it’s very unlikely I’ll be able to do so after the fact.

Too much information can be worse than having no information. Having too much information can result in wasted time and attention. We may search and search through troves of information, only to find the information we need isn’t actually there.

The Importance of Meeting Outcomes

I do pay attention to meeting outcomes, though. These outcomes are -

  • Decisions
  • Actions
  • Open questions

Recording decisions is critical. What was decided, by whom? What were the objections?

Doing this helps establish a solid foundation from which progress can be made. Not doing this causes teams to spin in endless “do loop” discussions, at the expense of moving forward.

Recording actions is necessary too. Who agreed to do what, by when? Doing this establishes a culture of accountability.

We all need some help here, since, despite our best intentions, our “so busy” culture usually leads many of us to take on more than we can handle, or at least keep straight in our heads. It helps us prioritize too. Not doing this results in lots of good intentions, yet very little follow-through.

Recording open questions is beneficial too. Doing this helps us remember the unknowns. It also establishes continuity within discussions, resulting in more effective decision making.

Not doing this results in bumping into the same unresolved questions, over and over and over again. Eventually this feels frustrating and can create a feeling a hopelessness.

Focused Notes are Useful

If you’re taking meeting notes, I’d encourage you to focus on logging decisions, actions and open questions. To me doing this is enough. If you still take transcript-like notes, I’d encourage you to highlight the decisions, outcomes and open questions in a summary section


P.S. - This post was first published in my free Blockchain PM newsletter.

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