Techniques for Effective Note-Taking

Team meetings, conferences, training… there are many occasions when taking notes is sometimes necessary. Here are a few tips to make this tedious task easier and more effective.

According to a post from Express Entreprise, there is a big gap between oral and writing rates. In fact, “the oral rate is 150 words per minute while the rate for writing is 27 words per minute.” So it’s important, when taking notes, to listen attentively and only retain the broad ideas and clear and detailed phrases. This will let you pay attention to about 80% of the speech.

Preparation is very useful for taking effective notes. Try to find out about the content in advance, whether the agenda of a meeting, the workshop topics of a symposium or themes to be addressed by the speakers. Preparation ahead of time lets you familiarize yourself with the expected jargon. You will then be ready on the day. Similarly, make yourself a lexicon of abbreviations, which will save time when writing.

The right tools, the right techniques

To be comfortable while taking notes, it is important to choose the appropriate medium. Do you prefer manual writing? Choose a notebook in a format that you like, ideally compact and small to avoid losing sheets that could come loose. Use just one pen to avoid juggling several while writing. Are you in the digital age? Make sure your note-taking applications or software are up to date and functional. Turn on auto-correct, which makes proofreading easier.

When listening actively and attentively, there is no need to remember everything. On the other hand, it is important to write down what cannot be memorized, in the form of big ideas. For example, the figures, dates, names.

Quickly rework your notes after the event. In a post in Figaro Student, it was said that “our memory forgets close to 80% in the 24 hours following acquisition of new information.” So it is important to quickly put your ideas in your notes in order to avoid losing them. There are several techniques to achieve this: colour coding, grouping by theme or chronology, summary sheets, etc.

Finally, respect your style. There’s no need to try to copy the speaker’s exact words. Writing the main points in your own language will help you to be effective and able to keep following.

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