I’m busy, you’re busy. So I keep these tips, all based on my adventures in newsrooms, to five pithy paragraphs. Do spread the word if you find them useful for your own workplace.
Taking notes may seem a rather quaint notion these days. I’ve delivered many a workshop on workplace skills to new employees who don’t think to pick up a pen until I suggest it. But if you agree that note-taking during a meeting or at a conference is a rather useful skill, here’s a tip I use to make it even more effective.
Have a red pen handy.
In this photo, taken from a recent notebook of mine, you can see how I use it when reporting from the courts. Note the red underlinings and the red asterisks. That’s because at any moment in courtrooms, a witness could say something sensational, or the defendant add some new detail that’s not been heard before. That’s when I reach for my red pen.
It ensures that when the court finishes for the day at about 4.30pm, and I’ve got less than two hours to structure, write, edit and upload my TV report, I immediately know where the most powerful bits were. Without my red ink, I’d face a sea of dark blue, and that wouldn’t help focus my mind at all.
So next time you’re in a meeting and feel a little overwhelmed with the incoming information, add one or two splashes of colour to your notebook when you hear the bits you REALLY want to remember. It doesn’t have to be red — you may prefer a nice shade of green. But they could be the only bits of the meeting that mattered.
If you’d like to experience the energy of working in a busy newsroom, I’d love to hear from you — you can find out much more about my workplace-skills workshops on my website!