Capturing notes on flip charts usually involves summarizing every
speakerís statements and/or group decisions. This is not the same
as taking formal meeting minutes as minutes can tend to generalize
or only record highlights. But like minutes, these recorded notes
become the official record of what transpired.
and ink markers are one medium to use. White boards, overhead projectors,
or a computer with a projection unit are others.
1. Get the
Purchase a set
of good quality washable markers. Avoid colors like yellow, red,
and orange which are harder to read from a distance. If the smell
is bothersome, get scented pens. You also need flip charts, at least
one stand, and a means of posting sheets once they are filled up.
It is important to check with personnel at the meeting facility
as some have very stringent rules about posting. Tape may be an
option; some rooms have cork runners along the walls to tack up
paper (that means thumbtacks need to be on the purchase list). For
a bit more money, you can buy pads of poster-size self-sticking
At the meeting,
before the discussion starts, tell participants what will happen
to the notes that are captured. Tell them if, after transcription,
they will be mailed out, posted online, filed for future publication,
or a combination of these possibilities.
- Print LARGE
and neatly in short, understandable phrases.
- Use the speakerís
exact phrasing, or if summarizing, the facilitator should verify
with the speaker that the summary communicates the original intent.
- Write each
idea on the flip chart in alternating colors such as green and
- Number each
page and also write the date of the meeting or workshop.
4. Post the
the meeting if the facilitator will also be the recorder or if there
will be a person for each job. If one person is doing both, ask
a volunteer from the audience to post the completed sheets. That
way the flow of conversation is not stopped if the facilitator has
to hang up each sheet. If you are using a white board, some electronic
models are attached to a printer so that the notes can be printed
before the board is erased. If the model is not electronic, or if
you are using an overhead projector, you can take a photograph of
the board or capture the notes on video for transcription later.
Alternatively, someone in the audience will need to be copying what
is captured. White boards and overhead projectors are not the best
tools if a meeting is expected to generate a volume of notes. It
becomes difficult, if not impossible, to refer back to previous
statements. Even using a computer and a projection unit can be unwieldy
to scroll and find specific comments.
After the meeting,
the notes should be typed out verbatim. Do not expand on the thought
or even turn a phrase or fragment into a complete sentence. It is
important that what people saw at the meeting is exactly the same
as what gets printed. Doing this reveals how necessary it is for
the recorder to print neatly and not use abbreviations that may
be understood at the meeting but cannot be remembered a few days
later. These transcribed notes will be a good reference for future
discussions and decisions.