So you have a meeting coming up with a client - amazing! Hopefully, this is a positive experience for you and results in a continued relationship between you both. Client meetings can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re starting out in the freelancing world. Did you know that taking meeting notes is an underrated skill that is highly beneficial not only for people working regular jobs but also freelancers too?
Whether it’s merely a brainstorming session, an interview with a client (or potential one, or simply a team meeting, taking notes on what happened is vital. It’ll help you understand the task at hand before the meeting itself, as well as provide you with the necessary documentation for afterward. So, how do we take great client meeting notes?
Take notes before the meeting
Preparing for the meeting is key to taking great meeting notes. These don’t have to take long, but they will ensure that you will perform your best while meeting with your client. This will help especially if you aren’t that experienced in taking notes, or this is a new client. You should make a meeting outline that includes:
- The meeting date
- The meeting purpose
- Who the meeting is with
- Any deadlines discussed
- Any action items discussed
- What needs to be accomplished during the meeting.
We would also recommend that you take the time to prepare any questions you might have ahead of time. This will make you look great to the client, as well as ensure you feel comfortable in the meeting.
Don’t take down every detail
Word-for-word notes aren’t necessary. Instead, focus on keywords and phrases that will help you clearly understand what was being said at the time. Keep the sentences short and to the point. If it helps, use bullet points instead of full sentences. If you need anyone to repeat a key phrase, simply ask - don’t be afraid to request clarification so that you can make clear notes!
Other examples of important notes to take during a client meeting is action items. Having action items written down will make sure that you don't drop the ball in the future and both you and your client know what needs to be done after the meeting has concluded.
Keep your notes organized and focused
Your notes need to focus on the action required from them, so try and organize them in this way. Record items as they come up, rather than after the meeting so that you don’t have to waste time trying to remember what was said. Be sure to write down all actionable items, decisions, and recommendations. If it helps you reinforce your memory, write out the items in your own words. After the meeting, put the actionable items into a CRM. This can either be your own personal one, or one that is shared by your client. Record all necessary tasks and deadlines, so that it is clear and recorded what is due and expected of you.
Taking notes is a vital skill when freelancing. It can be used for any kind of meeting, from casual to more formal. By following these steps, you can ensure that your meeting goes smoothly, because you have prepared an outline ahead of time, noted any necessary questions, taken the right kind of notes, and followed up the meeting by putting all deadlines into a CRM. It pays to be organized at all times when freelancing, especially when having a meeting with a client!