Mindful Observations Make for Better Recollection
Note-taking and note-making are two approaches to writing down the essentials, as might be the case in a meeting or interview. The difference is that usually people take notes - the note-taking portion of this duo. When you take notes, you write down, verbatim or paraphrasing, what' s being said in a meeting.
Note-making, on the other hand, is when you add additional information to your note-taking notes. With note-making, you' re augmenting the straight "what' s being said" with your own observations, e.g. "John looked uncomfortable when he said this," or "Debi seemed to really be withholding something she seemed to want to say - she made eye contact with me frequently while John was speaking, and her pursed lips seemed to indicate disagreement, but she didn' t say anything verbally." You could also jot down questions that come up for you right then, but that don' t seem appropriate to ask at that moment.
You can jot down such observations during your meeting, or you can make a mental note and "fill in the blanks" when you review your notes immediately following the meeting.
To combine note-making with note-taking, draw a line down the middle (or at the 2/3 mark) of your page. On the left side, note-take, jotting down the specific words and subjects that come up in the discussion. On the right-hand side of your note paper, jot down the "between the lines" observations. The result? A much richer account of your conversation.
Jamie Walters is the founder and Chief Vision & Strategy Officer at Ivy Sea, Inc. in San Francisco, CA.