Since March of 2020, meetings have looked a bit different. Over the last year, we’ve gone from conference rooms and round tables to Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts, which ultimately means that the way we collaborate and interact is going to be different. Enter remote collaboration tools, more specifically, note taking apps.
Why Taking Notes Is Important in a Remote World
As remote teams look to optimize their time in meetings, utilizing a tool to create an agenda, take notes, and send around follow-ups is critical. Because we can’t communicate face-to-face and in an office, we’re going to need to pass along our thoughts, feedback, and next steps virtually.
“Taking notes” is something that has long been important for successful communication and team-work, but it’s taken on a whole new meaning in our remote world. First of all, setting an agenda before the meeting via note taking apps helps everyone get on the same page. Without those moments before meetings to chat over the agenda in-person, you need to create some sort of format for your meeting. Using note taking apps to prep the team for the meeting, and share the note with everyone beforehand, is essential.
During your virtual meetings, things are also much more likely to get lost in the shuffle. Did you know that over 70% of communication is non-verbal? This means that something you say over Zoom may be taken a totally different way than it would in-person. That’s why taking accurate notes, or designating a team member to record all items discussed, is important. Without notes that reflect the meeting’s contents, it makes things much more difficult in the long run, as you won’t have a log of items discussed to reference in the future, or for anyone who couldn’t make the meeting.
Additionally, taking notes is a critical part of logging next steps and planning overall strategy. When you are able to record your next steps with one of many great note taking apps on the market, and ideally assign them out to meeting attendees, you are actually able to start getting work done in the meeting. This is incredibly impactful and can increase team productivity by over 65%. This also prevents you from having follow-up meetings where everyone is confused and no one knows what they were responsible for — with accurate note taking apps and next steps, you’ll leave the meeting confident in the game plan.
The Best Note Taking Apps On The Market
When it comes to taking notes digitally, finding yourself an excellent note taking application is critical. Here are six of our favorite note taking apps on the market right now.
1. Hive Notes
If you’re a Hive user, Hive Notes is a great way to integrate your meetings with your to-do list. In Hive Notes, you can actually connect a note to a meeting on your Google or Outlook calendar, assign meeting attendees next steps, and easily share the meeting note with everyone after the meeting. This is one of the best note taking apps on the market.
Since Hive Notes syncs up with your calendar, it’ll also send you a reminder in Hive five minutes before your meeting starts prompting you to take notes. If the meeting is recurring, Hive also offers a “notebook” style set-up where you can add multiple entries to the same note. Bonus: real-time collaborative editing is available in Hive Notes, which basically works like a Google Doc so multiple people can add comments at once.
One of the most popular and very traditional note taking apps, Evernote is used by teams around the world who want one central location for all meeting notes and documents. Within Evernote, you can store all of your notes in one place, and sync notes between devices. You can also capture photos to save in your notes, and add checklists for next steps.
Additionally, audio from your meetings can also be recorded and attached to the meeting note, which is an excellent way to ensure people who couldn’t attend the meeting will stay in the loop.
Microsoft’s OneNote is a solid note-taking tool if you’re looking to stay in the Microsoft universe. With OneNote, you’ve got a massive note-pad at your fingertips, which you can write in, add images to, and divide into pages and sections. This is a great tool if you use other Microsoft products, as you can plug in other documents into the note itself, like Spreadsheets or Word docs.
Create lists with a few clicks and revise notes with type, highlight and ink annotations, which are fun to add if you’re using a touch-screen device. You can also share ideas and collaborate with other users in OneNote.
Notion is one of our favorite project management and note taking apps used by teams for a few primary things, including notes, tasks, and team-wide wikis. With Notion you can store notes and docs in List view, which helps you see quickly the most important aspects of a note and its contents. Users can then assign tasks directly from notes with a few clicks. This is one of the top note taking apps that has recently become very popular.
Team wikis help you store information like company policies, contact info, and engineering practices. You can even use emojis here, which makes wikis a bit more fun!
Hugo is a centralized place for all notes, meetings, and tasks. This is a relatively newer product on the market, and is basically a central place to gather everything related to any upcoming meetings. In Hugo, you can see a general overview of the meetings on your calendar, as well as any tasks that are related to them. You can also set reminders to alert you to any upcoming meetings so you never forget to set an agenda or prepare.
Hugo also helps you prep agendas with one-click templates and you can take in-meeting notes with both internal and external participants. Hugo is one of our favorite note taking apps for its futuristic and advanced capabilities. Try it if you’re tired of your basic notepad.
Simplenote is one of our favorite note taking apps for those who want something straightforward and simple, as the name suggests. Simplenote allows you to sync all notes across devices, and you can view past changes in markdown mode. Additionally, you can easily share lists/notes and meeting items with other people, as well as publish your notes online.
Bonus: Simplenote is free!
Fellow is on our list of best note taking apps because of its integration into each individual’s workflow. Within Fellow you can build collaborative meeting agendas, record action items, and plot out actionable next steps. In Fellow, you can start by applying a template to your meeting note, then build your agenda. From there, you can assign next steps to meeting attendees and exchange feedback.
There you have it. Six of our favorite note taking apps to help you and your team collaborate effectively and efficiently while working remotely. If you’ve got any other tools that you think we should add to this list, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.