How to take notes effectively in english meetings?


As internationalization progresses, many people may feel that the number of meetings in English is increasing, such as meetings with foreign-affiliated companies and meetings with foreign staff.
Here, we will introduce how to take notes in English, points to note, and phrases that can be used so that you will not be impatient even if you are in charge of notes.

What is the purpose of taking notes?

The notes are taken at the meeting so that the facts such as "what is talked about at the meeting, what is decided and what is not decided, who is in charge of what and what to do in the future" are cleared and shared with the concerned parties...
By taking the notes, the parties concerned will be able to understand the decisions and implementation items at the meeting, and the project will be able to proceed smoothly.
The purpose of taking notes in English is the same. Keep in mind what the notes are for, and make the notes easy for anyone to see.

Preparing to make notes in English

It is important to prepare before taking the notes. Before taking the notes in English, let's confirm what you need to prepare.

Prepare a device to record voice

First, decide what to use to take the notes. Generally, things like voice recorders, personal computers, tablets, and smartphones can be considered. It's a good idea to check with the organizer, as the optimal ones will differ depending on the meeting, such as bringing in a smartphone is NG or a computer for sharing slides is essential. In some cases, it may be good to have an application that can input voice text.
In addition, troubles such as sudden breakdowns may occur during the meeting, so it is safe to prepare multiple items such as notebooks in case of emergency.

Confirm the agenda in advance

Before the meeting, check the agenda for what to discuss. It will be easier to prepare and organize information if you go to the meeting with the purpose of the meeting in mind.

Prepare format

In the notes, there are certain items that must be included, so prepare a format for the notes in English. After that, fill in the format during the meeting and the notes will be completed.

Items required for English notes and examples of phrases that can be used

Here are some of the things you need to know when creating a format for English notes.

Title of the Meeting

First, list the title of the meeting. Write it briefly so that you know what the meeting is about.
For example, "Strategic Marketing Meeting" for a marketing strategy meeting and "Planning Meeting" for a planning meeting.

Date and Time

It is also important to include the date and time of the meeting. For example, if the meeting was held on January 1, 2019, write the date and time as follows.

June 1, 2019 (or 1 June 2019) 10:00 am --11:30 am (JST)

For example, If it is held in Japan, it is a good idea to add "JST", which represents Japan Standard Time. If there are participants from more than one country, such as in a web conference, list the time for each.


Keep a record of where the meeting was held. Enter the name of the meeting room, such as Meeting Room A or Conference Room 1.

Participant / Absent Names (Attendees / Members Not Present)

Be sure to record not only the names of the participants but also the names of the absentees in the notes. This will make it clear to whom you need to share information after the meeting.
The title and department name may be added to the name, and the title may be omitted. The main English job titles and department names are as follows.

Main job title

  • President _
  • Director (Director, Officer)
  • General Manager
  • Manager _
  • Section Chief

Main department

  • Sales Department
  • Accounting Department
  • Planning Department
  • Public Relations Department
  • General Affairs Department
  • Purchasing Department
  • Engineering Department

Purpose of Meeting

The main purpose of the meeting is often decided before the meeting, so check it in advance or record it as it will be explained at the beginning of the meeting.
Try to write it concisely, such as "To + infinitive + ◯◯". For example, phrases such as "To discuss", "To brainstorm", and "To define" are often used.

To discuss cost reduction


The agenda is the agenda to discuss with the meeting schedule. Usually, the agenda is often notified in advance to interested parties, so it's okay to copy the notification.


Points and decisions are the central and most important items in the notes. Enter the points of the meeting and what has been decided.
Try to write "concisely and clearly" so that the reader can understand it immediately. Summarize things like "Agree on" and "Decide".

Agree on the schedule attached Decide
to reduce the expenses by 15 %

Agenda Notes (Notes)

Write down the dialogues and points that do not apply to your decisions but should be recorded in the agenda memo.
In English notes, it is not necessary to record the progress of the meeting, only the conclusions are summarized in the notes. However, you may be wondering whether it is an opinion or a decision. In such cases, record it in the proceedings memo.

TODO, future schedule (Action Items / Next Steps)

Finally, specify the future schedule and what each person in charge should do, such as the schedule of the next meeting.
For example, for the next meeting schedule, enter as follows.

Next Meeting: June 15, 2019 11:00am - 12:00am (GMT).
(The next meeting will be in USA time from 11:00 to 12:00 on June 15, 2019)
Mr. Yamada will send the schedule by June 5, 2019.
(Mr. Yamada will contact you about the future schedule by June 5th)

Make a note of what each person should do and what they need to do before the next meeting. It is also important to specify "who" and "by when" to take action for each task.

All: Send related documents attached by email, due

Points to take notes in English

If you decide to take the notes in English, you may end up with a "record of remarks" as much as you can to record.
In order to create an easy-to-understand notes, let's keep the following points in mind.

Keep the text concise!

The point of taking notes in English is to avoid ambiguous expressions and try to describe the facts as simply and clearly as possible.
Use as short a phrase as possible, not a long sentence, and itemize it.

To outsource some Manufacturing to Vietnam
train employees on using the new software by

Be aware of 5W1H

Let's review the standard phrases often used in English notes. While being aware of 5W1H, make sure that you have described the necessary elements without getting them.

Action items are as follows: (The items to be implemented are as follows)
The related documents were attached by email.
twoWhy ・ Why
Because the sales decreased by 10% year-on-year ...
3When ・ When
The due date is June 3. (The due date is June 3)
The reception will start on Friday, June 7 at 7:00 pm. (Reception starts at 7:00 pm on Friday, June 7)
The next meeting will be held on July 1, 2019. (The next meeting will be held on July 1, 2019.)
The meeting place is Conference Room C.
Ms. Tomoko will announce the time and place of the next meeting by next week.
The Planning Department is responsible for the briefings.
There will be two reviews before the website is launched.

Once created, have participants circulate and check

As soon as you have compiled the notes, circulate the file to the meeting participants to make sure the content is correct. If possible, send it on the day of the meeting.
If you need a signature, please make a signature line in the notes.

Please find attached the notes of the meeting. Please be sure to check them by the deadline

Minutes in English are okay if you are conscious of the points without rushing!

When you hear the notes in English, some people may be worried about how well they can do it. English notes require you to write the facts concisely, so it's okay if you format and fill in the information.
Let's master the points of the English notes and increase the playing field.