“Yes, yes, I wrote everything down!!”… and then you find out that not only did they not write it all down, but what they wrote is a total mess!
Taking notes can be crucial because they can help you to complete tasks better in future, go back to them and remind yourselves, plus they can sometimes give you inspiration for new ideas.
Knowing all this and knowing the importance of taking notes, let me share with you some basic information on how to take proper notes during meetings or events:
• Way of writing — have your own way of writing, which should of course be legible to you (don’t end up with hieroglyphs that even you can’t understand afterwards);
• Revision — it’s essential that after the meeting or event you re-write the notes you took into a notebook that you have specially for that purpose. Which means, they should now be neater and more easily readable than the first notes;
• Structure — when you take notes, you must have some structure in the way you write. Connect things with arrows, add paragraphs, but it all has to be structured. A chaotic jumble will only lead to even more chaos later;
• Questions — if the other person is talking too fast, ask them to slow down a bit, but not to stop completely. Find a good way and a good time to ask them;
• How to take notes — nowadays, you can also use electronic devices to take notes, but if you’re in a meeting you should let people know you’re using the phone for that reason, so they don’t think you’re texting someone. ☺
• When — you need to know when to take notes. The point is not to write down everything the speaker says, but just what is most important. You’ll need a little bit of experience to figure it out, so you’ll improve over time;
• Summarising — if the meeting or the place you’re in allows you to do so, take a moment to summarise your notes at the very end, to make sure you understood everything correctly. This is so you don’t end up with a situation in which they said one thing, but you wrote down something else, which could be disastrous!
• Preparation — one final tip, never enter a meeting empty-handed. Always be prepared with a notebook and pen, and you should also be ready with questions and materials for the meeting.
Or, as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said recently: “Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments — if we hadn’t opened our notebooks, they would never have happened.”
Wishing you success with the changes to come,
Member of the Team
*If you want to read the original interview follow the link.
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