High-Retention Note-Taking for Meetings/Workshops

Master Note Taking

Do you take notes at work?

Being responsible for Digital & Marketing at Train Together, I frequently take notes for meetings, workshops, employer/learner interviews etc.. and to be honest it can be a struggle to decipher them at times.

That is until I came across this painless method for high-retention note-taking called “The Cornell Note-Taking System”

The Cornell Note-Taking System was originally devised in the 1950s by Professor Walter Pauk (an education professor at Cornell University) for taking and recalling lectures notes. Since we stumbled on this method, we have adapted it for business use, and it’s working great!

If you would like to try it yourself, download the free template that we created below and follow the simple instructions:

High-Retention Note-Taking

High-Retention Note-Taking  –  Free Template 


1  Record

Take notes using telegraphic sentences (remove all unnecessary words and stick to the main points/ideas).


2  Add questions/cue words

Once the meeting is over add a short relevant question to each of your condensed statements in the cue column and write a simple summary at the bottom of the page.


3  Recite

Cover your notes and reveal the cues one by one. Then say aloud, in your own words, the answers to the questions, facts, or ideas indicated by the cue-column.


4  Reflect

Look back over your notes and ask yourself questions on each, such as:

  • What is the significance of this?
  • What principle is this based on?
  • How can I apply this?
  • What is beyond this?


5  Review

Spend at least 10 minutes reviewing your notes each week for maximum retention.


Download here! High-Retention Note-Taking

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Posted on: December 23, 2014, by Michael Kirk

One response to “High-Retention Note-Taking for Meetings/Workshops”

  1. Hi Mike. It’s so easy to leave a meeting or complete a bit of research with fantastic notes and then not to look back over them! Recite, reflect and review are key to uncovering new ideas and ways of working. I find that if I don’t spend adequate time reflecting and reviewing I can easily forget the significance of the notes and sometimes the take-home messages entirely!

What are your thoughts?