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Spawn conference learning that lasts

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in Workplace Communication

Returning home after a conference with a stack of books, handouts and notes leads to the inevitable question: Now what? Make sure your newly gained knowledge stays with you:

Take notes like a college student. One widely used note-taking system, the “Cornell note-taking system” was devised by a professor at Cornell University in the 1950s.

It works like this: Divide each page into three sections—a two-inch horizontal strip across the bottom of the page, and above that, a two-inch vertical column on the left side and larger space on the right.

During the conference, record notes in the larger space. After each session, use the space on the left to jot down “cue” words from your notes. Use the space across the bottom to sum up each page of notes in a sentence or two.

Repeatedly scan your summaries and cue words, once you’re back in the office, to strengthen your memory of what you learned.

By writing it once, reviewing it, then scanning it, you’ll better retain those valuable nuggets of information.

Tip: Another effective tactic is to share what you’ve learned by putting the lessons into your own words. Send an e-mail full of helpful tips and links to a colleague. If you can teach it, you’ll know you’ve learned it yourself.

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