Re: note taking

Subject: Re: note taking
From: Karla McMaster <mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- CTI-PET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 08:41:00 EST

I've been surpised and interested at the vehemence expressed on this
topic. Offering to take notes at project meetings was one of the ways I
wormed my way close to the development team at my first tech writing job
(lo, these many years ago). So, I can't agree with those who say note-
taking is beneath them. I needed the notes, anyway, to make sure I had a
clear understanding of what was going on, and while I was putting them
into usable format for the team, I would often find inconsistencies, or
problems, which would be used as a jumping off place for the next
meeting. There were no laptops at that time--these days, that's what I
would use. By no means did I do a transcription, however. I just tracked
the design, as we formed it. And the questions. You know, the important

At the time, it didn't occur to me that I might be reinforcing a
stereotype (tech writer as secretary)--I just wanted to get more
information. I don't think it took long for the team to see that my
note-taking was not a static operation--that I could actually use the
process to contribute to the team. I also used the notes as the basis of
information to pass on to the customer training and support personnel,
about what was coming down the pipe. They also found it useful. Two
years after I was laid off, the manager I worked with there tracked me
down in a different city, and asked me to come back--and for a decent
salary. I'd say that I didn't hurt myself by my willingness to take

I definitely would not involve myself with transcription services. As
has been said, that can be more cost-effectively done by others.
However, to take notes on important points is another matter. You may
have many things to gain. I'd weigh each situation individually.

Good luck...

Karla McMaster, technical writer
CTI PET Systems, Inc., Knoxville, TN
mcmaster -at- cti-pet -dot- com

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