9 Thoughts for Exercise Note-Takers

Individuals taking notes during an exercise can do a much better job if they’re given a good briefing on what to expect.

We have 9 top considerations/tips for briefing the note takers in advance of a business continuity or crisis management exercise to improve their output and make your report writing easier.

  • Make sure at least one person per geographical location is allocated the role of ‘note taker’.  The facilitator cannot facilitate and note take at the same time.  Give the note taker as much notice as possible so they can chose how they’ll approach it (where to sit, whether to type or write, and so on)
  • A suitable note taker is able to listen to the activity/feedback and create notes that will enable the creation of the Action List and the Post-Exercise Report
  • If those who’d usually take notes during a real incident are available (and if they aren’t doing this as part of the simulation) , ask them to take on this job: the familiarity of what goes on will be useful to them
  • The notes don’t have to be particularly well formatted, so long as they make sense and are easy to read: they will be used to create the Action List and Post-Exercise report, not emailed out as they are written
  • Decide whether notes are required during the whole session, or just when participants are providing feedback to group
  • Ensure actions are prioritised in the note taking activity – actions that aren’t captured are often forgotten after the exercise
  • Ensure the note taker is able to note the names or initials of who provided particular comment or actions: sometimes this means creating a little diagram of the room with them which can be done by the delegates if you make populating the diagram the way they ‘sign in’ to the session
  • Warn the note taker if there’s a particular point in the proceedings during which there will be a heavy note taking requirement (often during the plenary session)
  • Consider whether notes can be typed straight onto a computer, so they’re available to you in a usable online format as soon as the session finishes
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