Taking Great Notes

I recently took a short course on LinkedIn Learning on note taking. It’s a discipline I enjoy – being the handwriting, color coding, beautiful notebooks buying type of person that I am. 
What I had not considered before this course was that note-taking is essentially an exercise in “capturing information and turning it into action.” I thought this was a great way of looking at it. However, in order to do so there are a few things to consider:
Preparation is the key to success. Prepare for the meeting by asking yourself these two questions: What do I want to get out of the meeting? Which questions do I need answered? This will focus your attention and make it easier to skip the ‘noise’.
Handwritten, digital, or a mix? Do you prefer writing your notes by hand, maybe in a really lovely notebook? (Like me) Or do you prefer to type? Studies show that we retain information better when we write notes by hand. However, your notes will be more searchable – and take up less space – if they are stored digitally. So maybe a mix of both is optimal.
Tips and tricks. You can make it easier for yourself to find relevant information in your notes by structuring them using color coding, underlining, capital letters or even little doodles to indicate the most important info or action points. Another great trick is to review your notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Use a different color for any notes you add during the review. Also, always be bold and ask someone to repeat themselves. You’ll want to make sure that your notes are accurate.
To note or not to note. One of the most important aspects of taking great notes is knowing when to note something down and when not to. By preparing ahead of the meeting, and getting clear on your intention you will be in the right frame of mind to only pick out the information relevant to you, which you can then turn into actionable steps. 
Taking notes for others. Be sure to align with the person you are taking notes for. What are their intentions – what do they want to get out of the meeting? And which questions do they need answered?