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Friday, April 22, 2005

The Lost Art of Note Taking

Just the link I need in my quest to become super exec and desirably hireable by the gentry.

In fact, just the blog to keep me on track.

Clever Michael Hyatt. (Publishing chappie, wouldn't you know).

  • Good point by Hyatt about note-taking keeping one focused and stopping one drifting off.
  • Symbols: Without always understanding what they stand for, I have *always* envied others their nifty symbols. Mind you, I've also glimpsed some note books in my time that have been suspiciously more fancy hieroglyphics than actual text and have wondered just how efficient a reference source they are the owner.
  • I use only one book at a time which I date and use clear headlines. I tried copying a colleague once and using different notebooks for different chores but there were too many occasions when I couldn't decide which book to use - or e even duplicated entries. I have this dilemma with Favorites folders and irritate the hell out of myself by never agreeing from day to day where these links should be stored.
  • Very good description, "survival skill": I am incapable of focusing for long on anything said at meetings and am just glad I didn't grow up with email and the internet to skive off on, which I notice quite a few people doing - all the while maintaining thoughtful furrowed brows.

    Luckily - or not - I have always been landed with the job of note taker: when I was a junior publisher, it went with the lowly status; when I got a bit more senior, I didn't trust the offical amanuenses; and when I came over to the US and started work for Cajola Inc., we took it in turns until muggins here made the mistake of delivering a pithy and almost witty report over which everyone gushed and prompted my manager to puff her chest and flutter her lashes and beseech me to do it full time. It was a right pain because I hand wrote and then had to hammer them out double-quick as email to be distributed before EOB. But I ended up the only one who remembered actual details so it was usually up to me to settle disputes, which is power.

  • A rather dramatic use of notes took place during my Asia stint when I used to travel to Indonesia for a French contractor client. I had had earlier dealings with the opposite number and set up a routine whereby official notes were taken of all meetings, printed signed *there and then* by all concerned as agreement of what had been said. It was the only way to ensure that people kept their word. They'd still wriggle out of loosely worded clauses but not nearly as many as might have been the case.

  • Comments:
    I finally realized the only way I could even read my notes after a meeting is to type them on my laptop. I also record some meetings with my ipod equipped with italk and have the recordings transcribed by escriptionist.com...

    Good tips. iPod, iTalk ... escriptionist.com?
    Sounds frighteningly wired and efficient. Mr Hyatt would be proud of you.
    Inspired by yr comment, I expanded the post a bit.
    Also, I am told that one gets round responding to helpful anon comments by using the comment box for a *reply*. So obvious.
    Thanks for Sharing
    SBL Transcription Services
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