How to Take Notes at Conferences

Conferences are an efficient way to get a lot of new information in a short amount of time, but does that information stick with you after the conference is over?

Taking Notes at Conferences

Today I am at the No Longer Virtual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia where I’ve been invited to be a speed session facilitator sharing tips for how small business owners can gain more publicity (and more leads). When I started going to business conferences, I loved the excitement of learning new things, but I found I was quickly moving on to the next thing before implementing what I had learned.

I’ve always been a note-taker so I had tons of notebooks and pieces of paper and handouts I was saving for the day when I would go back and implement those brilliant ideas, but when I went back and looked through my notes I had a lot of great information and not a lot of ways I could incorporate that information into real life situations or business practices.

Now, I take notes in a more creative way that allows me to think of how I would apply what I am learning to my own business and action steps I can take when I get home.

The benefits of taking notes are:

  1. You are more likely to remember what you’re learning.

  2. You’re actively listening and being present.

  3. You are consciously applying your learnings to your life and business.

Here’s how to take “smart notes” in real time:

  1. Take your notebook and divide a page in half either by drawing a line down the middle or folding it lengthwise.

  2. On the left side, take notes about what’s being said by the speakers.

  3. On the right side write down the creative ideas that are flowing to you, any feelings that come up for you and what follow up questions you have about the content.

  4. These notes can not only be used to enhance your business as a subject matter expert, but they can also be used to write content, blogs, social media posts, scripts for videos, and more because they are helping you look at your area of expertise in a new way.

The reason this works is because our brains are wired to put ourselves in the stories we are listening to. This means the things you learn will mean something different to you than they mean to others. It’s the reason why two people can go to the same movie and walk away with different perspectives on what the movie was about. When you have this level of awareness it can be a great way to help you learn more about yourself.

What conferences do you love attending? Leave me a note in the comments!