Are the notes from your most recent meeting hard to follow or filled with useless information?

A women looking at a computer in frustration. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

TheCornell note-taking method can help you streamline your notes and identify any items requiring follow-up. This is an excellent method if you need to document or inform others of what was covered in the meeting.

Cornell Notes

The Cornell note-taking method (aka "Cornell Notes") breaks your paper up into 3 sections:

  • the notes

  • the cue

  • the summary

    A paper showing the 3 sections of the Cornell note-taking method: the cue, note,s and summary.

Less is more when using the Cornell note-taking system!

The goal is to summarize, not write down everything that has been said.

1. The Notes Section

The notes section is where you'll outline the contents of the meeting.

Jot down the main topics and ideas in this section.

A person talking notes at a desk. Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Remember, the goal is to capture the main ideas and important information, not write everything you hear.

2. The Cue Section

In the cue section, you'll note theitems that require follow-up.

Do you need to check the company’s handbook for specific procedures, schedule a meeting, or reach out to another team member? Document those commitments in the cue section.

A notebook that shows examples of action items.

Using the cue section for action items makes it easy to recall what you need to complete before the next meeting.

3. The Summary Section

In the summary section, you'lloutline the main ideas from the meeting in just a couple of sentences.

Imagine that you need to text your manager about what happened in the meeting. Your summary needs to be short and to the point without missing important information.

Person texting

When you reference this section, you'll be able to recall the main points of the meeting and the direction moving forward.

Give it a Try!

Let's pretend the information you read was just shared in your meeting. Which of the following statements creates the best summary?

A person highlighting notes.

A. This note taking method is great when you need to share information with others and follow-up before the next meeting.

C. The Cornell note-taking method uses notes, cues, and summaries to help you recall information. It improves follow-up and content sharing.

B. Cornell Notes help organize information and improve follow up by clearly identifying sections of the meeting notes.

D. Cornell note-taking is the best method to use when creating notes in meetings because each section has a designated purpose, which makes it easy for others to understand.


Select the best summary:

Take Action

Working on a computer in a meeting Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

If you want to get organized in your next meeting with the Cornell note-taking method, try these ideas:


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