The importance of taking notes

The current news out of Washington is the evidence of James Comey, former FBI director, about his meetings with President Trump, to the Senate committee. Apart from the theatre (and tragedy) of it, we note that Comey made sure everyone was aware of his meticulous note-taking after every meeting, and how this written record assists to inform what actually happened, and the record is greater than his memory alone.

In this Inc Article we read how Richard Branson uses note-taking as an essential part of his daily routine. The benefits of note-taking include the ability to "[make] better decisions, solve problems, and work more efficiently as a group."

At AFG we emphasise the importance of note-taking with our staff. Taking notes at the first meeting with a client captures the essential elements of what will become the partnership. What pain pint does the client want us to erradicate? Can we do that for them? What are we telling them we can achieve? These notes become the basis of the Service Level Agreement, and it is the SLA which is the reference throughout the duration of the relationship.

Our bookkeepers and accountants annotate the transactions they make in the accounting software so that at any time... perhaps months or years later... we can understand what underlies the transaction and what other documentation exists. (Our clients' auditors particularly love that we do this.)

And then there are the notes we provide on reports to our clients, through our dashboard reports or communication, which explains what we are doing, and confirms that we understand their financial situation.

Internally we use note taking at meetings, and staff reviews, as a record of the event and particularly as the basis of a To-Do list for further action.

Whether you use paper and pen (go crazy here) or a device (Apple pencil anyone?), or software - getting into the habit of regular writing will improve your decision-making and make you a smarter person!