Note-taking at work is a whole new ballgame compared to any other atmosphere. In college, you took notes for the purpose of passing a test. At work, there is no test, notes are strictly for your benefit. Notes at home are usually simple reminders to get simple tasks done.
Work can be a tricky place to figure out what is necessary to take down, and what can be disregarded for someone else. From a one-on-one meeting to a full-on division meeting, nobody really taught you how to take notes at work. College prepared you for the final exam – but not for memorizing daily tasks; so get ready to learn how to take the best notes you can and produce the most fruitful meetings you can.
Know when to put the pen down
Every office has a Janet that never stops taking notes. She takes notes when the VP tells her to get an espresso. Don’t be like Janet. Knowing when to take notes is half the battle. In most meetings, taking notes is always a good thing. But if you and your client are making small talk about golf, you don’t need to write down that his handicap is 14.
Take notes that directly relate to the reason you’re having the meeting – that way, you aren’t left sifting through to find the important information you were supposed to remember.
Find something that works for you
If you prefer to write short, undetailed notes just to remember certain things; stick with it. Tinker with different styles and make how your notes tailored to you.
There’s nothing that will hurt you more than going back to look at your notes and you have no idea what you’re looking at. Use lists, bullet points, maps. Don’t write sideways in upper corners and down every inch of the paper. Organization is one of the keys not only of note-taking and learning, but of being efficient in business in general.
Use pen and paper
Technology has advanced in many ways making our lives easier at work in many ways. But sometimes fiddling with Microsoft Office during a meeting can lead to missing things. Use pen and paper and keep it old school.
Word for word note-taking is the biggest mistake workers can make. Design your own shorthand and highlight the things YOU find necessary in the meeting.
Sometimes the best way to demonstrate something is by drawing. This may sound a little childish, but if it helps get the job done in a better way, then draw yourself to success.
Note-taking can be a huge challenge in the work-place. But with these tips you’re sure to impress your new client, and put a smile on your boss’s face.