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Last month, I was assigned note taking duty at work. Ugh! Capturing meeting minutes is tough because it reduces my ability to engage in the discussion. Plus, my handwriting is the worst these day. Seriously, though, it’s awful.
I used to take pride in my handwriting. Back in elementary school, I spent a considerable amount of time perfecting it. Remember those cursive books? I remember staying up late to finish up one workbook, so I could start on the next level the following day. And so would my peers. Competitive nerds, I guess you can say.
Is cursive even taught in school anymore? Or have computers completely taken over? The only time I write something by hand now is to take notes during an in-person meeting. Well, and to sign my name (which is now also incomprehensible).
Change is inevitable I suppose. I’m not resistant to it, but it takes me a while to get up to speed. Learning to type on a computer was hard for me at first. Maybe because I started learning this skill in middle school. These days, kids are learning to type on a smartphone as soon as they learn to spell. I can type as fast as the rest of them now, not to worry.
The majority of my written communication is via computer. Obviously, I’m a blogger after all. Hello, blogosphere! Do you even blog yet? Check out Millennial Money’s free email course that will walk you step by step on how to set up a million dollar blog.
Up until recently, however, I would go back to my roots and take meeting notes by hand (if at all). Ok, I’ve tried taking notes on a computer in the past, but I spent most of the time trying to format the document. Most of the discussion was missed by the time I was actually able to type my thoughts.
But things change.
I’m excited to share with everyone that I’m finally on the cutting edge of technology. Now, I take notes on my computer with Dropbox Paper. No joke, it is the best free tool, with the best templates to collaborate and compile real-time meeting minutes.
The Cloud Is Your Server
Everyone is collaborating remotely these days. This reality makes it harder for companies to work on centralized servers. The cloud is all the rage these days.
I’m willing to bet that most people know Dropbox primarily as a file storage company. It’s true they do offer cloud storage and file synchronization. This service makes it possible to access files no matter where you or your coworkers are located. However, there’s more.
Enter, Dropbox Paper! Dropbox Paper (aka Paper), is a collaborative document-editing/project management service developed by Dropbox and launched in January 2017. Sure, some might compare Paper to other online or word processing software. There are many similarities. However, one key difference is that it was designed for electronic viewing, not for printing. Kinda ironic that it’s called, Paper!
Keep Everyone On The Same Page In Real-Time
Grant and I live across the country from one another. The great thing about Paper is that we can work on the same document remotely. We can also build on each other’s notes in real time when we are on a conference call with sponsors.
Not only can you co-edit documents in real time, but it works across most every the device on the market these days. With Paper, you can easily see who has read the doc and who has made what edits/additions. There is no confusion who is looking at the work product while you are. Most importantly, it is clear what part of the document you are working on, or they are working on.
Sweet Meeting Minutes and Agenda Template
Capturing meeting minutes is easy with this template.
The meeting minutes and agenda template comes with pre-formatted text as a guide. This allows the user (or users!) to fill in the attendees, agenda, discussion, and action items as soon as your meeting begins. No more struggling with formatting like before.
This cloud-based template makes sharing simple. You can invite anyone you want to work on the meeting notes with you. No need to save to a hard drive, nor need to attach it to an email. Just invite your meeting attendees into the doc.
After you invite your team to the doc, they can view the notes and add comments. This means you can co-edit the notes in real time! If they have editing privileges, a team member can update text or even add a photo of the whiteboard in the conference room.
Paper’s meeting minute template is particularly helpful when assigning action items and due dates. You can even link the meeting to your calendar.
Formatting That Flows!
Most of us grew up reading words from a physical book or an 8.5″ x 11″ printed page. Up until recently, most word processors were designed for printing. Today, paper (actual, printed paper) is being replaced by electronic documents stored on the cloud. 99% of what I write will never be printed. Why do we need to stick with software designed for the printed page?
Dropbox focused on design and electronic user-friendliness when they developed the product.
One cool feature is that the toolbar is absent until you select text. As a result, more of the screen is available. It’s a super lightweight interface. Another sweet feature is the photo gallery. When you paste multiple images into the document, it’s easy to compile them to form a gallery. You can scroll through the gallery when clicked.
5 Tips to Improve Your Meeting Minutes
1. Remember to set up your doc prior to the meeting
Dropbox’s meeting minute template was designed to help organize goals and help get all attendees on the same page before the meeting. Since the template is a Paper doc, you can link calendar events and control who has editing privileges.
2. Invite your coworkers to collaborate.
You don’t have to be the only one preparing the meeting notes. Now, your whole team can work on them together in real time. Splitting up tasks makes things easier, and more efficient.
3. Link to other documents
You can add links to background information within the meeting minutes to get your team up to speed prior to the meeting. This will provide additional context.
4. Include multiple media types
When taking notes, if there is a picture or document referenced, you can embed them within the meeting minutes on the fly. Additionally, you can take a photo of the whiteboard, or even of post-it notes, with the Paper mobile app.
5. Action Items and Assignments
Assign actions with ease. Easily create checkboxes for each to-do item. You can assign an action to a team member during the meeting, and they can go in and check off the to-do list once complete.
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.