As a salesperson I always took notes in every call … how could I ever remember all of the relevant information. The average person will not remember all relevant facts from a one hour meeting without notes.
In company meetings I still take notes throughout the meeting and when I look around and see people NOT taking notes I wonder if I should quiz them later. Maybe I’ll start to do that just to drive home the point!
I remember seeing a statistic about retention of information delivered by (a) spoken word, (b) delivered visually and (c) where the recipient actually wrote it down. People listening to learn will retain a very small piece of what they hear, those who see it written down (like powerpoint) will retain more but the person who actually writes down note will retain much more of the data. So the mere act of writing it down will help in the mental retention.
Taking notes is a GOOD HABIT for all of us, and a very easy habit to cultivate … take a pen and paper to meetings! Another side benefit of taking notes is that you will stay alert and listen!
Some ideas and thoughts around note taking:
1. It needs to be legible to you … if your handwriting is bad then use capital letters.
2. Leave lots of space in your notes to add commentary later.
3. Keep all of your notes on one topic or meeting together … don’t have it in different places.
4. If you take notes in a sales meeting it is good practice to transcribe the information into quick notes for the CRM.
5. If you use a consistent method of taking notes then you can always find what you need later when wanting to refer back … so use a notebook, a time management system or some such organised method of collecting notes.
6. Always date notes and list who is present (eg. Joe & Ted or Sales Team etc.), a title would be good too … these can be done before the meeting in your best handwriting to make the notes easier to find.
7. Offer to take notes in company meetings and share them … its a good way to develop note taking skills.
Like any skill the more you do it the better you get, and good notes are better than any memory. Which is especially good for me because my memory is excellent … just short!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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