Much of what you hear in your UN Workshops will be forgotten (perhaps 80% or more). So you will need to jot down important bits to review later when you are organizing your presentation. Most of us can:
- write about 30 words/ minute,
- speak easily at 250 words/ minute
- listen at up to 500 words/ minute
This means that we have to listen and think about what we are hearing in the workshops; however the writing part is the weak link in the chain. There is no single way to take good notes. Everyone has their own method. Here are some helpful hints on making notes and items to listen for during presentations.
- Key Words - When taking notes do not try to write at full speed - it likely means that you have stopped listening and understanding.
- Abbreviate - develop a set of abbreviations that make sense to you - it saves valuable writing time.
- Focus – Try to focus on getting terms, quotes and examples.
- Concepts - Perhaps most important of all, look for ideas and concepts not just facts.
- Key Points - Do not write everything - you cannot and even if you could, there would be a lot of wasted words. Make point form notes which look for the key points.
- Your Words - Try to put things in your own words when you can. However this may not always possible or even a good thing because the presenter's words may be more precise and meaningful than your own way of expressing things.
- Cues & Clues - Listen for presenter's cues that inform you that important material is coming. Three examples of cue phrases:
- “In conclusion …”
- “The most important thing …”
- “We could summarize by …”
- Review - As soon as you can after the workshops review your notes. Share with other delegates since they may have picked up other ideas.