Note taking is an important activity whether you are a student, or a participant at a business meeting, industry lecture or conference. Now, almost all industries record their meetings and other events and use professional transcription services to transcribe those recordings. However, in all jobs and among the academic community for instance, note taking is still very much used. Effective note taking is a skill to be carefully acquired so that you don’t waste your time with the wrong approaches.
Tips for Successful Note Taking
- Things to avoid: Do not underline important points or highlight your own notes or books. These techniques are considered useless now and as bad study techniques that can harm your ability to remember things. Studies have found that successful note taking methods are active whereas rereading, highlighting and underlining are passive techniques. It is important to interact closely with the notes rather than simply emphasize or underline the sentences.
- Keep your notes organized: Index your notes by page number and topic. You can use a key of symbols to categorize notes, ideas, tasks, and other pieces of information clearly and quickly. Keep your notes short but include sufficient triggers in the keywords to refresh your memory when you look at them again. Adjust the note-taking style to suit both your needs and that of the speakers.
- Handwritten notes: Beginners are advised to go for handwritten notes rather than typing down the points on a laptop or any other similar devices. Studies show that students who used longhand notes outperformed laptop note takers and when the students were asked to do non-verbatim transcription, laptop note takers failed in it. The students who used long hand notes also performed better in the quiz compared to laptop note takers. So for beginners, handwritten notes are a better option.
- Draw your notes: Drawing instead of writing notes is a good way to memorize words. Studies that tested drawing against writing and other approaches for memorizing words found drawing came out on top. Researchers believe that drawing is the better way because it combines various skills. Signs and shapes such as arrows and boxes, different-sized writing, and doodles can be used to illustrate notes.
In any job, there is always scope for note taking and the note taking approach can be improved for maximum effectiveness. Handwritten notes can also be transcribed with the support of general transcription services. Businesses, academic institutions, legal firms, medical industry etc all rely on transcription of audio or video recordings of important events to obtain accurate digital notes. Whether handwritten notes or transcripts, accuracy is important for the data to be reliable and usable.