Taking Notes during a PowerPoint Presentation

Last updated on August 20th, 2023

Many of you might have got an opportunity to attend a presentation. But did you ever think of taking notes? There are complete methodologies to take notes during presentations, for example the Cornell Notes method. The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes in the classroom, for example the student divides the paper into two columns: the note-taking column (usually on the right) is twice the size of the questions/key word column (on the left). The student should leave five to seven lines, or about two inches, at the bottom of the page.

Note taking is an integral part of PowerPoint presentation. It depicts the level of commitment shown by the members of audience.

What is the importance of taking notes?

  1. Notes help in recalling the important things that have been discussed in a presentation
  2. Information included in a presentation is a result of deep research made by presenter. Therefore it may include certain points that are difficult to find elsewhere.
  3. This activity also helps in improving your level of concentration towards work.
  4. You can quickly understand the main idea of presentation while taking notes.
  5. It makes you an active listener rather than the passive one which also boosts presenter’s confidence.

Note taking can be divided into three broad categories

Taking Notes Prior to the Presentation

At times, listeners are previously informed about the topic of presentation. In such a case, it is advised that the listeners who are going to take part in a presentation can go through the topic in advance. This will enhance their level of understanding during the presentation.

Try to reach the presentation venue at-least five minutes before commencement of a presentation. This will provide you with some time to settle down and take the seat of your choice. Further, you would not miss any part of the topic if you reach the venue ahead of time.

Taking Notes During the Presentation

Normally, first slide includes topic of presentation. Therefore follow ‘start from the very beginning approach’. This will help you to concentrate as well as understand a topic easily. Sometimes, “taking notes while listening” approach is followed. So, make sure that presenter’s voice must be loud enough so that you can hear it clearly.

Make use of short forms like ‘b/w’ for between, ‘>’ for less than sign etc. This exercise will save plenty of your time while taking notes. Leave an empty space in case you miss a part of presentation. You can always ask presenter to go back to previous section after completion of a presentation so that you can take notes.

Always pay attention to transitional links such as “three step process”, “in particular” etc.

Things to do post presentation

Human brain can remember only 35-40 percent things in absence of proper revision. Hence, if you desire to remember certain things for longer time, then revising notes gets essential.

Some Useful Note-taking Tips for PowerPoint presentations

  • You may use A4 size sheets while attending a presentation.
  • You can use different methods for taking notes including Cornell Method, etc.
  • Use headings, underline, bullets and numberings to note key points.
  • Take notes on a single side of page. By this, a person can easily add more points and information into the existing notes.

Note taking is a good source to remember key ideas for long time. Therefore take help of notes and get benefited.

If you are the presenter, you can also take notes in PowerPoint at the research time, design time or during a PowerPoint presentation. A practical way to do that is by using speaker notes in PowerPoint.

You can learn more about taking notes in presentations or even learn how to use the speaker notes if you want to save notes for each slide in the same .ppt file. Alternatively to Cornell methods or any other taking notes methodology, you may consider to use mental notes or mind maps, which can be a good way to make structured notes and write down ideas and concepts in a paper or sheet.

Checkout the mind map software page for more information about best mind mapping software available in the market.