Taking accurate notes during a conference call can ensure that you have a clear record of what was discussed. It is better to take notes in as much detail as possible while listening than to try and decide what is important while listening. You can always go back and pull out the important highlights later, but a seemingly insignificant detail presented early could have greater importance later in the conversation.
Many conference call services allow you to record the calls. If you are recording, you need to alert all participants that the call is being recorded at the start of the call. Having a recording of the call allows you to go back and review the call as many times as you need to, ensuring you don't miss important details. The methods to which you can record the call vary by provider. Request instructions for recording conference calls from your provider.
Make note of who is on the conference call when the call begins. Pay attention to who says what during the call and attribute important statements to the person who made them in your notes. Keep track of any tasks or projects individuals take responsibility for during the call and make note of who has which assignment. If discussed, also take notes on what each assignment entails.
Keep track of each different topic of conversation as well as the sub-topics within each. If there is a call agenda, make note of which topics were covered and what was discussed. The agenda can serve as a rough outline for your notes. Make note of any updates, news, solutions and ideas presented during the call. Natural conversation can jump around quite a bit, but trying to format the notes in order by topic will be helpful for those reviewing them.
Your original notes likely look jumbled after completing the call. Organize the notes into sections relating to the various topics covered in the call. Identify who was speaking when reformatting your notes. You could also include a brief summary highlighting what was accomplished or decided during the call, or the major points of discussion. Include this summary at the beginning of the document. You can also create another section listing what tasks were assigned during the call and who is responsible for them. This allows senior officials a quick reference for what happened during the call, without having to read the detailed notes.