The Real Meaning of Making Notes in Business

7 min read
Nov 7, 2017
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Meaning of note making

How many times have you had an amazing idea right before you fall asleep and you were so sure, you’re gonna remember it the next day but then you woke up and boom! All you know is that you had an awesome idea, but now you have “no idea” what it was whatsoever?

It happens a lot to people whose work requires them to come up with ideas or solutions. We feel the most creative when we let our minds rest.

Sometimes it’s before we fall asleep, sometimes when we walk or doing something completely not related to our work. When we let our thoughts flow, somehow, the right solution comes our way.

But as you know, coming up with an idea is not enough. You need to make sure you have that in writing. Notes can help you with that. They can also be used to remember things other people told us that we thought weren’t important. Read on to find out more!

Here are examples that will show you the meaning of note making:

#1. Things you should remember during a recruitment meeting

Let’s take a person responsible for human resources in your company and call her Laura. Laura is responsible for a lot of meetings with new people during the day. When she first meets with Mike, a potential new employee, she asks him about things not related to his work. Like, where he travels and what he likes to do in his free time.

She can note that, because during the next two recruitment meetings she will probably only ask about things related to the job. So when he actually gets hired one week later she has the notes, and she knows Mike likes kayaking, so when she organizes the integration trip half year later, she knows he’ll be up for water adventure.

It sounds super easy, yet we can’t remember all those things about people in our company, and not everything people like is on Facebook.

#2. Doing business with people you’ve just met

If you’re a business owner, you probably have meetings with new people sometimes. When that happens, making notes can also help you. Later on, you remember important things about your business partners, so when your relationship evolves, you can surprise them with your “knowledge.” It’s good for your business!

But things can also go a little wrong.

Let’s take Richard Branson’s example. In his case, the handwritten note habit has come in handy in management, negotiation, and legal situations – he’s even submitted his notebook as evidence in lawsuits.

In his book, “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know about Leadership”, he writes:

A typical situation would be when someone says, 'Well, Richard, as I recall when we last spoke in early March, we agreed to get a draft proposal to you by the end of April,' and they are totally discombobulated by a response of, 'Well, no, at least not according to my notes of our last conversation. At 3:15 p.m. on 7 February you promised you were going to have the complete business plan to us by 31 March at the latest.' Nailed!”

Isn’t that something we could all watch on Suits TV show?

Richard Branson’s notes are very detailed but I think you get the point. As I wish you well with all your clients, I think it’s a great example of how what seems not important at the beginning can have so much value in the future.

#3. Notebook of ideas for all creatives out there

If you’re a product owner, content writer or a social media specialist, you probably have a head full of ideas; unless you’re always forgetting them. In that case, a notebook comes in handy.

Sometimes we have a few ideas at once. How to do something, how to resolve things, what badass article to write. Then, we’re distracted and don’t remember anything.

Don’t hesitate to write things that may seem foolish at the beginning. You don’t know how the dots will connect in the future or what will come up from the basic, causal sentences.

Here’s the advice from Richard Omollo, UX Designer at

I guess the weirdest thing about me, which actually brought about my love for solving problems and design, is that I always have a notebook with me. Always! Sometimes I get ideas in the middle of nowhere. I might have an idea at night, and I will wake up and sketch my idea quickly right there. Or something might come to me, even on the football pitch during half–time, when taking a breather before going back to training! My mind is always thinking about design, and I never want to lose out on a great idea.

Losing a great idea is enough argument for me to start making notes.

#4. Important notes about your customers

When you have many customers, you don’t remember all the details about them. That’s why it’s good to have a place to make important notes about them.

In LiveChat you have the ability to make notes about customers inside the app. And obviously, our support agents use it to their advantage.

In our application, they write down things that might be useful for other agents to know when they handle this customer’s case in the future. For example, if somebody had to correct the payment if they had to extended trial for some reason, or they asked for clearing archives etc.

These are the things all agents should know, to keep the communication smooth with the customer. Nobody likes to describe their case all over again to different people, right?

#5. Meetings, projects and whenever you want to learn something

When you go to a meeting with your boss, and he or she tells you about a new project you’ll be responsible for, you better start making notes. Because when you don’t, you leave this meeting with no idea what you should do, and where to start for that matter. Or else, you'll remember something other than what your boss said.

Making notes help you to summarize the meeting, and make sure you’re on the same page by saying: “Ok, I just want to make sure. You want me to do this, this and that. And I should start from this...”

Imagine how many misunderstandings we could avoid by doing so.

Handwritten notes vs taking notes on your laptop

We all work on laptops these days. I don’t know many people who still own notebooks and write something down with their pens. They probably don’t need it. But when we talk about the “learning aspect,” making notes by hand can help you remember more. The research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer proves that. Here’s what they wrote in their study:

Half of the students were instructed to take notes with a laptop, and the other half were instructed to write the notes out by hand. As in other studies, students who used laptops took more notes. In each study, however, those who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.

So, when you do notes by hand you process the information and write only what’s important. Not only do you remember more, but when you look at the notes you probably have ⅓ of the most important things from the meetings or things you’ve read, so it’s easier to draw conclusions.

Tips for note making

Making notes is good not only for your business life, it also works great every time you want to improve yourself. It saves you time and helps focus on what’s important. Because without notes, you don’t see black and white what needs to be improved. Just like with to-do lists.

So don’t let your ideas escape anymore, remember your customers’ cases better and get to work faster. After all, you have everything in writing now, so there’s no need for a delay.

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