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Conference Notes – Viva La Moleskine!

by James Ball on February 2, 2010

I’m witnessing a wonderfully low-tech trend lately, and it’s happening in some pretty high-tech environments. I’m talking about good old fashioned note taking…like, on paper and stuff. I’m even seeing more scribbles, doodles, and downright art in the margins. Be still my inner Picasso!

Is anybody out there not bringing a notepad and a pen to conferences and seminars? I know that for me, if it’s a social media conference or a tech event; I am prone to neglect these utensils for attention to my laptop. I know that the pen is mightier…and all that, it’s just a matter of preference for me. I prefer to look high tech and cool in public whenever possible 8)

There’s a reason that the conferences and seminars of today hold to the ancient oral tradition of storytelling as a format, it’s memorable. From before Jesus stood on hillsides, stories were told to an audience with a rhyme and a meter for memories’ sake. Still today we easily remember melodies and jingles whilst spoken words escape recall. There’s a reason that you brought along that Moleskine® too.

Time-tested and true, the studious practice of writing things down is still one of the best ways to utilize the different parts of your brain, and this to help retain important information. It’s just that simple, looking, listening, speaking, and writing all draw from different physical faculties and neurological processes. The more of these that you make use of, the better you’re taking it all in.

I include the presentation below for inspiration. This is a set of sketch notes from Mike Rohde of rohdesign.com. Mike is a man who is well known and sought after for his note taking skills. This particular set is from a Word of Mouth Marketing Crash Course. Look for Mike as a presenter at SXSW10 later this year.

Give it a try the next time you attend a conference or seminar. Have a little fun with your note taking. By all means, add a few :)’s and a lightning bolt or two! You’ll remember the story longer, and the sharing will also become infinitely more interesting when passion meets paper.

Todd Schnick February 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I don't go anywhere without my Moleskin. That is all.

Havana February 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Yes! I take WAY better notes on paper than I do on any electronic device and believe me, I’ve tried! I need to be able to scribble quickly in the margins, draw diagrams, mindmap, adjust headings and bulletpoints without a billion clicks in between. I need to scribble out, star, circle, and draw arrows in my notes. :) I’m a note-taking cowboy on paper.

Viva la paper!

Havana February 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Yes! I take WAY better notes on paper than I do on any electronic device and believe me, I’ve tried! I need to be able to scribble quickly in the margins, draw diagrams, mindmap, adjust headings and bulletpoints without a billion clicks in between. I need to scribble out, star, circle, and draw arrows in my notes. :) I’m a note-taking cowboy on paper.

Viva la paper!

James Ball February 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Thank you Ginger. I appreciate that you in particular liked the post. The tech guy in me does love all of the gadgets…but the artist in me loves the paper and the scribbles. I totally agree that there is no substitute to writing it down to help commit something to memory!Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Ginger February 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

It's funny that this came out today… I was just suggesting to Tori (daughter, age 10) that she re-write her notes in an effort to remember as she's studying for a test, brought back all of my memories of note-taking for class.. I would remember where they were on the paper at test time, especially, if I added scribbles and stuff… I tend to have an affinity for paper, be it notepads, books, whatever! I understand the move of technology away from volumes of paper in business (invoices, medical records, etc), but I hope we can still retain some ability to experience reading/holding/turning pages of a book, or hand-writing notes… Cool post James!

@ginidietrich March 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I'm so glad you sent me this link! Super, super cool! AND I know Andy Sernovitz so it's fun to see what he says in your sketches.

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