Note Taking from the Spoken Word
The approach suggested below can be used to take notes from speeches, lectures, videos, television, meetings and conversations.
1. Get your central image from the title of whatever it is you are listening to, watching or taking part in. If necessary wait until it becomes clear.
2. It helps to have your main branches already prepared. This may be discovered by asking the speaker for the main topics.
3. To build up your skill and confidence, you may want to try the following:
- Start with a “low risk” activity such as a TV show or the news.
- Create a Mind Map from your linear notes, highlighting the KEY words for your main branches.
- Work with a “buddy”. One makes a Mind Map, the other makes linear notes. Compare after the lecture or meeting.
- As a back up use a small tape recorder to record the talk. If you feel you are getting “behind”, “lost” or “in a mess”, note the tape counter number and check or add to your Mind Map later.
4. If you wish to re-do or re-order your Mind Map because it looks “messy” consider what “messy” means. Does the Mind Map look messy or is the organisation of the information messy? Note that linear notes may look neat, but informationally they are often very messy; it is hard to get the information back from the notes at a glance. A hurried Mind Map may occasionally look messy, but informationally it is still neater and clearer. If it is appropriate you can always make it more beautiful and finely organised when you review or redo it.
5. The most important themes and KEY words can be moved from many specific, detailed Mind Maps onto a MASTER MIND MAP. This can be magnificent review process and also can show the connections and relationships between information, even from different disciplines.
Note Taking from the written word
The approach suggested below can be used to summarise books, magazines, articles and reports.
1. The idea for your central image may be stimulated by the covers, logos of any other graphics or images from the material you are reading.
2. The major branches (Basic Ordering Ideas) could be supplied by:
- chapter headings
- divsion headings
3. Browse and range read (range reading is the ability to have a choice of reading speeds to adjust to your mood and the material) the information, adding layers of detail as needed.
4. Remember to SELECT actively the information you need and REJECT that which you do not.
5. HIGHLIGHT the KEY WORDS which will provide the triggers to large quantities of additional data.