Why I record my meetings with my doctoral committee

Just sharing what I’ve learned about the value of recording committee meetings; this has proved to be especially important when meetings aren’t 1-on-1 and there’s lots of chatter and sometimes varied perspectives (as is the case for me with three members of my PhD committee).

Taking notes in this scenario just doesn’t often work for me. Sometimes, I have the attention span of an excited puppy…

Plus, we can talk! And I struggle to take detailed notes and remain present. I do still jot a couple of notes into my meeting minutes, but trying to keep up with listening to three other people talking (and asking me questions and thinking) can feel overwhelming. Further, I need to be and feel fully present because my committee meetings don’t contain a lot of information-transmission or “telling” but involve a lot of probing and clarifying type of feedback and, of course, discussion of next steps (probably like yours!).

So, with their permission, I video record my meetings. This has proved to be so valuable because, in the moment, critical feedback can sting, folks. But the ability to listen to the feedback at a later date can often take the bite out of the interaction.

In fact, I journaled about my last committee meeting; in short, it felt incredibly challenging in that moment & I felt that emotion in my body, it felt hard to focus & I felt I couldn’t articulate myself and ultimately, when we’d wrapped, I left the meeting feeling deflated…

But I went back to recording a few days later and seeing and hearing the meeting from from this point of view provided me with different perspective. My feelings at the time are also valid, but I feel that having the meeting recorded allows me to tackle critical feedback at a later date when it’s not so raw. Recording also allows me to return to and summarise the meeting’s next steps with precision.

Do you record your meetings? I’d love to hear your experiences on why/why not!