Even before ‘lockdown’ and actually for as long as I can remember, I would describe myself as a notetaker are you ?.
Whether note taking is for work and in meetings, at a conference, on a webinar or workshop, brainstorming ideas for work and home, or even reading a book and making notes on key parts, note taking is an art, and if done correctly and can reap huge benefits.
I think I mentioned this in my blog about the power of the purple highlighter, and here you can remind yourselves of how using a highlighter helps me memorise key points and turns text into visual reminders.
So, how many times have you listened to a presenter and forgotten the key things that they mentioned? I would hazard a guess for most people, this is many times. Taking notes is a disciplined approach to learning and its practice will help you decipher your notes so that you remember in the way that you learn best, what you need to retain both visually and in the depth of your retained information in your brain, in order to recall at a later date.
I have noticed that I am in a minority of those who take notes in meetings ( and over Zoom ) and it always surprises me that people don’t. I use a combination of notebooks, paper and on my iPad, using my Nebo App.
Whatever the method, I use the same framework ( that works for me ) to ensure that my notes are coherent, ensuring that I make use of headings, sub headings ( some underlined or highlighted ) paragraphs, indents, quotes, topics, questions, actions, diagrams, numbered pages, dividers and separate pads or saved workbooks on my iPad. This all helps easy retrieval of notes or meetings at a later date.
Recalling this information is so useful if what you have read or learnt could be turned into a talk, workshop, webinar or lead magnet of your own. These notes will help block the information into sections, topics and heanding to make it flow.
Here are some ‘top tips’ to help you on your note taking journey, whether you want to improve note taking or want to just start. Remember writing notes should be how it suits you and so that it suits the way you retain information. Remember, it is ok to make mistakes and cross things out, and if you are typing then they can be rectified by delete!
Writing & Reading Notes:
- Make sure you don’t have any distractions (phone, apps open e.g. Slack and Skype – turn off notifications !)
- Keep separate notebooks – for example for Networking meetings, 121 calls, workshops, webinars, brainstorm ideas etc.
- Use separate pages, number and date pages and write on one side of the page
- Colour Code the note types.
- Use Bullet points and abbreviations glossary (symbols, acronyms & abbreviations) that suits the way you work. (keep a reference of these)
- Make your sentences brief, neat ad readable.
- There are some great note taking apps that are available for iPhone, iPad and laptops. The benefits of going digital is that you can add images, share, add links and create forms and checklists and save securely in the cloud.
- Add visual clues in either a diagram, circling or underlining text. You could also try the mapping method which looks like a flowchart or spider’s web between topics and subtopics. There are many different types and here are a few – Mural, Lucidchart, Edrawsoft, Atlassian, Mindmup
- There are many other note taking methods and one is the Cornell Method, used at Universities where notes are divided up on a page for taking notes, cues and summaries.
- Highlight key text using fat and thin sides of the highlighter (see the power of the purple highlighter)
- Note Actions and add summaries.
- Add visual clues in either a diagram, circling or underlining text.
The most important thing about note taking is that you are doing for a specific reason and that is there to refer back to. Do make sure that they are easily retrievable with a heading and tagged correctly in online files (name, date etc) so that you can remember the topic and refer back to the notes and even add to them.
Take time over them so that you can remember the content and reflect on what you have learnt, especially if you intend to share this.
I use a combination of the methods and types of note taking, paper, notebook and online, depending on whether it’s a quick chat with someone, a brainstorm of something that I want to keep adding to or a longer piece of work like a blog or 121 discussion. I often use shortened words and abbreviations and some that are my own.
The important thing is to keep doing it and it will become a natural part of your day and over time it will be your creative way of retaining useful and essential information.
Remember: NOTE TAKING IS ONLY USEFUL IF IT SERVES A PURPOSE LATER and YOU ACTION AND APPLY WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT.
You have nothing to lose, so give it a try and I am sure you will be hooked like me.
I would love to know your thoughts, so do leave a comment for me below.
Thanks for reading this BLOG and HAPPY NOTE TAKING!
Thanks to Paula Massey of Paula Massey Photography for the image.