I believe that note-taking is a very important skill, one that is often overlooked and under-appreciated.
Note-taking is often an afterthought, a mere formality. But I believe that taking good notes is even more important in today’s technology-oriented world.
First of all, meeting attendees are easily distracted by their phones and rarely pay full attention to what’s happening. I admit that I’m guilty of this sometimes. And I’d bet you’ve done this once or twice, right?
For some, checking Twitter is more important than understanding their team’s product strategy, and looking at pictures of their friend’s vacation on Facebook takes precedence over reviewing their budget. That’s why taking detailed meeting minutes is so important.
It sucks to be the scribe in a meeting, and many times this job is left to the lowest ranking employee of all the attendees. But it’s a very important task that can keep the team organized and on track, especially for those who weren’t fully present. Tasks can be assigned after the meeting, and minutes can be distributed so everyone remembers the important discussion points.
Second, in the same vein, we are constantly and continuously bombarded by information every minute. Instagram notifications, text messages, emails, and more come at us incessantly. We can’t possibly absorb all the words, images, videos, and other content that we read, watch, and listen to everyday.
By taking good notes, you won’t be forced to remember details of a phone call or meeting, and you’ll have a document with details that you can refer to later. Thus, you can dedicate that brain power to more creative or difficult tasks.
Finally, note-taking tools are better than they’ve ever been before. Whether notes are taken on a Google Doc, Evernote, or within project management tools like Trello or Asana, they can be easily distributed, organized, and tracked. Taking good notes can really help with keeping your team on track outside of meetings.
I remember when I was much better at note taking. During every meeting or phone call, I would take copious notes in a notebook or on a laptop. Then after the call or meeting, I would review the notes and file them away in a place where I can easily find them for future reference. I should go back to that process.
Maybe we should all put more thought and effort into taking good notes, instead of relegating it to a formality. It might have a big positive impact on our productivity.