I recently took part in training day with a really interesting guy called Jonathan Kemp. Jonathan is the man behind a note taking technique called Smart Wisdom.
The basic theory behind Smart Wisdom is that instead of taking down linear notes in the form of sentences you listen out for the key words and place them in a chain. Basically you drop the words that aren’t important.
So a quote from a piece of user research might be:
“Is it suitable for my way of thinking and my day to day job?”
Using smart wisdom this would become:
Is it suitable for my way of thinking and my day to day job?
You then put the words in a chain and use joins to replace the dropped words, see below.
It takes a while to get to used to taking notes in this way but having spent a day learning this technique I can really vouch for it. I can still recall much of the information that I noted down in the training session, which I had forgotten within minutes using more traditional note taking methods. When we took notes from a speech, first taking linear notes and then using smart wisdom I ended with about 50 to 60 per cent more key points using the latter, without the clutter of unnecessary information.