There is a story about a well known expert giving a public lecture to students at a university. They listen quietly and intently. But there is only one person in the audience who is taking notes, and he is another expert in the field!
This little anecdote shows the value of note taking and also shows that you are never too accomplished to dismiss taking notes. How can taking notes help you? Here are a few ways.
1. Learning and retaining information.
First of all, it turns you into an active as opposed to a passive learner. The act of writing things down helps you to process the information. When you have to choose what to write, and how to write it, you are going through a process of learning.
Notetaking also helps you to retain the information longer. Again, this is because writing things down, doing it as an active process, helps your mind retain the information.
2. Achieving goals.
Taking notes can also, believe it or not, help you to achieve your goals. Research has shown that people who write down their goals and share them with others have a one-third greater chance of reaching their goals than those who do not write them down. Writing them down makes them tangible, something you can see. It gives them more substance than what is floating around in your mind. It makes them concrete, definite, and clear.
3. Being more efficient
Taking notes trains you how to be more efficient. When taking notes, you cannot simply write down what a person is saying word for word. You need to develop methods for condensing and summarizing, using an outline form, for example, or symbols and abbreviations, and shorter phrases. All of this trains you how to do things more efficiently.
4. Getting to the point
If you are taking notes, you don’t want to waste your time writing down information that is not important, stuff that is filler. Taking notes trains you to look for the main idea, the important stuff, so that you are not wasting your time. You learn how to spot signs from the speaker when he or she is about to introduce something important – a pause, a change of tone, a dramatic gesture.
5. Being a better reader
If you take notes while reading, it again helps you to look for the important information. And taking notes helps you to organize what you have read and remember it better.
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