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How to Take Meeting Notes People Will Actually Use📝 [Templates & Examples]
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How to Take Meeting Notes People Will Actually Use📝 [Templates & Examples]

Templates, tips, and how-to's for taking meeting notes

October 5, 2020
Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with experience spanning a diverse 16 years in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

Productive meetings don’t happen on their own. From technology issues to conversations that go nowhere, most meeting inefficiencies are avoidable with proper planning. 

How you take meeting notes is a prime example.

If you’ve ever taken notes at meeting, you may have struggled to transcribe everything that was said (without actually engaging in the meeting).

Or, you may have written down a few vague bullet points, hoping it would crystallize into… something.

In either scenario, you’re not taking effective meeting notes––you’re just jotting stuff down.

Before we jump into it, these ineffective meeting notes may be the byproduct of ineffective meetings. If you want to take better meeting notes, your first job is to make sure you’re hosting effective meetings.

Your second job is to document what happens during meetings in a way that makes it clear for others to act on. Read on to learn how.

Universal best practices for taking meeting notes

Whether you’re running daily stand-ups or hosting weekly one-on-ones, the following ways to organize your meeting notes can improve note-taking across a range of meeting types.

✅ Keep a record of all attendees

Listing every participant in the room is less about attendance than it is about transparency. If someone who didn’t attend has concerns about a meeting decision, for example, having an attendee list ready will help you to decipher who had a hand in making it.

✅ Note decisions, outcomes, and action items as they occur

There’s no reason to commit important meeting details to memory. Write down decisions, outcomes, and action items as they happen to guarantee clarity as the meeting progresses––and after it’s over.

✅ Forget about capturing everything

You’re likely to miss out on something important––like the group moving on without making a decision––if you try to capture everything word-for-word. When taking meeting notes, follow the Vital meetings framework and focus on what’s needed to move things forward: decisions, actions, and assignments.

✅ Collaborate in one document

Expecting attendees to take their own notes opens the door to misunderstandings. Instead, give everyone access to the same shared document so there’s one source of meeting note truth. Bonus: Participants can focus less on note taking and more on the issues at hand.

✅ Share meeting notes with all stakeholders

Keeping everyone in the loop means sharing meeting notes with folks who weren’t in the room. Just don’t rely on email as your only channel––Slack and other chat programs are great venues since they provide an immediate and direct way for all vested parties to push things forward.

✅ Create meeting note templates for repeatability

Templates afford you the ability to write meeting notes in a predefined meeting notes format. Your meeting agenda is the ideal framework for turning one-off notes into a reusable template. The format is less important than making sure templates are shareable, actionable, and prepared in advance.

Meeting note templates and tips for specific teams

Developing templates for different meeting types helps teams extract the most value from their meeting efforts. With the right meeting note template, an effective meeting yields more than action items––it enables teams to capture critical business insights.

Here are tips and templates for taking better meeting notes across three of your most important teams: sales, customer success, and product

How to take notes for Sales Meetings

Success in sales often comes down to asking the right questions and moving quickly to provide value. The following meeting note templates will help focus your sales meetings so you can uncover what to prioritize moving forward. 

Sales Qualification

Qualifying leads is a time-consuming but necessary step towards building successful customer relationships. Sales teams that simplify the process can make effective judgments without chasing bad-fit deals. Well-structured meeting notes will help keep your qualifying questions on track, even if the meeting veers in a different direction.

Whether your team qualifies via cold call or during appointments, this sales qualification meeting notes template streamlines the process by identifying what matters most when evaluating a lead’s potential to become a long term customer.

Sales Qualification Meeting Notes

Background

Get a high-level overview of the lead to gauge how well they match your ideal customer profile. What do they do? What industry are they in? How big is their company?

Context

How did they find out about us? What compelled them to approach us? Are they a referral? Did they see an ad?

Define Success

What are the prospect's main objectives and ideal outcomes (both qualitative and quantitative)? How does our product help?

Pain Points

What are the prospect's main pain points right now? Why are they seeking a solution now? What prevented them before?

Competition

How are they dealing with these challenges? Do they currently use any competing products or vendors? What other solutions are they evaluating?

Why Our Solution?

What unique value does our solution provide for the prospect? What benefits or features are they most interested in?

Timeline

What is the timeline for implementation? When does the potential customer need a solution in place by?

Budget

What are they currently spending on this issue? Do they have a budget allocated for it? If not, when do they expect they will?

Causes for Concern

Has the potential customer raised any concerns about our offering? What obstacles could crop up and derail implementation? How can we address these?

Other Helpful Notes

Are there any other topics or discussion points you should note and share with colleagues?

Main Takeaways

Do you qualify this lead as an ideal long-term successful customer? Why or why not?

Take Action

What are the next steps? Share key information and actionable steps with your team.

Most importantly, the note template promotes alignment between team members as leads move through the sales funnel.

Sales Conversation

The right series of sales meetings turn qualified leads into customers. But steering leads through your sales funnel requires more than just talk. It demands a thoughtful and systematic approach that connects your prospect’s pain points to your organization’s solution.

This customizable sales conversation meeting notes template is designed to do just that.

Sales Conversation Meeting Notes

Objective

What is the purpose of this meeting? How does it factor into our sales funnel? Is it for initial awareness or to close the sale? List any objectives or main talking points.

Quick Review

Give an overview of where this lead is in our sales process. Mention key context (goals, pain points, how our solution helps, timeline, etc.) that would allow other team members to gain an up-to-date, accurate understanding of the prospect.

Information Shared

What new information or material did you provide the prospect during this sales conversation?

Feedback

How was the new information received by the prospect? What was their response?

Positive Highlights

Note any substantial progress made during this sales conversation.

Risks & Red Flags

Identify any potential issues or concerns that could lead to prospect disengagement or undermine the sales potential.

Other Helpful Notes

Are there any other discussion points you should note and share with colleagues? Mention any changes or new information that could affect the sales or implementation process.

Main Takeaways

Where does the prospect now stand in our sales process? Why?

Take Action

What are the next steps? Share key information and actionable steps with your team and the prospect if necessary.

By balancing discovery questions with relevant information for leads, the template prepares sales teams to strike with purpose––and value––to close more deals. 

Save meeting notes like this to your CRM to stay organized. Share with your team if needed so everyone everyone remains in the loop on important meetings.

Customer Onboarding

The onboarding process plays a crucial role in customer retention, and it's one where you may decide to share your meeting notes with your customer to follow along.

The more quickly your customers gain value from engaging with your product or service, the more likely they’ll be to stick around for the long haul. Sometimes, your meeting note is the first big step in claiming that value.

That’s why having a customer onboarding meeting note template matters: It puts the focus of these critical meetings on helping customers to establish quick wins.

But proper onboarding isn’t limited to the short term. Once customers define what success means, your team can agree on an implementation path that not only identifies risks, but also unearths opportunities. Onboarding may not be a single meeting, but a series of check-ins at critical steps in the launc process.

Customer Onboarding Meeting Notes

Define Success

What are the customer's main objectives and ideal outcomes? How does our product help? What challenges does it solve for them?

Implementation Strategy

Outline your process for achieving these primary goals. Include actionable steps toward time to first value and milestones afterward. The process should lead back to and align with their ideal outcomes as closely as possible.

Important Information

What features, processes, or aspects of your product does the client need to understand during the customer onboarding process? How can we make this as simple and stress-free as can be?

Set Expectations

Set expectations for each step of the customer onboarding process. Are there any potential setbacks or sticky points the client should be aware of? How will our team help?

Introduce Key Players

Introduce or brief the client on key team members they may interact with during their customer onboarding journey. Who can they reach out to with questions or concerns?

Customer Concerns / Risks

Did any issues or concerns arise during the customer onboarding meeting that could jeopardize engagement or retention? How can we mitigate these risks

Opportunities to Increase Engagement

Were any opportunities to increase spend or engagement identified during the initial customer onboarding meeting?

Main Takeaways

Create a list of takeaways for both your team and the customer. Assign actionable steps to your team. Share key information and implementation process with the customer.

Follow-Up

How will we keep the customer in the loop? Should we schedule a check-in?

By providing accountability and transparency, this meeting note template will position your team to drive better results. To ensure team alignment around customer needs––and to set the stage for continued customer success––share it with people who weren’t involved in onboarding.


How to take notes for Customer Meetings

Long-term customer success rests on understanding and responding to your customer’s needs as they evolve. Meetings remain one of the most effective ways to capture customer sentiment. 

To master the art of customer meetings, begin by using the right meeting notes template. From there, act on what you learn to keep those relationships happy and healthy.

Customer Hand-off

The sales-to-customer success hand-off is one of the most important transitions in the customer journey. It's also usually best done in a meeting. Without alignment between teams, customers are often left to fend for themselves––a recipe for disengagement and eventual churn.

Organizations get this meeting right by anticipating and accounting for possible bumps in the road. They use the hand-off meeting as an opportunity to make the transition as smooth as possible.

This process is much easier with a customer hand-off meeting note template. It centralizes the most relevant customer information––unique priorities, work and communication styles, and key KPIs in the note––so that teams can understand clients better, achieve objectives faster, and earn trust quicker.

Customer Hand-off Meeting Notes

Team Information

Customer Success Manager:

Sales Team Member:

Other Key Stakeholders & Their Roles:

Customer Background

Customer Name:

Industry/Sector:

Company Size:

Contract Sign Date:

Contract Length:

Customer Goals

What is the main business objective of the customer? How do they generate revenue?

Why Our Solution?

What challenges or pain points does our product solve for the customer? What benefits or features are they most interested in?

Defining Success

How does the customer define success? What are the short-term objectives (and their steps) to help us get there?

Key Metrics

How do we measure success along the way? What metrics (such as Average MRR, # of Users, and other KPIs) should be discussed?

Work & Communication Style

What is the customer's ideal working relationship? What is the best way to contact them?

Growth Opportunities

How can we tailor the product or experience to better suit the customer?

Red Flags & Risks

Is the customer migrating from a competitor? Why? Were there any hesitations or hiccups encountered during the sales process? How can we ensure these don’t happen during and after the customer handoff?

Next Steps for Team

List all actionable steps and the team member responsible for each one. Refer to "Defining Success" section for help.

Next Steps for Customer

What are the next steps for the customer? Is any training required?

Other Important Notes

Is there any other information worth sharing?

This is another meeting note to definitely save in your CRM. Then anyone can read your meeting note and pick up right where you left off and take meaningful action where it matters the most.

Customer Check-in

Understanding customer needs requires meeting check-ins at regular intervals to see how they’re doing. When done right, a customer check-in meeting empowers your team to note down the information needed to deliver ongoing value.

An effective customer check-in meeting note template helps teams achieve this in a few ways. First, in your meeting note you can identify anything that’s changed since the last check-in. Second, your note template asks customers what isn’t working to determine areas for improvement and risks of churn.

Third, questions in the sample meeting invite customers to co-create goals before your next check-in––things your team can do to reduce or solve for whatever isn’t working.

Customer Check-in Meeting Notes

Review

What has changed since your last customer check-in? Review recent events and key metric updates to gain an up-to-date, accurate understanding of your client.

Positive Highlights

How has our team helped this client achieve their goals since their last customer check-in? How can we improve these factors?

Concerns, Shortcomings, or Risks

Does the customer have any problems with our products or services? Identify all risks that may lead to customer disengagement or churn.

Objectives for Next Meeting

What specific goals does the client want to achieve before the next customer check-in? How can we help?

Opportunities to Increase Engagement / Upsell

Are there opportunities to increase the value we provide this customer?

Key Takeaways

List all insights and actionables worth sharing with other departments.

Summary

In 1-2 sentences, summarize the current state of the customer so other team members can understand our relationship with them. Consider the information above, key metrics, and overall sentiment.

This proactive approach enables teams to itemize client issues and pinpoint solutions faster and with more accountability. Share this meeting note with colleagues via email or chat––or better, sync it with your CRM––to provide everyone with a holistic overview of customer relationships and up the odds of continuous improvement. 

Customer Feedback

Customer feedback meetings are vital to making sound product decisions. Whether you're a customer support member, product manager, or part of the UX research team, notes from these meetings can provide helpful insights into how to improve the user experience.

Acting on this feedback often translates to enhanced customer relationships and increased retention rates. But before your team can take meaningful action, they need to make sure they’re asking the right questions, noting the information that's most valuable, and sharing these notes with the people who matter.

Customer Feedback Meeting Notes

Quick Review

What does the customer use our product for? What challenges does it solve?

Session Objective

What is the purpose of this meeting? Do you want to focus on certain aspects of the product?

General Product Performance

From 1-5, how well does our product suit the customer's needs?

Favorite Benefits

What are the customer's favorite features and benefits at the moment?

Room for Improvement

How can we make the customer's experience better? How would the customer change our product?

Feature Requests

Did the customer have any feature requests? Turn this list into tickets for the appropriate teams right from here.

Bugs

Did the customer mention any product bugs, errors, or issues? Share these with the appropriate teams right from here.

Key Takeaways

In 3 bullet points or less, what were your main insights from this customer feedback session?

Our customer feedback meeting note template helps make each customer conversation more meaningful by framing feedback in context. Share it so your product team, marketing team, and designers can better understand the customer perspective and translate these insights into action.


How to take notes for Product Meetings 

Successful product development requires a combination of customer feedback, quantitative data, and a well-oiled process. Meetings are often the glue that brings these elements together.

To maximize their effectiveness, we offer unique meeting notes templates designed for mission-critical steps to building and shipping features your customers will love.

User research

Your product won’t evolve without user research. And effective user research starts with effective note-taking during the research session. 

To transform the qualitative insights gained from user research sessions into quantifiable trends, it helps to have a template. Our user research meeting notes template simplifies the process, empowering your engineering, design, and product teams to drive impactful, positive change.

User Research Meeting Notes

Purpose

What is the main focus of this session (e.g., general performance, feature requests, product bugs)?

User Background

Relevant user information and demographics to understand the persona of the interviewee.

Response to Scripted Questions

List all planned questions for this particular user research study. Record the interviewee's response to each question.

Positive Highlights

Did the user mention any specific positive aspects in relation to the topic of this session?

Negative Feedback / Concerns

Did the user mention any specific negative aspects in relation to the topic of this session? How could we improve them?

Other Feedback

Did the user provide notable feedback outside the scope of this session that could help other business objectives?

Key Insights

Summarize the key insights that you learned from this user research session. If any are actionable, you can assign them to your team members right from here.

Notes / Quotes for Marketing

Were there any notes, quotes, or anecdotes that may assist marketing in their messaging to other users?

Whether you’re focusing on design enhancements or trying to refine features, this meeting note template can be customized to capture the data you need.

Sprint planning

Sprint planning is a team sport, so any notes here should be collaborative and shared with everyone involved in the sprint. To be successful, product owners, scrum masters, and agile team members must be aligned on everything––from agreeing on achievable goals to turning user stories into tasks.

With so many decisions to make and details to consider, these sessions require robust documentation. Whether you're combing through your backlog to determine what tasks need to be done or fleshing out epics around specific issues, our sprint planning meeting note template puts the focus on what you need to move forward.

Sprint Planning Meeting Notes

Sprint Goal

What is the main purpose of this sprint? Define key objectives below.

Sprint Backlog

What user stories match the sprint goal? Share this with your team prior to the meeting so they can contribute. Break each user story down into individual tasks. Make sure each task has as much information as possible. Include important metrics.

Epics to be Delivered

List out the epics that we're planning to start or deliver during this sprint.

Scope of Work Clarification

Revisit your definition of "done." Decide on the acceptance criteria that will be used to determine when each individual task is complete. Make sure all of this realistically aligns with your team's capacity.

Key Risks & Concerns

What potential issues could come up based on the goal and sprint backlog? How can we solve them? Does the scope of work allot enough time for unexpected issues

Notes and Takeaways

What were the main insights and discussion points from this sprint planning session?

Take Action

Get verbal confirmation from your team about the next steps to be taken. Clarify who's completing them and when they should be done by. Note this information here to share and assign.

Follow-Up

How will we keep in touch and stay up-to-date about progress? Should we schedule a follow-up meeting?

Follow-up the meeting by sharing these notes in Slack, or via email to ensure everyone remains on the same page. And don't forget that as part of this process, you should turn your meeting notes into assignable action items in whatever project management or meeting management software you use.


Product roadmap

In an ideal world, product roadmaps prevent product teams from going off-course. In the real world, competing priorities and misaligned objectives can send product strategy meetings into irrelevant and unproductive territory.

To keep product planning on track, your team must find the balance between the big picture and the seemingly small details that impact it. Our customizable product roadmap meeting note template helps teams organize their thinking around the high-level, long term vision and the steps needed to make it a reality.

Product Roadmap Meeting Notes

Capture Input

Do any key stakeholders have discussion points, insights, ideas, or requests to contribute? Share this template before the product roadmap meeting to gather feedback.

The Big Picture

With stakeholder input, develop a clear product vision by identifying the strategic goals most important to your organization. Examples include customer acquisition, churn reduction, technical improvements, upselling new services, etc.

Identifying Themes

What themes can be formed by grouping together the listed initiatives, features, and epics?

Prioritization

Why is each theme being pursued? What value does each one provide to the customer? Make sure to account for market space, customer data, and potential return on investment for each new project.

Execution Strategy

Break each initiative down into specific tasks, requirements, and deadlines. Confirm that each one is viable by allocating resources accordingly. Assign ownership and designate release dates.

Measuring Success

What metrics will you use to measure progress for each initiative? Define what success looks like.

Key Risks & Concerns

What potential issues could arise? How can we solve them? Does the scope of work allot enough time for unexpected issues?

Main Takeaways

What were the main insights from this product roadmap meeting? Include key decisions made, opportunities, and potential issues that should be shared with key stakeholders.

Visualization

Put together a visual aid for your roadmap. Ensure it communicates product direction and value to key stakeholders. Also, make sure that your engineering team can use it to see details and logistics clearly. Your roadmap should be dynamic so that it can easily evolve and adapt to changes over time.

Take Action

What can be done now? Who is responsible? Clarify next steps, who's completing them, and when they should be done by. Note this information here to share.

Share

List all key stakeholders not present and other departments that this information should be shared with.

Follow-Up

Now that plans have been set in motion, it's time to schedule meetings with other stakeholder parties to align them on what's coming next. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and plan roadmap check-ins for the future.

Tailor it to meet your needs and ensure your team remains on path. Assign action items in a few clicks to keep everyone accountable.

Get more meeting notes examples

All of these sample meeting notes templates come from our growing library of note and agenda templates for all sorts of meetings. You can get every template in the library as a meeting notes Google Doc, meeting notes Word Doc (.docx), or add them to a free Hugo account (Hugo is a free meetings notes app).

Meeting Note Templates


Vital Meetings
Vital Meetings
A methodology for amazing meetings. Say goodbye to boring, long, and unproductive meetings.
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Rob Lennon
Customer Education Lead at Hugo
Marketer and author with experience spanning a diverse 16 years in retail and SaaS startups across healthcare, mar-tech, and ad-tech, and productivity software sectors.

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