Notes-based meeting prep

Earlier this week, my coworker and I had a 1-1 meeting and she was delighted to see that I had brought a small index card and pen to the meeting. We spent a few minutes chatting about it. Here’s what I said:

Before every meeting, I prepare a 4×6 index card. If there is a meeting document, I read—or at least skim—the document to jog my memory on what we discussed last week and what I’ve learned since. Sometimes, I add some comments to the document so we can address them during the meeting. I write down some key things I want to say. (This may sound familiar to people working at Amazon or Square, both companies have time for silent reading during meetings.)

During the meeting, I write down notes and ideas by hand onto the index card. I listen actively, and I can write down important things that people say that aren’t answered—so I can help return to them in the meeting. I also am also mindful of openings in discussion to discuss the items that are important to me, and to ask questions.

After the meeting, I write the notes into a digital document I have for my work notes. I used to write directly into this doc, but I realized that having the index card as a filter and a finite space really helped. I cross out lines on the index card as I move them from physical writing to digital writing, and then pull apart the index card and recycle it. (Verbs like ripping and tearing sound too aggressive!)

This inevitably takes me more time, and I think it’s worth it; in fact, it’s probably one of the most important things that I do during the day—both personally and professionally. I can scan for patterns, remember key phrases and metaphors, and gut check them with the rest of the team later in future meetings.

Perhaps these are characteristics of being a slow thinker, but I’m not so sure about that. I think it leans into my strengths and preference for taking notes. I guess I’ll need to spend more time thinking about it and writing it out.

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