Why Writing Notes in Meetings Helps you Remember Things

The meeting. The sometimes highly anticipated, sometimes feared, weekly ‘catch-up’. Perhaps a relatively casual update meeting, or a progress report maybe. Some of them may be death-by-PowerPoint, and one of the most difficult things when it comes to meetings is to remember what was said, and what was important and relevant to you. Capturing notes in meetings can be done on a laptop or a tablet (even a phone in a pinch), but – recent studies have shown that good old lo-fi pen and paper is better for memory retention, prioritisation and scheduling of tasks, all helping you not only do your job, but do it to your best possible standard!

The Science

“Writing things down appears to help us remember the important stuff, and that the better our notes are the more likely we are to remember.” Dustin Wax for Lifehack

Just before the meeting, you’ll grab one of the company-supplied business notebooks or even your own business diary and head in. The door will close and over the next half-hour, hour, or even perhaps several entire hours – you’ll be listening to the chair, or a special presentation or report, as well as contributions from other colleagues. Attempting to listen ‘Actively’ (as opposed to just hearing the words being said, actually processing and mentally cataloguing the incoming information) starts some (millions) of neurons firing in your brain, attempting to mentally record and prioritise every key point, or even every word! However the key failure of just attempting to remember by listening carefully is that your memory is notorious for not being very intuitive with what is important, and what isn’t. Some people find it very difficult to learn names, for example – which is important in the real world, but for those affected, their subconscious deems it worthless information…

Enter the pen and business diary organiser.

While listening, actively or not, is simply a biomechanical process using one of our senses – writing is an invention of humanity. Whether you write with beautiful calligraphy or typical doctor scribble, spatial relationships are formed within the brain between what you are writing, why you are writing it, and even how you are writing it.

Have you written something in alarming BLOCK CAPITALS that are double underlined? That’s urgent or of high importance. You’ve taken your temperamental subconscious out of the process entirely.

Developing your own technique.

We’re all very different in how we process information. Some people rely on mnemonics or even rote methods to solidify memory of important and static pieces of knowledge; others use colour coding (time to whip out the highlighters), bullets, nested lists, the list goes on.

As we learn more about ourselves, and how we best absorb and retain information, we can adapt our methods in a positive feedback loop. Our business notepads and business diary organiser are perfect for any professional who needs a place to store important information and keep it readily accessible at all times, while being customisable, and providing more than ample room for you to take notes in the way that works best for you. And unlike a smartphone, you aren’t going to be drawn into a Twitter row half-way through going over the day’s notes!