Transcribing words verbatim is often one of the worst things you can do in a meeting: it takes a lot of time, is exhausting to do, and generally more effort than it’s worth.
Still, for fear of missing out on anything important, people will sometimes take notes with the energy and enthusiasm of a court stenographer, inadvertently missing key points and context that would be helpful to know later on.
That’s where point form notes come in.
You’re probably already using them anytime you go to a grocery store.
But aside from helping you remember to get cereal each week, point form note-taking can help you encapsulate larger themes, topics of discussion, important information, and to-dos that are worth remembering from meetings in far fewer words.
So, what’s the point of the point-form note-taking method?
Similar to bullet points, point form notes are simply notes—usually written with a dash at the front of them—that are used to paraphrase or summarize information.
Think of them almost like an abstract, representing important facts and key details while leaving out any extraneous information, making them a powerful time-saver during meetings at work.
How do you use point form notes?
Anyone who’s used the Outline Method when jotting down notes is probably already acquainted with how to use them, but here’s a quick refresher:
Start by placing the main points or topics of discussion furthest to the left (if you’re using an app for taking notes, your text is probably already indented to the left).
Add notes with a dash in front of them on subsequent lines (by adding a dash to the start of each note this should indent your note automatically to the right) to provide additional context or next steps.
And that’s it, really.
Tips for taking point form notes
Of course, there are a few things you can do to make your notes a bit more scannable.
Don’t worry about writing down complete sentences. The whole point of these notes (excuse the terrible wordplay) is to keep things brief, so they’re easy to write down and understand.
U.S. President Joe Biden, for example, gained notoriety in the note-taking community (yep, that’s a thing) for using one-to-two-word notes to remember points he wanted to discuss during the 2012 vice-president debate.
In terms of capitalization, style, and grammar, experts say to keep things consistent. If you use capital letters at the start of each point, be consistent throughout your notes. And use periods only if your notes are more than just quick thoughts (but remember, the goal is to keep it simple, so avoid long sentences).
If dashes aren't your thing, you could also use bullet points (most apps automatically revert to them when you start a quick note with a dash) or numbers (good if you’re creating a list of action items or priorities).
Lastly, make notes scannable by bolding headings and adding paragraph breaks between each section, so it’s easy to organize your thoughts and revisit them later on.
The final point
“When you take down almost everything, it becomes a disease,” Peter Burke, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, once told The Atlantic.
A bit dramatic, maybe.
But there’s no denying that most of us are inundated with too much information, making it harder to focus on what’s important.
Point form notes may be the minor adjustment you need to take meeting notes more efficiently and get more clarity in your day.
Whether you’re a sales superstar, in-demand consultant, busy recruiter, or someone who simply needs to schedule a lot of meetings, one thing’s for sure—you’ve probably booked a lot of them over the past two years.
Hybrid work has forced the majority of our meetings online, and while we appreciate being able to wear sweatpants during normal work hours, the time-consuming ballet that is sharing your availability, finding a time to meet, and adding it to your calendar isn’t quite as enjoyable.
Speaking with everyone from solopreneurs to seasoned professionals, it seems like a lot of people find meeting scheduling software either costly, impersonal, or just plain boring. And Calendly and other alternatives don’t always cut it.
We hear you.
Everyone is different, and so is how they work. Making good first impressions is important, and you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for them or basic customizations and integrations with your meeting booking system.
Nook Calendar’s meeting proposal feature is already used by tons of high-performing teams for selecting and proposing meeting times outside of their organization.
Now, we’re making things even easier by letting you build personal pages with shareable calendar-booking links, right in Nook Calendar. Add them to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, website, or messages when finding a time to meet.
We think it’s the best meeting scheduling software out there, and we’re excited for you to give it a try, so let’s get started.
Here’s How to Set Up a Personal Booking Page in Nook Calendar
First off, if you’re new to Nook Calendar—hello! (If you’re already a Nook user, you can skip ahead.)
You’re going to start by syncing your calendar—either from Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook—and entering your work email address.
Once you approve any necessary permissions, you’ll set up your People Bar. Search for any connections and add the people you interact with the most when scheduling meetings.
From there, you can add any additional calendars you want to see (add your personal one, if you like, to further prevent any overlaps when scheduling meetings), integrate with Zoom (so you can launch calls straight from your calendar), and choose your preferred display setting—select Match OS, Light Mode, or Dark Mode.
Launch Nook Calendar, and you’re ready to set up your online meeting scheduler.
Now, the fun begins
You’re going to start by claiming your unique URL for sharing your meeting availability page.
Your first name appears by default, but really, it can be anything. We recommend using your full name (e.g., /john-smith).
(You can always change your URL in the future, as long as it’s still available.)
From there, you want to complete your profile.
Your profile pic is automatically pulled in from your Microsoft or GCal account.
But you can add your name, job title, welcome message, and links to social media profiles or professional website, so guests know a bit more about you when booking a meeting.
Then, you can start setting your weekly availability.
Nook Calendar defaults to traditional time blocks—9–12 a.m. and 1–5 p.m. These are the hours someone can book a meeting from your personal page. Adjust them based on your availability.
Your timezone is automatically set to your local time, but you can change it if you primarily work with people in a different timezone and it’s better to visualize that when setting your availability.
Choose which calendar you want to accept meetings in—it can only be booked in one, but Nook Calendar will automatically reference your availability in other calendars you’ve synced to prevent double-bookings when someone schedules a meeting.
Now, it’s time to set up some paramaters.
You can set up your preferred meeting duration in either 15, 30, 45-minute or one-hour increments (or a custom time).
You can also add buffer time to give yourself a break between meetings, or set a lead time of up to 24 hours, so no one can book any last-minute meetings.
And you’re all set! You can preview what the page will look like, then share it with contacts or add it to your LinkedIn profile (we suggest adding it as a secondary URL), email signature, and anywhere else you do business.
Once someone books time in your calendar, you’ll receive an email and get a notification in the Pulse.
If you ever need to make any changes, you can access your personal meeting page in the bottom of the Magic Panel and make any adjustments—either to your weekly availability or personal information.
You can also remove your availability by simply creating events in Nook Calendar and marking them as Busy to block off time and prevent any bookings.
Nook Calendar’s new personal pages for sharing meeting availability are available on Web, iOS, and Android.
If you have any questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Hit us up in our Slack Community or contact us through Support.