Why You Should Take Notes by Hand in this Digital Age

Here are three solid reasons to take notes by hand in meetings.
Here are three solid reasons to take notes by hand in meetings. (Flickr )

In most meetings these days, I'm surrounded by people taking notes on a computer. In church, I watch people taking sermon notes on their mobile device.

I'm not interested in being the note-taking cop here, but it may be time to face the mountains of research that indicate taking notes by hand increases retention and helps you remember more. Don't believe me? Here's the opinion of PBS's Nova, and this is from Scientific American, and this is a recent piece from The Atlantic. There are plenty of others.

Certainly it's nice to keep notes all together in Apple NotesEvernoteOneNote, or other online resource, but here is why I still do it by hand:

1. You can write by hand and still keep your attention focused on the speaker. It's just not the same on a computer, and it's virtually impossible typing on a mobile device. By the time most people have typed one point out, they've missed the speaker's next point.

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2. You can underline, circle, make arrows, and other visual signs much easier and quicker on paper. And—at least for me—those visual indicators are nearly as important as the notes themselves.

3. Using a physical notebook allows you display the notes more effectively when you're writing a paper, an article or book. Again—at least for me—I can more easily remember the note's location in a notebook, than somewhere buried in pages of online typing.

Try it. I think you'll find that your memory will thank you for it. And check the links above to get all the reasons why the research points to the same thing.

What about you? I'd love to know if any readers have had the same experience.

An internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. In the process, has been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter and, in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time—through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California—he's helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.

For the original article, visit philcooke.com.

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