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The How To Issue

How to Take Notes: Tom Wujec

Do some doodles in your next big meeting

Do some doodles in your next big meeting

Why take notes? The obvious reason is to remember. Visual note-taking translates what we hear into pictures that give context, color, and meaning. By adding symbols, visual metaphors, likenesses of people, and room layouts, we add several dimensions. The standard way to record a meeting is to list people’s names, the topics, and action items. The visual way is to doodle a rectangle (the table) populated by figures (the participants) sitting around the table with their comments as cartoon word balloons. The drawing brings you back to the room, charting the flow of the conversations and giving you room to add your thoughts. We are visual creatures. When you doodle an image that captures the essence of an idea, you not only remember it but you also help other people understand and act on it—which is generally the point of meetings in the first place. — As told to Keenan Mayo 

Wujec is a fellow at Autodesk and professor of design at Singularity University.

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