Nordic Business Forum offers inspiration and information that can take leaders, teams, and businesses forward. However, unlike AI, we humans can’t simply ingest all the information given to us immediately and know exactly how to apply it. If you happen to be someone who can do that, congratulations! Everyone else though has to learn how to process new information and make sense of it in a way that benefits their situation.
One of the best ways to get the most out of seminars like Nordic Business Forum is to take notes and use those to later apply the things you’ve learned. However, it’s also a skill that might require quite some trial and error before getting it right specifically for you—everyone does it differently. Therefore, we gathered six tips that can help you master note-taking in seminars and events, taking into account your personal learning style!
1. Prepare – Study the Event and Its Content
One of the best things you can do is to think about what you might learn and what you want to learn before the event. Study the event, its speakers, and their topics, and consider what is most important to you. It can help first to identify the challenges, opportunities, and important decisions you face in your personal and professional life to decide what topics are relevant to your situation.
Take note of the most relevant sessions, their time and order, and think about what you’d like to learn during each of them. You’ll see that the session most likely won’t go exactly as you expected. However, the work you do preparing for the session will help you focus on what is important and gives you an advantage in understanding the content, even if it contradicts what you expected.
2. Identify Your Style
Taking notes is not a one-size-fits-all science. To help you know how to take notes when the time comes, it’s important to find your personal learning style.
Visual learners are the creatives, those who learn best by interpreting information graphically. You may have this learning style if your notes include mind maps, graphs, flow charts, pictures, and sketches to depict information. Those with more practice will also incorporate colors and shapes to designate and categorize information. If you don’t have a lot of experience taking notes, you might find that intriguing visuals have helped your learning in the past.
Auditory learners retain information best when it is heard or spoken. You likely fall into this group if you fully engage with the information presented in lectures, audio recordings, and group discussions. Individuals who learn this way often think out loud and process information as they speak. This even includes talking to yourself!
Read/write learners are all about words. People with this learning style are most receptive to PowerPoints, websites, to-do lists, or books. As such, they retain information when they make written notes, which range from a few quotes to an entire transcript!
Kinesthetic learners are the doers in the crowd. They like to link information to experiences, so they lean towards practical, actionable examples. While this may involve visualizing, listening, and reading, the key for kinesthetic learners to retain knowledge is to root information in reality. As such, you’re likely a kinesthetic learner if you enjoy case studies, practical sessions, and applying information in your day-to-day life.
3. Choose Your Methods Wisely
Most people don’t neatly fit into just one of the learner types. However, identifying the styles that most suit you helps in finding the best way for you to take notes. At the event, we will provide you with a notebook and pen, which is already a good start. However, depending on your learning style, you might consider bringing additional tools to aid your learning.
Visual learners can benefit from bringing color to their notes, so consider taking a few colorful pens or markers with you. You can also find that taking pictures of the slides and annotating them on a tablet or laptop helps you process the information. If you don’t feel like carrying extra devices with you, we suggest numbering the slides and making annotations on the notebook, which you can later compare with the slides.
Auditory learners might find it helpful to follow the flow of the session and write down keywords and phrases that catch their attention, and help recall what they’ve heard later on. Similarly, the read/write learners benefit from writing down facts, quotes, and key takeaways. However, they should include more detail. A single word might be enough for an auditory learner, but read/write learners often need a full sentence or two.
Kinesthetic learners need context and real-life applications. Write down examples that the speakers give, and don’t just write down the idea or concept; also write down the situations and contexts where they apply. It also helps to relate the information to your own professional and personal life and write those down in the notes.
4. Take Notes of Your Own Thoughts
It is important to write down what the speakers are saying but to take your learning further, you should also write down your ideas and thoughts as they come. This will help you internalize the information and apply it in real-life situations. Write down anything that comes to mind that relates to the topic at hand, even if it might not seem that important. Later on, that thought might help you remember what you learned or even lead to something new.
Remember the preparation you did earlier? This is how you make sure that all of your questions are answered and that you find the information that you need. Not only that, you will most likely get new ideas and inspiration that you didn’t anticipate, and we all know that if you don’t put it down, it might never come back to you again.
5. Discuss and Reflect
No matter what learning style you have, we can all benefit from sharing and discussing information. Get together with some of your coworkers, friends, and new connections to reflect on the sessions during the event. And after the event, discuss the topics with people who weren’t there. You might even try teaching them some of the lessons you learned, which will help you remember and implement the knowledge better.
You can also have a deep dive through the content with your coworkers or friends. When you go through the content, raise topics that are important to you and encourage conversation. You can reflect on how the ideas may help you in your professional and personal life, and how to implement them in practice. And, of course—make notes on everything you hear and learn!
6. Review the Notes
Your note-taking journey so far can combine many approaches and methods. However, one of the most important things about taking notes is going back to them and reviewing what you wrote down.
Take time to read through your notes and pick the topics and lessons that are most important to you. Then, elaborate on your notes by identifying ways to apply them in real-life situations. Also, think about past situations and other concepts that relate to what you learned. By making connections to your past experiences and knowledge, you are better able to utilize the new knowledge you’ve gained and act on it.