I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my day on the telephone meeting with clients, potential partners, and vendors discussing a myriad of details and things that need to be accomplished. But how do you keep it all straight and make sure that things don’t fall through the cracks?

This has been an ongoing thing for me as I tried to figure out what was the best method for me. Previously in my career, I’d always taking notes on paper. After all, I was sitting in a conference room and so I didn’t have my computer with me. But now I’m mostly sitting at my desk in front of my computer. So, I needed to get over this idea that it would be rude to type while we talked. In fact, most people I talked to don’t mind at all. Because they know I am capturing things for us. This is especially true of my clients. They know everything will be handled and that if they ask I can quickly send them a list. And I have been clicking away ever since.

But before you get started you need a game plan to make it easy for yourself.

  • Pick a program to take notes in. You need to decide what software you are going to use to take notes. Because you want it to be the same each time. Pick one that you are comfortable using. I use Microsoft Word.
  • Develop or choose a template. It will make it easier for you if all your notes look the same. Have the same general format. It will make it easier to take notes and even easier to review them later. You can download a template, there are lots online, or create your own. I like them to include the following

    •    Date and person, I’m meeting with.

    •    Notes sections – kind of a things to remember from the conversation.

    •    Follow-ups & To Do’s Section – this is a place where you can make note of what you need to add to your to-do list and what the other person has committed to doing. Keeping them all in one place in the document allows you to keep track of them better.

  • Have buffer time. After you meet try to build in buffer time before your next meeting so that you can review your notes. I use this time to do the following;

    •    Schedule items on my to do list.

    •    Email anything that I can just send quickly to the other person including their list of things if they asked for it.

    •    Schedule follow up meetings.

It may seem like taking notes on the computer takes extra time, but you will soon see that you can keep them more organized. You can cut and paste from your notes into emails, your to do list, and other documents more easily than having to type up your hand-written notes. So, give note taking on your computer a try and see if Organized Notes makes you More Efficient.

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC