For the last two years, I have had a hard time deciding how to take notes at work. I think it’s the slow transition of disappearing paper, my constant aching back from heavy notebook-filled bags, the phenomenon of this visual social media age, and my recent obsession with the computer program Microsoft One Note. Although, popping open your computer and typing out notes isn’t acceptable in all scenarios. Sometimes hiding behind your computer screen gives the seeming impression to others that you’re not listening. Detailing multiple pages of notes with pen and paper also seems ineffective.
Enter my new fascination with visual note-taking. I was first introduced to it when my company hired someone to visually take notes for a large meeting, representing one massive collage of ideas. It was a three-day documentation depicted on one large paper, presented in a very graphic format. It was as if watching the visual note-taker, and how they presented the information from the speaker, was as engaging as the actual speaker. In the end, people took pictures of the masterpiece, a forever, and beautiful summary of the meeting highlights. Instead of filling up notebooks full of details, it forces one to summarize a take-away on one page.
I’d love to put together a visual note coloring/doodle sheet for my audience when I give a presentation and see how it’s perceived. I think it would be a lot less paper and invite people to write their own notes. After the meeting attendees would have a one sheet leave-behind of the content merged with their ideas and insight on the discussion. This could also work for displaying development plans in a more visual way. Core77 has a list of tips for visual note-taking that could be helpful. For more visual ideas, check out Pinterest.
Do you take visual notes at work? Would you try it? Here are a few fun examples on the web.