I am a huge proponent of coaching. (I have my coach to thank for much of my action and success.)

Whether you’re paying for coaching, you have a mentor, a close friend, or all of the above, it’s crucial to take each conversation and capture all of the useful advice and action items.

One of the hardest parts of being in a coaching situation is capturing and taking action on all of the great pieces of advice you receive.

If you’re like me, you may find it difficult to remember all of the great ideas that were flying back and forth in the moment.

As soon as I started my first coaching relationship, I knew I would need some way to record each call. I thought recording each call would solve all my problems because it would allow me to go back and revisit any conversation.

I researched and found this great plugin for Skype to record my conversations. But it quickly became cumbersome to try to scrub through a 40 to 60 minute call to re-find the nuggets of wisdom.

It’s taken me over a year to perfect my method, but I think I’ve finally come up with a way to remember the important parts of a conversation so I can actually take action on them later. I call it, the re-write method.

The Re-Write Method

Step One

During the call, I take notes on a paper notepad. Why paper? Something about writing by hand helps bring out my creativity and lets me emphasize points in a different way than typing. Plus, when you are typing during a Skype conversation, the sound of the keys can be very loud for the person on the other end (I am a very heavy typer).

Scribbling notes isn’t enough though. I tend to write down random words. I circle things profusely. Sometimes I even doodle.

If I were to just go back to my notes a couple of days later, they would be meaningless. My notes make no sense even to me when I revisit them.

Step Two

So here’s the important step: IMMEDIATELY after I get off the call, I create a new Evernote document. I name it with the person I talked to and the date.

I then retype my hand written notes (which at this point still make sense) to create a set of typed notes which have significantly more detail (usually bullet lists). I also like to indicate action items in red.

Step Three

For some reason, the combination of analogue and digital leads to the highest retention for me. I’m not sure if it’s the act of physically writing while I’m learning, or if the thoughtful act of re-typing my notes helps, but I find that I’m able to recall much more of a conversation using this method.

In case you were wondering, I still record the call JUST IN CASE there is something that I absolutely must hear again. I’ve found that I rarely go back to the raw recordings though, since the system is working so well for me.

I’m curious about how you approach this problem. How do remember important conversations?

Photo by Courosa


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