As a designer, you will really take the time to talk with clients especially if you are into freelancing. But some designers who work in a company also deal with clients and meet them personally in a meeting to discuss a project. When situations like this arrive, it is not only your attitude or appearance that is important. There are also other things that you need to consider during meetings. Of course, you should never forget to consistently act professionally but you should also not forget an important skill to possess in order to make sure that your meeting will be successful.

What we are trying to point out here is your note-taking skill. A meeting with your client would be futile if you cannot take note of every important detail for the project. Also, it would be appalling on your client’s part if you will still be asking about some things regarding the project when you have already discussed it. So, to make sure that you won’t forget and skip anything, you need to have effective note-taking skills. How do you do that? Well, we have here some few tips for you.

1. Prepare.

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Before you go to the meeting, see to it that you have prepared everything. Prepare yourself and the things you need. Bring some paper and pen. Also, do not forget to bring extra pens just in case the other one fails to work. Bring everything you need in order to be a good listener and an efficient note-taker.

2. Use paper.

Use paper
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It would be better if you take notes using paper and not your laptop. It would only be a distraction while you are talking to the client and taking notes on a laptop at the same time. Also, writing down on paper cannot hinder the human connection between you and the client. If your client sees you taking notes of the important things you have during the meeting, he will feel that you truly value your work. They will also feel important to you. So, use pen and paper to create a good connection. Also, it would be an advantage on your part when you use paper for you will be able to review it by the time you will transfer it to your computer.

3. Have good listening skills.

Have good listening skills
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Of course, you have to know the right way to listen. When you are in the meeting, you should be able to listen well while still talking and interacting with the client. If you do not know how to listen, then you might miss some important parts of the meeting and you might even come out with the wrong stuff in your design.

4. Use symbols.

Use symbols
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It would be faster if you make use of different symbols for your notes. Like you can use asterisk for important things, a question mark if you need to research more about it or ask about it, and others. Make sure that you will not forget what your symbols are and what they represented. See to it that it is easy to understand and it can best represent something. Once you have used a symbol, always use it whenever you do note-taking.

5. Use short phrases.

Use short phrases
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To make it faster for you to take notes, use short phrases. Do away with long words for it will only eat up your time and you might not be able to catch up with what your client is saying. But make sure that you will understand your abbreviations. Don’t use abbreviations that you won’t recognize by the time to review your notes.

6. Draw diagrams.

Draw diagrams
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You can also make use of diagrams so that it would be easier for you to understand some concepts. It is up to you on how you will create it. The important thing is that you can understand what you have written. Diagrams can surely be effective in making your notes effective.

7. Organize notes.

Organize notes
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After note-taking, you can organize them and summarize them now. This way, you can have better understanding on your notes. You should also keep them well so that you can still use it even if you have done the recording months ago. Place it in a folder with the proper label.

8. Avoid summarizing during meetings.

Avoid summarizing during meetings

While you are still in the meeting, do not summarize the notes. You can do that after the meeting because if you will try summarizing while the client is still there, they will be distracted and it would seem that you do not care of their existence for you are so busy summarizing your notes.

9. Review notes.

Review notes
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If there are some parts of your notes that you are not sure of, you can ask the client about it, you better be sure of your notes now than wonder what it is when you are already about to start working. So, do not hesitate to ask questions and review some parts that are quite ambiguous for you.

10. Use technology.

Use technology
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Note-taking would be a lot easier if you make use of technology. You can use some applications that can aid you to record notes. You can actually write on a paper while recording the conversation. Or you can let your iPad do the job. There are many apps that you can choose from which can surely be a big help in note-taking. It would be more convenient to bring a tablet with you during meetings than bringing a laptop.

It’s Your Turn Now

Note-taking is indeed an important skill that one needs to learn. It is vital especially when you face clients and you are in a meeting. This will help you to be more proficient and efficient in your job as a designer. Do you do note-taking? What do you do in order to have better notes? Would you like to share that to us?

Kareen Liez

About the author: A Civil Engineer who has a construction business and a youth volunteer for a civic organization. She also contributes for a local newspaper due to her unwavering passion to write.