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This might be the digital age, but professionals still need old-fashioned note-taking skills while attending meetings. Accurate documentation is important for professionalism.

Yes, whether you’re listening to a client, sitting in a meeting or reprimanding an employee – for business, career or legal reasons – you need to accurately chronicle the discussion.

Short of being able to tape record a discussion or having shorthand secretarial-type skills, the ability to take notes clearly and efficiently is important. That includes maintaining good posture.

Actually, early in my career as broadcast journalist for 20 years I still had to be able to quickly take notes to report fast-breaking events using my version of speed writing even when using a tape recorder or video camera.

Following are some tactics I used as a journalist in order to take notes clearly and efficiently. Practice them as often as possible so you’re always ready to take good notes.

Nine speed writing tactics:

1. Prepare for the meeting with a new notepad or notebook and a few quality pens or sharpened pencils.

2. Know in advance your preferred structure for abbreviations for words or phrases you might anticipate hearing. There are no rules so just write what’s best for you.

3. Write words as they sound especially only as long vowels when you hear them. Write the long vowel sounds as though you’re saying the letter (e.g. U for you or O for owe).

4. Write small letters. Large letters take unnecessary time to write.

5. Write lightly. Relax. Don’t press hard on the paper.

6. Write words in lower case. Taking time to write capital letters will slow you down.

7. Write in the middle of the page. Otherwise, you’ll risk writing too slowly if you write close to the paper’s edge.

8. Learn how to flip pages quickly. As you get close to the bottom of a page be ready to flip the page to quickly continue writing.

9. Review your notes immediately after the meeting to interpret them while your memory is fresh to fill in any gaps. Plan how to make best use of your notes whether you’ll be writing a report or making a sales presentation.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more writing tips:

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing – If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. A lack of writing skills will can hold you back or even hurt your career.

11 Tips to Succeed in Your Career with Effective Writing – Whether you want to write as an author like Mark Twain or to generate content to market your business, effective writing requires two attributes: Dedication and passion. Here’s how to succeed.

Your Career: 10 Tips for Writing Better Business E-mails – Do you want to be a standout as a business e-mail writer? To enhance your career, it’s important to write effective e-mails and memos. You don’t have to be an English major to write effectively.

19 Best Practices for Writing Professional Business Letters – Knowing how to write an impressive business letter is imperative for maximum career success. By writing with professionalism, you’re leaving a lasting positive impression and you’re enhancing your chances for strong results.

Basics to Consider Before Writing Nondisclosure Agreements – If you have business secrets to protect you might want to use a confidentiality policy, a nondisclosure agreement and possibly a noncompete agreement. Here are the pros and cons.

“Personal sophistication never goes out of style.”
-Steven Cuoco


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.