Possibly because of a tragic final exam experience in college, I’ve become an obsessive note taker. I have a couple of note apps on my iPhone, I have two notebooks in my briefcase, and I carry small index cards and a tiny pen in my pocket everywhere except bed (but I also have a notepad and pencil on my nightstand.) After client meetings, I used to walk away with pages of notes. But a few years ago I realized that in most cases, I never looked at those notes again. After the meetings, they were filed away never to be seen again.
After that realization, I stopped taking notes and started writing action steps based on the meeting. My need wasn’t to record the meeting, my need was to write down what I needed to accomplish as a result of the meeting. That’s why action steps are so important. Sure – sometimes you want to note what decisions were made, or what a project is about. But a FAR more important task is to know what to do next.
Try it. Instead of taking detailed meeting notes, start thinking about what you need to do after the meeting. Write them down as the meeting happens, so that when the meeting is finished, your “to-do” list is ready to go. I also jot down people I should delegate the action steps to as well. This is why Note apps such as Apple Notes or Evernote are so helpful. Once I’ve finished my list in Apple Notes, I can immediately email the action steps to my team.
And for what it’s worth, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can contribute to meetings when you don’t feel the need to be writing down everything!
Anyone experienced this technique? What have been your results?