Note Taking Notes And How To Take Them

Note Taking?  Okay, it’s been a while since you’ve set foot in a classroom, and the only thing you remember from high school is passing notes before gym.  All of a sudden, the CEO says to you, “this meeting is going to have some valuable information for all of us; I need everyone to take notes.”  Or worse still, he says “this meeting is incredibly important, and I want YOU to take the notes for us” as he points at JUST YOU.

Return with us to those high school days and we’ll tell you three note taking tips!


The best and most reliable note taking method out there is Cornell note taking system(created by Cornell University), which is still the model for all educational note - taking. 

Step one:  take a piece of lined paper and fold over the left hand side until it covers one third of the paper sheet.  Now fold the bottom sheet up a third.  What you should have when you unfold it is a sheet of paper that looks like it has an outline of an “L” to the left. 

Step two: Take notes like this: On the left hand side outside the “L”, you write down GENERAL broad topics (such as the ones the CEO introduces the PowerPoint with).  As you write them on the left hand side, leave several spaces between them.  These are your divisions for the lecture or demonstration. On the right hand side, you write notes that are SPECIFIC to each category or division. 

For instance, if the topic of the workshop is Efficiency in the Workplace, that’s left hand side material.  As soon as divisions or categories occur (“there are three basic tasks used to achieve office efficiency”), they go on the left hand side also. 

The right hand side holds all the details of each division or category.  The specific tasks for office efficiency are listed one at a time on the right hand side.  These also include events, dates, programs, paradigms, specific process steps.  

And at the bottom, you have space for a single sentence summary.  This is so you won’t have to check an entire page — just one sentence — to find out what the page of notes was about. 


Fold the paper into three columns.  As the lecture goes on, select three keywords or categories or divisions, and put one at the top of each sheet (most good trainings cover three points:  two is not enough and four is too many).  You then list the notes that are pertinent to each column as they occur.  You’ve already divided the lecture into its components, and have complete notes for each. 


Write the program’s single topic in the center of the page.  Arrange the subtopics or categories around it in a circle, as if you were making a web or a roadmap.  Write the pertinent notes in each category as they occur.

If you want a chart or graphic organizer for your presentation, this is a great way to make it. 


Pass the sheet to a co-worker, saying, “Forgot my glasses,” which is the best way to avoid note taking!

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