SHRM is filled to the brim with information from all corners of the market, and we all want to soak in as much as possible to improve our professional lives. Here are some helpful tips on how to get the most out of your note taking during SHRM sessions.
1. You can’t write down every word
A seminar is not a dictation exercise where you have to write down everything the speaker says. You need to watch for key points, arguments, and themes in the seminar. It also helps if the seminar is being recorded, so you can always go back and check if you missed something.
2. Pay attention
It’s very easy to start daydreaming during seminars and miss an important point. Try to rest adequately before lectures so you don’t doze off. Some take coffee before to keep them alert, others chew gum. Listen attentively to examples given by the speaker to explain a point. Sometimes the example helps us remember the point in future.
3. Underline, highlight, and capitalize
Speakers often stress or draw attention to certain words or phrases. It is important to underline/highlight these words on your notepad to show how important they are. Remembering these key phrases and words can often help when recalling the seminar in the future.
4. Use shorthand (abbreviations)
In order to catch up, some words need to be written in short but in understandable forms. So, take some time to work out whatever shorthand code you’re comfortable with. For example words like using ‘2′ instead of ‘to’, ‘too’ and ‘two’, or ‘da’ for ‘the’; ‘w/’ for ‘with’, btw for ‘between’, etc.
5. Put distractions away
Don’t forget to put your mobile phone on silent mode, and don’t use headphones or earpieces! It might also be a good idea to put your phone on airplane mode to avoid getting any notifications at all.
6. Be comfortable
Ensure that you find a convenient spot to sit that makes you feel comfortable and part of the seminar. It is also important to make sure you’ve eaten before the seminar, and taken care of any other physical needs, so you’re not stressing while the speaker is on stage.
7. Ask questions when confused
Don’t be afraid to ask people around you for clarification, if you get confused or miss something the speaker said during the seminar.
8. Share and compare notes
Two heads according to the popular adage are better than one. It is good to find time to compare notes with your fellow attendees and use theirs to update yours and vice versa. They might have picked up some important points that you didn’t.
9. Notepad vs. Laptop
There has been a heated debate on which of these two is most effective for note-taking during lectures. Some argue that notepads are old-fashioned and others contend that laptops are distracting. I started with notepads and “migrated” to my laptop. It depends on which you find more effective. The point here is to use what works for you.
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