I hate taking notes on phone calls. It’s distracting and makes it harder to develop a rapport with whoever I’m speaking to.
And it puts me in an awkward catch 22. If I’m taking good notes, I’m not fully present and engaged. But if I️ don’t take good notes, I️ miss details that must be retained.
Taking Notes Makes You Less Engaging
There are literally hundreds of studies on multi-tasking during meetings and phone calls. And you’ve almost certainly heard the general consensus is that multi-tasking is bad. But what about the practical problem of retaining what gets said in important meetings?
The challenge is that using notes for retention consumes a considerable amount of your brain power – or to use the scientific jargon, it has a high cognitive load.
And because our brains have a finite attention capacity, this means if you are taking notes, you are necessarily doing other things less well. You are less attentive to what’s being said, less able to absorb nuance in how it’s being said, and less capable of responding thoughtfully.
Put more practically, you exhibit less charisma when you take notes. At a minimum, you miss opportunities for levity through a well-timed joke. At worst you come off as distracted and uninteresting.
The Note Taking Alternatives that Don’t Work
To remedy this problem, I’ve tried just about everything: shorthand scribbles — indecipherable the next day; hiring an intern to listen in — expensive and they never have enough context to know what’s actually important; recording my calls — no way I’m going to re-listen to the entire call again.
I’ve even tried fancy “AI summarization tools” that use natural language processing to “surface action items.” None of these come even close to producing notes that are intelligible or useful.
But retaining information from meetings is critical. Even if I had a great memory (I don’t), details like a client’s budget or strategic goals are important enough that I need them recorded accurately. Often, having accurate notes spells the difference between following up intelligently and ignoring the other person forever.
How To Approach Call Notes Differently
After struggling with call notes for years, we finally decided to do something about it and spent the last year building Jog.ai: an automated call recording, transcription, and note-taking platform.
The way it works is simple. Jog lets you dial anyone directly or you can use a dedicated dial-in number it gives you for conference calls. Any calls made through Jog are transcribed within minutes, and the actual audio is synced with the text so you can find important moments quickly. Here’s what a call looks like after it’s processed.
During calls, you can tap a key to mark a moment, or add a brief note that is timestamped to that particular point in the conversation. When you go to review the call, you can listen to the call or just review important moments.
And it goes even further — as you take notes, Jog.ai starts to learn what you consider are the interesting moments, and will mark those automatically in future calls.
We’ve been testing it for about six months and I have to say it’s incredible to be able to stay present and focused on the actual person on the other end of the line. No more trying to catch up on what was said because I was busy scribbling a short essay, and then having to say, “sorry, could you clarify,” to hide the fact I wasn’t listening. It‘s liberating to not have to worry about taking notes.
Want to See it in Action?
If you want to try it out, there’s a free trial here. Or if you don’t want to bother with that, just schedule a 5 minute call with our team. No sales pitch, I promise. We’ll just answer any questions you have and send you the link to the conversation after so you can see how well it works transcribing your voice.