Six tips for taking effective notes

During your career, you will be involved in thousands of meetings. There will always be things you need to remember and no one has a perfect memory. This is why you must take notes during meetings. There are several benefits. You’ll remember important details (such as things you agreed to do) and make a good impression on your manager by doing something that others don’t do. You will look more professional and develop strong communication skills because you will, if necessary, be able to refer accurately to things that people have said. 

As well as taking notes from meetings, you can also bring notes to meetings. For example, if there are questions you intend to ask, write them down. In the meeting, keep your notebook in front of you so you won’t forget them. 

Here are the keys to taking good notes.

  1. Get A Notebook
    This sounds obvious. But the point is that you should get a dedicated notebook — one that you only use for taking notes. Don’t just use folders you use for other things or loose pieces of paper. You can choose any size or style you like so long as it’s practical to carry around. Don’t take notes on your laptop during meetings — it’s distracting for other people.


  2. Bring Your Notebook And Something To Write With To All Meetings


  3. Three Essential Points
    At every meeting, at least make notes about:
    a) Who was at the meeting.
    b) The three most important points arising from the meeting. 
    c) Anything you need to do after the meeting or follow up on.


  4. Practise
    In meetings, don’t sit and stare at your notes all the time. Participate in the meeting, give people your attention and maintain eye contact with them. Always have your notebook open in front of you with your pen in your hand. Alternate between taking notes and paying attention to the other people in the meeting. Like anything else, you’ll become better at taking notes with practice. Start by taking some notes (perhaps just the three ‘essentials’ above). Gradually, develop the habit of taking more detailed notes.
  1. Review Your Notes
    Review your notes right after the meeting. Correct small mistakes, add extra details and rewrite anything that isn’t clear. Remember, when you refer back to your notes later, your memory of the meeting itself will have faded. Short notes and abbreviations that may seem clear now, while you can still remember the meeting, might not seem so obvious later.
  1. Make Notes Before The Meeting
    If there are questions you want to ask in a meeting, or points you want to check, write them down in your notebook ahead of time and bring your notebook with you.


Topic: Communication Power