Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why I take sketch notes (and why you should too)

I first saw live sketch notes at UXLX conference last year - not that I had never heard of sketch notes, yet I had not seen them live before then.
All the sketches were hung in the hall right after each session. Live Sketching people were fantastic in fixing on paper the core concepts of every talk and the flow of it - it felt you could grasp the sense of the talks you did not attend.

Just have a look yourself:

You can also browse through Live Sketching gallery

I've always been a visual person, and those sketches stroke some inner chord of mine. It took a while, but as soon as I caught the wave of change in my life and was gifted a plain page Moleskine, I decided I would start using sketches in my notes.

Here are the sketch notes I took at an event I attended last week called "Personal Branding e Reputazione in rete" by Marco Massarotto:

I must say that having switched to sketch notes has been a major improvement in my note taking: any time I look back at the sketch notes I've taken so far there's no need to read to know what they are about, I remember the whole story at a glance and dive into details (text) quicker and only if needed. I'm sure that with practice this will improve a lot and I will be able to take notes more effectively, which in turn will help me to focus more and to better remember what I hear.

There is scientific evidence for the utility of sketch noting - here's Sunni Brown's TED talk about how doodling helps retainment:

Given all these plus, why shouldn't we all be taking sketch notes?

For those of you who think they cannot draw, here's a book that will help: The back of the napkin by Dan Roam.

So just don't worry and give yourself a chance and some time - and let me know how it goes :)

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