Let’s be honest with ourselves – our note-taking skills can often leave something to be desired. We often scrawl notes on a napkin, jot something into a notebook, use a scrap piece of paper that ends up folded into a million squares and shoved into one of our pockets, or, sometimes, we even write something important down on our hand! Unfortunately, these note-taking habits can give the impression of a distinct lack of professionalism, which can damage your brand’s reputation in the long run.  

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, isn’t it high-time that note-taking got a serious upgrade, too? And, further to that, isn’t it time we start brushing up on our note-taking skills? 

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can modernize your note-taking skills using the latest technology available! 

 

The Modern Note-Taker’s Got Mad Skills! 

Note-taking is not just for students, and, in fact, should be a skill that everyone should be honing throughout their whole lives. Note-taking skills and techniques can build stronger communication, efficiency, and collaboration, regardless of the industry you’re in. 

Whether you’re using smart pens, which transcribes your written notes and allows you to record audio while you’re writing, or using modern note-taking apps, like OneNote that lets you take notes on any device, at any time, this natural progression to digital note-taking can help us visualize ideas, transform the way we create, and easily organize, save, and share notes with each other for a greater collaboration experience.  

 

Emphasizing the Need for Digital Note-Taking: A Scary Scenario 

Let’s consider this scenario: You are a “notebooker”, writing down notes by hand from every client meeting you go to. These notes reside in a professional-looking notebook. You’ve even gotten a little fancy – adding Post-It tabs to pages where there’s important information that you have to remember, and highlighting certain follow-up activities that you need to do when you’re back in the office. You think you’re doing well. Next steps are always taken in a timely manner, your customers are happy with you, and you’re making money for your company.

Then, the unthinkable happens. You’re returning from an out-of-town meeting one Friday, and you leave your notebook – the heart of your business dealings – on the plane. When you finally realize it Monday morning and you call the airline, frantically looking for it, they tell you that they don’t usually hold on to such items.  

Instant stress! You don’t remember which of your clients you have to follow up with! You have no back-up copy of your notes, which you need to create contracts for three important deals! Even worse, you have just let semi-confidential client information slip from your fingers! But there’s nothing to be done – – the notebook’s gone. You now have to start the painful process of calling up the most recent clients you’ve met with, explaining to them what happened, and trying to book more time with them to go over what they wanted. In other words, you need to start from scratch. 

Who really needs stress like that?! 

 

Upgrade Your Note-Taking Tools to Make the Most of your Note-Taking Skills 

Modern note-taking tools can help to alleviate such a scary scenario like the one outlined above. Using a Smart Pen, for example, would have instantly created a back-up digital copy of every note that went into your notebook. Creating digital notes on your touch-screen tablet or laptop, or using a digital note-taking app, like OneNote, would have alleviated the need for a notebook in the first place – you could have made notes right in your hand-held device and, as soon as you had access to Wireless or Wi-Fi, those notes would have automatically backed up to the Cloud.  

Such abilities to back-up every scrawl, every doodle, or every hastily-drawn diagram, is, of course, an important way to ensure continuity in your organization. But, it’s also important to consider how to update your note-taking skills. What works best for you? Are you someone who tries to write down everything word-for-word? Do you prefer to doodle? There’s no universal way to take top-notch notes – instead, find the system that works best for you and stick to it! 

Here are a few things to consider when honing your note-taking skills: 

Keep Note-Taking Simple

#1: Keep Your Note-Taking Simple

You can be the fastest writer on the planet, but you still won’t be able to copy down every phrase word-for-word. Instead, try to stick to the basic ideas and overall concepts with your notes. Listen to who’s speaking and use your notes to just highlight what seems to be the most important points.

Make Note-Taking Your Own

#2: Make Your Note-Taking Your Own

It’s hard to not only comprehend but also recall new information when you’re trying to write things down verbatim. Instead, listen to the key ideas being expressed, and copy them into your own words. This exercise helps to retain the information – to help you understand what’s being said, translate concepts into your own digestible ideas before jotting them down.  

Put Your Notes Together

#3: Take Time to Put Your Notes Together

Your notes shouldn’t end just because the meeting does. While things are fresh in your mind, take a few minutes and summarize what was just discussed. Make notes on relevant points that link to each other, jot down possible outlooks that you can see, and highlight any potential pain-points that you should watch out for. This exercise can help you understand how this information is going to be relevant to you tomorrow, when you’re not fresh from the client.  

 

Where Will Your Note-Taking Skills Take You? 

Taking notes isn’t just an exercise in remembering things, instead, should be seen as the natural first step in executing on an idea. We can use modern note-taking skills to drive creativity and harness our cognitive abilities to retain valuable information!  

By changing the way we take these notes, and switching to a digital version, we can change the way that we communicate with one another. Interested in learning more about Smart Pens and digital note-taking apps, like OneNote? Drop us a line and we’ll arrange for a live demo of some of our Microsoft-based products! 

 

Content for this blog was taken from the Microsoft eGuide “The Innovator’s Guide to Modern Note-Taking”. To see the full version, click here.