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4 steps to better note-taking

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in Workplace Communication

Good note taking is essential, whether in a meeting, a training session or a seminar. The mental concentration will keep you focused, and the very act of writing will help you remember what the group decides.

Here’s how to do it better:

1. Use a journal-formatted notebook, and keep meeting notes as a running journal, recommends publisher Michael Hyatt on his blog (www.michaelhyatt.com). “I give each new meeting its own heading, along with the current date. The notes run continuously until I fill up the journal. Then I begin a new one,” he says.

2. Apply symbols so you can quickly scan your notes later. Hyatt leaves blank a vertical space on the left side of the paper—enough room for his symbol system:

* An asterisk = an important or insightful item

? A question mark = an item requiring further research or resolution

¤ An open square = an item that requires follow-up. When the item is completed, he checks it off.

o A circle = an item that has been assigned to someone

3. Avoid writing too much by writing in phrases and inserting question marks if you’ve missed something.

4. Schedule time to review your notes, immediately after a meeting, if possible. “This is the secret,” Hyatt says. He takes immediate action on anything taking less than two minutes. He enters tasks and appointments into his calendar software if they’ll take longer.

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