A First Attempt at Visual Note Taking

Recently, I have started seeing examples of visual note taking all over. As someone who likes to take notes and loves to learn new things, I was immediately interested. With conference weekend last weekend, I finally had a great chance to practice.

Conference weekend was ideal, because there was lots to take notes on (ten hours of broadcasts), and I won’t really need my notes to remember the material. All of the talks will be available soon in multiple formats. Perfect!

I still took my regular notes alongside my visual notes. This was nice as I was able to look back at them for points I missed. This was not nice, because by the end of the weekend, my hand really, really hurt.

I learned a lot in this first attempt. First, visual notes are wonderful for review. They are fun to look back at, and really condense the talk into a few key points. In that respect, they are a bit like a comic journal versus a regular journal. I may never reread my conference notes once I have the written copy of the talks in hand. I will most likely look at my visual notes, if only to remember quickly who said what.

Second, it’s easy to take note of something just because it makes a great visual image and miss the main point of the talk. Also, some things that you want to emphasize aren’t easy to make visually appealing. I will have to study this some more and see what other people do.

Third, I watched the women’s session at the church where the lights were dim, so I took regular notes and completed the visual notes later instead of at the same time. I think those notes are probably the best representation of the talks. Creating visual notes that are really useful might best be done after hearing the entire talk, so that it is a good representation of the main points of the talk and what I really want to remember.

I will definitely repeat this experiment. I think that visual notes are a great way to focus on the main points of a talk or lecture and have the information available for easy reference later. It’s also a good method to review what I’ve learned and think about it carefully.

Have you ever taken visual notes? Do you have any advice? Do you have any recommendations of great examples of visual notes for me to study? Please let me know!