Take Note

Whenever you have the opportunity to listen, watch, or witness someone speak don't just listen. Yes, listen, but comprehend and take notes!

I think it's becoming a lost art. 

Am I a note taking pro, no. I can improve, but the amount of times a day I jot something down on a post it note or grab my phone to put something down is numerous. I even have email drafts that are filled with miscellaneous notes and information that I just had to get down at that moment. I just know myself, I mean I should, and I know if I think I will magically remember it I have a 50/50 shot. I like improved odds. 

It is mind boggling to me that people could just hear something like a quote or idea and not put it down. Don't lose that valuable information! I think some people feel like they have to have this full page of official note taking in order to put things down. With phones today we literally have a note application! We have a remind function that allows you to put a thought/idea/link,  on a timed reminder so you can follow up at a convenient time for you. 

In my class I am teaching a leadership program right now. I have been more of the conference speaker for the past few days. Now I believe I had some valuable things to say. While I appreciate the attention of students I only had a handful taking notes (also don't think that people don't realize and spot "those" people and develop a good impression). In my short time as a teacher I made it a point to address this at the beginning of the year. 

My points were these

  1. I deeply encourage you to take notes because of the incredible value in it.
  2. I am not requiring you to do so. If you desire to just listen/hope you remember what I say then you might miss something and be behind someone who is taking notes (learning). 
  3. The "adult" world won't make you always turn your meeting notes. Bottom line they (boss/coach/leader) expect you to fully understand it regardless. So you should seek to find every advantage you can. 
  4. In order to grow and develop yourself in whatever area that is you must continually learn for life. When you hear and spot something you are growing while someone else is staying at their same level. Taking notes makes you stand out from others or be a reason for being passed over.
  5. You will be taken more seriously in life by others when you take notes and are engaged. 

There might be other reasons and directives I could add, but bottom line taking notes in life allows you to take ownership of your overall development. Taking notes and putting it down in whatever format you choose will help you remember. I think it allows you stay engaged and grow your own thoughts because its giving you things to base your information from. Notes also allows you to focus in more on what you getting insight from. We become less distracted and then hone in and don't miss that key point that makes great impact. 

The impression that people give off can be a slight disrespect to the speaker if that was the case, but it any circumstance if you don't take notes I would think you simply don't care. Is it the deep down truth...I don't know, but thats the impression I get. 

We have so many ways to get information today yet we are satisfied to keep scrolling. A like or retweet doesn't allow you to remember and take it in. Seeing an awesome tweet, picture, video, or post I highly suggest to copy the link, screen shot it, or take two seconds to share it in a email  to yourself. I have done this with basketball drills often. See something I really like and email it to myself to have it saved. 

You might not ever have the chance to find that piece of information again. How often do we say "I loved that article, but I just can't remember where I saw it". 

There is zero excuses! 

Some people (students to full grown adults) I think are expecting fill in the blank note taking sheets to keep them "engaged" in whatever. So what it's a two minute video on YouTube, don't waste that opportunity to watch and take something from it. I am so glad that at my church the notes section is blank. No fill in the blanks. It allows me to put down anything and everything I feel and also takes me away from focusing in just when I know there might be an answer to the fill in the blank. 

Want to know what successful people do? Take notes. Watching the ESPN show Training Days with Alabama football I have taken so many one liner notes down. I also was taken aback in episode two when Kobe Bryant visited the team to speak. Head coach Nick Saban is sure fire Hall of Famer and widely regarded as one of the best coaches in college football (some say all of sports). He was sitting in the front row (not hiding in the back) taking notes. What more could he learn right? He wanted to make sure he was prepared to grow from someone else. 

Taking notes will not directly get us any bonus points in life. We won't turn them in and receive a cash prize (I wish!). Taking notes takes you to another level where the room is less crowded. There will not be anyone who can force you too, it must be a conscience decision you make.    

Steven Hovermale