Use the 9 points to improve your note-taking

 In Delivery, Meetings

‘Learn how to use cues to yourself – such as circling words you want to drill down on – as a reminder to cover them later in the meeting. Underline words the Confident Senior Businessmanprospect uses that you want to incorporate into your responses . . .

 . . . throughout the dialogue, number key objectives as the person lists them, so you are sure to address each one’.

The above quotes are from a 2002 article entitled Magic Notes by Linda Richardson (the link is no longer available).

Here are the key points from the article that resonated with me, with additional suggestions that I’ve used in my prospect/client meetings.

  • At the start of any meeting put your notepad, laptop, tablet – aside. Face the person and hold eye/face contact during the initial stages of the interaction. (noting the colour of a person’s eyes can help you make a stronger, initial physical connection).
  • Avoid taking notes on a laptop or tablet (unless you are adept at doing this quickly and unobtrusively). In particular, if you use a laptop ensure that you angle the laptop away from the person, so that there is no physical barrier between you and the person.
  • In certain cultures you may need to ask for permission to take notes.
  • If you’re in a meeting with several people, write their names on your notepad in the form of a diagram aligned to their position around the the table.
  • Ask a person to stop and repeat a message, if it is a very important one that you need to remember. (Obviously you can’t stop the person after every message/point).
  • Develop a shorthand symbol system for specific types of notes. For example, if a prospect elaborates on a potential project, I often ask:

What would success look like?

I then highlight the person’s answer to the question with a specific symbol.

  • Have one page template for your first meeting with prospects/clients that you can adapt to various meetings.
  • Review your notes soon after your meeting. At times my writing is unclear. Reviewing notes soon after the meeting allows me to better to decipher unclear writing.
  • At the end of the meeting use your notes to sum up the next step and any other pertinent information. For example, the specific objectives for a project and the next step in the process.

Own the conversation

Many of you may already know above points. Consider which point resonated most, or needs further refinement. Trial adapting or refining this point/idea into your note-taking.


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