If you spend much of your workday at presentations and meetings, you probably take a lot of notes. If you don’t, you should. More people should be taking notes at meetings since it keeps the mind engaged with the topic at hand. Windows note taking or taking notes on your Mac is a fool proof way to make your meeting productive and not just a yawn-fest where you’re distracted by notifications on your smartphone or the keyboard-clatter of the person taking minutes. In fact, even if someone is taking down minutes of the meeting, you should take notes. You will send a message to others in the room that someone is actively listening.
But the ways we used to take notes in college may not be right for the workplace. Thinking back to the days of highlighting and underlining, you’ll probably recall that such passive techniques didn’t sear information into your memory like you hoped they would. Studies have found that actively interacting with your notes is essential for recall.
Here’s an illustrative example: you could set up the audio recorder on your smartphone and record the entire meeting, with the aim of going through it again later to revisit the points presented.
But there are two things you’re doing wrong here. Since you’re already recording the meeting, you’ll have less compulsion to pay attention while the meeting is on. Later, when you listen to the forty minute session on your ride back home, you’re sacrificing time that you could spend exploring something else, like relaxing with a Spotify playlist.
Many of us don’t know how to take notes efficiently. We like to think the reason why our Windows note taking app Cylix doesn’t support audio recording is to keep users efficient.
You could take notes so efficiently during the meeting that you won’t even need to look through them for recall again.
Note taking tips at work:
1. Draw your notes
Wherever possible, draw your notes – graphs, charts, graphics, abstractions, even sketches a la Mike Rohde. Rohde’s ideas on how to capture abstract ideas, information, and experiences in visual and easy-to-remember formats can be inspiring.
When you’ve got your drawings down in pen and paper, you can take a picture and import it to Cylix. You’ll be surprised by the level of recall your drawn notes will give you. A quick glance may be all you need to bring the information flooding back in your memory again.
2. Create a template for team meetings
When you’re taking down notes at a team meeting, some of the things you’ll focus on will include facts, issues, decisions, action plans, and questions and answers. Events will include details like who is the person in charge or the creative leader. The rest of the subheads are self-explanatory. It can also be useful to take down the questions that team members ask and the answers they receive.
Create a template for team meetings that you can pull up whenever needed. Such a model will work in any collaborative environment at work. You can complement your Windows or MacOS note taking with mind-mapping apps as well. Simply take a screenshot of your mind map at the end of the meeting and import it to your Cylix project.
3. Use the Cornell Method
Professional students at workshops or conferences can use the Cornell method to take notes very efficiently. In this process, create a table with two columns in the Cylix web editor. Take all the larger bits of notes in the right column during the conference. After the meeting, you can fill in the left columns with little cue words or phrases that summarize the information in the right column.
Note taking with Cylix is designed to be efficient and hassle-free. You should be spending less time mulling over your notes and more time applying what you have learned from meetings and conferences. Which of the Windows note taking tips we’ve offered above have you used and found helpful?