Meeting Tips

Why Google Docs for Meetings Sucks

Google Docs’ time has run out! Specifically in meetings (to record the minutes, next steps, etc.). We all loved its real-time collaboration and how easy it is to share in 2-clicks.

Google Docs’ time has run out!

Specifically in meetings (to record the minutes, next steps, etc.).

We all loved its real-time collaboration, but with more and more tools built specifically for meeting notes, Google Docs doesn’t seem so hot anymore.

Indeed, it wasn’t built for the purpose of meetings.

Actually, Google Docs for meetings really sucks. Here’s why:

Hard to find past meetings notes

We’ve all seen the 50-page Google Doc in which you write the minutes of each meeting in the same document – not very efficient!

And if you happen to have a separate Google Doc for each meeting – it ends up being an endless list in Google Drive.

Finding out what we discussed 5 weeks ago involves lots of scrolling and is just tedious.

Poor action follow-ups

Google Docs doesn’t handle ‘tasks’ like Asana does. At best you can comment and tag someone but that’s it.

If there are actions and next steps coming out of the meeting, they live within the notes in Google Docs. Worst: If you have an ‘action tracker’ inside your Google Doc, you have to revisit it every time you want to update it – it doesn’t automatically create the action/task in your Asana or Trello.

It’s up to each individual to remember them and action them in time.

Unless your team is off the accountability chart, some of the meeting actions are bound to get lost!

Siloed information

Your notes & actions in Google Docs can’t be ‘attached’ to a specific meeting in your calendar, unless you manually add the Google Doc link in the agenda.

They also can’t easily be shared by email to the participants or stored in other tools like Notion.

All your meeting notes end up being poorly archived in Google Docs, making it harder to find and access them.

Cumbersome guest access

Meeting participants don’t automatically have access to the Google Docs notes, despite being listed on your calendar event. You have to manually send them the link or add it to the calendar invite.

Also, Google Docs has no concept of private vs shared notes within the same document.This means that, if you have a shared Google Doc, you need to write personal notes in a second Google Doc or somewhere else.

No end-to-end meeting experience

Google Docs only barely covers one stage of the entire meeting journey: note taking.

Things like scheduling, importing the agenda, keeping track of time, making sure that everybody contributes, sending a meeting recap are important elements of the meeting but can’t be done through Google Docs.

A new generation of tools

Meeting-first tools, like, are solving all these problems, effectively replacing Google Docs for meetings. For example:

Calendar synced: easily attach information (like your notes) to each event in your calendar. This gives you a central repository for all your notes and actions across all your meetings, organised per your calendar.

Meeting history: easily link the notes & actions of recurring meetings or meetings with the same guest list, making it easy to show everything that was discussed across multiple meetings all in one place.

Meeting task management: In the meeting, next steps can be created as actions and assigned to someone in the meeting, just like a task management tool. It’ll also follow-up automatically by email or in Slack when an action hasn’t been done by its owner before the next meeting.

Meeting focus: being meeting-first, product development of such tools takes into account all the elements of a meeting: agenda, time, location, videoconference, guests, information, etc and help you better manage these elements.