Accelerated Solutions Environment Blog

Accelerated Solutions Environment Blog

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The joy of visual note taking

Categories : FacilitationGraphics
Shortly after bringing in the new year, I joined the Capgemini Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) team in London – along with our Telford colleagues,  arguably one of the most creative and artistically-skilled consulting services teams in the UK!
Though I have never considered myself to be un-creative – I studied art for GCSE, am a compulsive doodler and have been known to have the odd good idea in my time – soon enough I found myself plagued by an emotion that was entirely new to me...
I’ve never been one to care about pretty stationery – pah! And biros work perfectly well, don’t they?  But looking around the team, I felt a sudden need to hide my scruffy, scrawling notes and uncontrolled doodles.
So when I was recently recommended an online course on visual note-taking, I cleared my afternoon and jumped at the chance! 
First thing I learnt is that taking more time over your notes, and making them more visually appealing,  can actually help you to think more clearly. A key message that pervaded throughout was to slooooooow doooowwwnnnnn... With so many digital tools now available, we expect efficiency at every turn. I certainly do. Yet sometimes, taking a bit more time producing and digesting handwritten notes can have a much more profound effect. 
During the course, I also learned a number of other great tips that anyone can apply to make their notebooks that bit more polished. My top five favourites include:
  • Preparation is key: Take time before you start making your notes. There are some key steps to follow. 
  • Draw a frame around the page (slide your finger along the edge of the paper to help produce a straight line – who knew?!) 
  • Take the time to write a large title at the top or in the centre of the page
  • Write the date and location at the bottom of the page (great way to remember the context you wrote your notes in).
  • How to write legibly: This one is already a biggie in the ASE. WRITE IN BLOCK CAPITALS. I found it most uncomfortable to begin with but it genuinely is easier to read!
  • Create a hierarchy with your words: If you’re writing a key theme or point, write it in big. The details that surround it can be written in smaller text. It’s a good way of prioritising what’s on the page.
  • Stars make great people: And they’re easy to draw! 
  • Make use of scale and colour: These can be great ways of highlighting key points, or sometimes simply adding some variety to a page. 


And finally, practice makes perfect! Patience is a virtue, and my notebooks aren’t going to transform over night, but I’m already starting to see progress.


About the author

Lizzie Gait
Lizzie Gait
Lizzie joined the London ASE Team in January 2016 as a co-facilitator. Having previously spent several years working in conferences and training, she loves the buzz of event days and seeing how people’s thinking changes and develops over the course of an ASE. Outside of work Lizzie spends her time walking, running and eating brunch. Not usually simultaneously.

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