I knew right away, when you walked in here with a paper notebook — a paper notebook! — I realized that this meeting was not going to be a good use of our time.
You’d make better use of your time if you took your notes in digital form, ideally in an access-anywhere digital notebook like Evernote that makes retrieval a snap. If you had that, I could shoot you the link of the book I want you to read, or the contact card of the person you want to meet. And if you planned to act any of the ideas or outcomes from this meeting, you would want to pop the follow-up tasks into your task management program.
I often use paper notebooks. I don’t care what other people use. The means are not the ends.
I judge coworkers on their results, not their tools. I recommend everyone does the same.
If I worked with someone who used smoke signals and carrier pigeons but did better work than their fully upgraded neural implanted cyborg peers, I’d make sure they had all the firewood and bird feed they needed. And by the same token, if the cyborgs did better work, I’d offer cyborg implants to the rest of the team to try. It’s only after I see what people produce that I’d consider commentary on the means they used.
Most meetings I’m in are about people’s ideas. We prioritize what goes on it the meeting over worrying about notes for who isn’t in the room. We pitch ideas at whiteboards, we sketch strategies, and we use every tool each of us thinks helps us get whatever task we’re doing at the moment. Sometimes the latest gadgets are involved. Often it’s just paper and pens. But we’re all open minded about how we work together, and I think you should be too.
I’ve yet to work in a place where taking notes was a major concern for meetings. I’ve never heard of a notes crisis, or had teams complain they were overwhelmed with the burdens of writing, transcribing and reading notes. Most notes in most meetings in most of the history of the world are never read. I have no data to support that claim, but perhaps I’ve avoided workplaces that have fueled their own paranoia about what might get missed.
When I first read your post I thought it was a joke. Maybe it was and I didn’t get it. But if I take it seriously I’d be afraid to work with you. I’d assume you’d judge me before I even had a chance to show you what I can do. And given how many people will read what you wrote, you should keep this in mind when you start your next meeting.