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Nov

29

2016

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

open letter.jpg

Growing up, I was fascinated by my mom’s shorthand notes. The cryptic symbols she’d write blindly while listening through our 1980s-era phone with a 12-foot cord were a different language — vestiges of a different time. 

“You’ll never need to learn shorthand because you’ll type all your notes,” she explained.

And as it turns out, she was right. These days, many of us have traded in our mechanical pencils and fancy notebooks in favor of laptops to ensure that our every word is perfectly spelled and neatly tucked away in “the cloud.”

It wasn’t until I attended a Bold Talk at INBOUND 2014 about note-taking that I put much thought into the difference between writing and typing notes. In his session — “The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think” — New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson explained why handwriting is better for taking notes and remembering big-picture thinking, while typing is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others.

Ever since I attended that session, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was he right? Were we doing this all wrong? To get some answers, I dug into some research on handwritten notes versus typed notes. 

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

TL;DR: As it turns out, understanding how your mind captures, retains, and recalls information can help you become more productive. Writing notes by hand in long-form will force you to synthesize the information, which helps you remember and recall it. So next time you head to a meeting, consider just a notepad and pen.

When we take notes by hand, we typically can’t keep pace with the information being presented to us. As a result, our brains are forced to quickly synthesize the information into two categories: “important: write this down” and “not important: don’t write this down.”

That simple neurological process is valuable to us, as it begins to stamp those important notes in our memory. In other words, when we’re forced to mentally prioritize information, it becomes a little bit stickier in our mind.

In his Bold Talk, Thompson described a series of experiments conducted by researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer that demonstrated the benefits of handwritten notes:

A couple of scientists decided to test this. They set up an auditorium of people. Half of them took notes on keyboard and half of them took notes handwriting while someone spoke. They wanted to figure out who would remember the most, who would retain the most. They tested them afterwards. It turns out that handwriting won, hands down, pun intended. Handwriting completely won out. People understood more, they retained more, they remembered more when they wrote by hand.”

There are times when typing is optimal, however. Thompson goes on to explain that typing is better suited for communicating information to other people. (Think: Handwriting is for input, while typing is for output.)

Fast-typing, referred to as transcription fluency in this context, correlates to better writing skills because there is less interruption between your thoughts and the composition. Stephen Graham, a scholar of literacy, described this phenomenon as follows:

You can think of the ideas in your head as rushing along and you’re trying to transcribe them onto the page. The faster you can do that when you’re in the act of writing, the less likely it is that words and ideas will escape and get away from you.”

7 Handy Tips for Taking Better Notes:

At the end of the day — with all research aside — the most productive way to take notes will ultimately boil down to what works best for you. But whether you’re typing away or jotting things down by hand, we put together some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind that’ll help you stayed organized. 

  1. Know the purpose of your notes. Do you just need to remember a few key things to follow up on from a meeting? Or are you preparing for an exam that will test you on the details? Knowing your purpose will help you craft the right amount of detail.
  2. Use a lined notebook and *try* to use good penmanship. The extra time you put into your handwriting will save you time later when you’re searching through your notes.
  3. Underline, embolden, italicize, and highlight. Introduce some textual hierarchy into your notes so that you can decipher them more easily later on. Need help mastering italic handwriting? Check out this self-instructional course.
  4. Get the big ideas down on paper. Trying to keep up with a fast-talker? Try just recording any numbers and facts that you know you won’t be able to recall. As soon as you get the chance (as in directly after the lecture) fill out your notes with everything you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  5. Try a tablet and stylus. Want the memory benefits of handwriting, with the collaborative benefits of digital? A tablet and stylus — like Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil — can help you speed up the note-taking process.
  6. Learn the ins and outs of bullet journaling. According to the website, bullet journaling is best described as a “customizable and forgiving organization system.” You can learn more about this approach (and other helpful strategies) here.
  7. For meeting notes, record the initials of the person who made the noteworthy comment. This makes it easier for you to follow up with them. Date, time, who’s in attendance, meeting topic, and project are all housekeeping items that add context to your notes for a future — possibly more forgetful — version of yourself.

Ready to Improve Your Skills?

If note-taking is not your strong suit, consider it a skill worth developing that will have compounding effects on your productivity throughout your career. Remember: Typing is best for getting your thoughts on [digital] paper, with as little interference between idea and text as possible. And for content creators, learning how to type quickly will allow you to get your point across with less edits later on.

Want to work on developing your content skills even further? Check out HubSpot Academy’s first-ever Content Marketing Certification here.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

Nov

29

2016

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

open letter.jpg

Growing up, I was fascinated by my mom’s shorthand notes. The cryptic symbols she’d write blindly while listening through our 1980s-era phone with a 12-foot cord were a different language — vestiges of a different time. 

“You’ll never need to learn shorthand because you’ll type all your notes,” she explained.

And as it turns out, she was right. These days, many of us have traded in our mechanical pencils and fancy notebooks in favor of laptops to ensure that our every word is perfectly spelled and neatly tucked away in “the cloud.”

It wasn’t until I attended a Bold Talk at INBOUND 2014 about note-taking that I put much thought into the difference between writing and typing notes. In his session — “The Pencil and the Keyboard: How The Way You Write Changes the Way You Think” — New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson explained why handwriting is better for taking notes and remembering big-picture thinking, while typing is better for composing your ideas and communicating with others.

Ever since I attended that session, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was he right? Were we doing this all wrong? To get some answers, I dug into some research on handwritten notes versus typed notes. 

Keyboard vs. Pen: What’s the Best Way to Take Notes?

TL;DR: As it turns out, understanding how your mind captures, retains, and recalls information can help you become more productive. Writing notes by hand in long-form will force you to synthesize the information, which helps you remember and recall it. So next time you head to a meeting, consider just a notepad and pen.

When we take notes by hand, we typically can’t keep pace with the information being presented to us. As a result, our brains are forced to quickly synthesize the information into two categories: “important: write this down” and “not important: don’t write this down.”

That simple neurological process is valuable to us, as it begins to stamp those important notes in our memory. In other words, when we’re forced to mentally prioritize information, it becomes a little bit stickier in our mind.

In his Bold Talk, Thompson described a series of experiments conducted by researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer that demonstrated the benefits of handwritten notes:

A couple of scientists decided to test this. They set up an auditorium of people. Half of them took notes on keyboard and half of them took notes handwriting while someone spoke. They wanted to figure out who would remember the most, who would retain the most. They tested them afterwards. It turns out that handwriting won, hands down, pun intended. Handwriting completely won out. People understood more, they retained more, they remembered more when they wrote by hand.”

There are times when typing is optimal, however. Thompson goes on to explain that typing is better suited for communicating information to other people. (Think: Handwriting is for input, while typing is for output.)

Fast-typing, referred to as transcription fluency in this context, correlates to better writing skills because there is less interruption between your thoughts and the composition. Stephen Graham, a scholar of literacy, described this phenomenon as follows:

You can think of the ideas in your head as rushing along and you’re trying to transcribe them onto the page. The faster you can do that when you’re in the act of writing, the less likely it is that words and ideas will escape and get away from you.”

7 Handy Tips for Taking Better Notes:

At the end of the day — with all research aside — the most productive way to take notes will ultimately boil down to what works best for you. But whether you’re typing away or jotting things down by hand, we put together some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind that’ll help you stayed organized. 

  1. Know the purpose of your notes. Do you just need to remember a few key things to follow up on from a meeting? Or are you preparing for an exam that will test you on the details? Knowing your purpose will help you craft the right amount of detail.
  2. Use a lined notebook and *try* to use good penmanship. The extra time you put into your handwriting will save you time later when you’re searching through your notes.
  3. Underline, embolden, italicize, and highlight. Introduce some textual hierarchy into your notes so that you can decipher them more easily later on. Need help mastering italic handwriting? Check out this self-instructional course.
  4. Get the big ideas down on paper. Trying to keep up with a fast-talker? Try just recording any numbers and facts that you know you won’t be able to recall. As soon as you get the chance (as in directly after the lecture) fill out your notes with everything you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  5. Try a tablet and stylus. Want the memory benefits of handwriting, with the collaborative benefits of digital? A tablet and stylus — like Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil — can help you speed up the note-taking process.
  6. Learn the ins and outs of bullet journaling. According to the website, bullet journaling is best described as a “customizable and forgiving organization system.” You can learn more about this approach (and other helpful strategies) here.
  7. For meeting notes, record the initials of the person who made the noteworthy comment. This makes it easier for you to follow up with them. Date, time, who’s in attendance, meeting topic, and project are all housekeeping items that add context to your notes for a future — possibly more forgetful — version of yourself.

Ready to Improve Your Skills?

If note-taking is not your strong suit, consider it a skill worth developing that will have compounding effects on your productivity throughout your career. Remember: Typing is best for getting your thoughts on [digital] paper, with as little interference between idea and text as possible. And for content creators, learning how to type quickly will allow you to get your point across with less edits later on.

Want to work on developing your content skills even further? Check out HubSpot Academy’s first-ever Content Marketing Certification here.

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

Jun

15

2016

Solving For the Future of Social Media: How to Keep Your Strategy Ahead of the Curve [Free Master Class]

Future_Proof_Your_Social_Media.jpg

Instagram? Snapchat? Facebook Messenger? What’s next? I was just getting started on Twitter and Facebook!

That’s how most of us feel when we’re rethinking our social media strategy. Social networks are changing, but not as fast as user behavior and content are, and that’s leading to completely new networks that are disrupting the status quo.

There’s no question that social media has changed the way buyers shop and learn about new products and services. These channels play a vital part in your inbound marketing strategy. Unlike the scheduled updates to Google’s search engine algorithms we’ve grown accustomed to, our social media channels evolve rapidly as new networks spring up and old networks settle.

How can busy marketers separate “trends” from new must-have social channels? Join a HubSpot Academy Master Class on June 23 to learn how to future-proof your social media marketing strategy.

This month, HubSpot Academy and Buffer are presenting a live Google Hangout featuring HubSpot’s Social Media Manager, Chelsea Hunersen, and HubSpot Academy’s Social Media Professor Markiesha Ollison to explore how they’re thinking about social media marketing in 2017 and beyond.

Need help future-proofing your social media strategy? Click here to reserve your seat.

How to Future-Proof Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Mar

3

2016

6 Things to Update Before Starting Your Next Job Search

update-before-job-search.jpeg

Starting a job search is a daunting task. People often feel pressured to find a new job as quickly as humanly possible — making it all too easy to jump headfirst into the hustle of browsing job listings and sending out applications to everything that looks remotely up your alley.

Not so fast, my friend.

In a world where information about you is readily available on the web and social media, it’s vital that you clean up and update your digital footprint and personal brand — before you start sending out those applications. Trust me, it’ll make your job search go much more smoothly.

Last summer, I found myself in an unexpected job search of my own. As a marketer, I did what I do best: I ran my job search like a marketing campaign. That meant not only updating my resume, but updating my personal brand, my social media profiles, my email signature, and more.

Here are six steps I took during that job search that helped me land my job at HubSpot within a month. (Want your marketing resume to stand out to recruiters? Click here to learn how to get your inbound marketing certification from HubSpot Academy.)

6 Things to Update Before Starting Your Next Job Search

1) Update your resume, and use it to tell a story you’re excited about.

Your resume is still one of the most important parts of your job application. But when it comes to updating it, a lot of people approach them with too rigid a perspective.  Interviewers want to hear more than the projects you worked on and the result you achieved; they want to hear the excitement in your voice as you tell them about those projects.

First, take a look at the last version of your resume. (Download these 10 free marketing resume templates if you’re starting from scratch.) Then, reflect on who you are today compared with who you were when you wrote the last edition of your resume.

Start with the big stories, the home runs, and the campaigns that actually moved the needle for your team, your customers, or your company. Add new skills, technical or not — you know, the supporting evidence to how you accomplished those home runs. Sprinkle in hard numbers wherever you can to make those stories real.

Once you’ve got the content down, refresh your formatting. How you format the document itself clues recruiters and hiring managers in to the way you collect your thoughts and organize your ideas. Also, if you’re three to five years out of college or graduate school graduation, go ahead and move that “Education” section to the bottom — that is, unless you connected with someone through an alumni network or if you know an executive there also went to your school.

2) Update your professional (and personal) brand.

While you’re creating your resume, think about your personal brand. What are you passionate about? What do you do outside of work? If someone were to ask you who you are and what you care about, what’s your thirty-second elevator pitch? If you were to get stuck in that elevator, what’s the long version — with all the details that describe how you got to where you are and where you’d like to be in the future?

When you answer these questions, you’re building your personal narrative. When you do this exercise, be honest with yourself. Be sincere. Make sure this is really a story about you. If you told your closest friends your spiel, would they laugh you out of the room? (Here’s a detailed guide to personal branding if you need some help.)

Once you’ve gotten your message and your branding down, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.

3) Update your social networks for the mission at hand.

When recruiters and interviewers do research on you to see if you’re a fit, you’d better believe they’re going to take a good look at your social profiles. In fact, a study from Jobvite found that 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.

The last thing you want is for your posts to cost you a job opportunity. Here are some steps you can take to audit your social media presence.

Facebook

Consider updating privacy settings to make sure only the posts you want public can be seen by potential interviewers.

First, see what your profile looks to people who aren’t Facebook friends with you (and people with varying degrees of friendship) using Facebook’s “View as” feature. To do that, go to your Facebook profile and click the button with the three dots to the right of “View Activity Log” on your cover photo, and click “View As.” 

facebook-view-as.png

When the page refreshes, it’ll show you what your profile looks like to the public. You can also go ahead and type in specific friends’ names to see what your profile looks like to them.

Twitter

In many ways, recruiters might see your tweets are an extension of your personality, interests, and opinions. Take care to read through your last few months of tweets to make sure they represent you in a professional way. In retrospect, that angry tweet you sent to an airline while sitting on the tarmac may not have cast you in the best light …

LinkedIn

First, turn off broadcast notifications so you can make changes to your profile without broadcasting them to your network. To do that, log in and move your cursor over “Profile” at the top of your homepage, and select “Edit Profile.” Then, find the box on the righthand side of your profile that says “Notify your network?” and toggle the button so it says “No.”

linkedin-broadcasts-off.png

Next, add media, examples of your work, a link to an updated portfolio, and any new skills, certifications, and awards you may have gained. (Click here for a complete cheat sheet for updating your LinkedIn profile.)

4) Update your email signature.

Chances are, you’re going to be emailing back and forth with recruiters and potential employers as you search for your next job. An email signature is an easy way to link to places you want them to see, like your Twitter and/or LinkedIn accounts, your blog, your online portfolio, and so on. (Just be sure you’re not making any of these 15 common email signature mistakes.)

Most email clients have a feature that’ll allow you to set up a signature that’ll be automatically appended to any emails you compose.

To set up an email signature in Gmail: Click the gear icon and select “Settings” from the dropdown menu. Stay on the “General” tab and scroll down to the Signature” section. Then, select the option below “No signature” to turn the feature on. (You can find more details here.)

To set up an email signature in Outlook: On the “Home” tab, choose “New Email.” On the “Message” tab in the “Include” group, choose “Signature” and then “Signatures.

Signature command

Under “Select signature to edit,” choose “New.” In the dialogue box that appears, type in a name for the signature. Under “Edit signature,” type in your signature and then choose “OK” when you’re done. (You can find more details here.)

(HubSpot customers: Click here to learn how to set up your email signature in HubSpot’s CRM.)

5) Update your network, and empower them to help you.

Now that your message, brand, and digital representation are all updated and ready, it’s time to tell your friends, family, mentors, colleagues, and coaches that you’re on the market. (If you’re choosing to be open about it, that is.)

You can prepare for these conversations in a few different ways. If you know the person’s network extends into a company you’re interested in, be direct with them. Ask for an introduction to the person you need to speak to. (Not sure how? Read this blog post for an email template for asking someone to give you an email introduction.)

Or, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation. My colleague Emma Brudner wrote a blog post about how to ask for LinkedIn recommendations, including an email template. She made a great point in her post: To ensure you get a customized recommendation, prompt the person you ask with a few specific topics or questions. For example:

“I’m really proud of the work we did on XYZ project. Could you write a bit about that initiative and what our collaboration and results were like?”

If you don’t have a target quite yet, be prepared to describe the opportunity you’re looking for: company size, industry, job function, role, and so on. The better you can prepare the people you reach out to, the more likely they are to help you.

6) Refresh your mindset.

Like I said, starting a job search is no easy task. You will get ignored, and you will get rejected. Expect it, and learn from it. Adapt your process. Keep your chin up, and keep your eyes on the prize.

On the other side of that same coin, don’t get overconfident, either. It can be tempting to stop sourcing new opportunities when you have a third-round interview at a company you like. It can feel like you’re going to jinx it, right? Here’s the problem: If that opportunity falls through, you’ll be back at square one and will need to build your pipeline from scratch all over again.

Keep your pipeline of opportunities full so that you can walk into that third-round interview confidently knowing that you have other opportunities developing. If you’re lucky, you might even have multiple offers to choose from.

Good luck!

What other things would you want to update before applying for a new job? Share with us in the comments.

10 free marketing resume templates

Nov

2

2015

Blogs, Books, Tools & More: Your Go-To Guide for Marketing Training [Free Resource]

2.4 million emails. 108,000 YouTube views. 50,000 Google searches. 10,000 tweets.

These numbers represent what goes down on the internet in just one second. I repeat, one second.

These days, the world spins too fast for formal, one-time marketing training. Our methods of communicating with each other are constantly evolving, and even while “content is (still) king,” the way we package and distribute that content is dramatically different than a few years ago.

Successful marketers have learned to make learning a part of their day job. They read, attend events, watch webinars, seek out mentors, and study their peers. It’s this type of continuous marketing training that enables teams with varied skill levels to work more effectively.

“A CMO of a successful company taking the time to re-learn the fundamental skills she requires of her team so she can communicate with them better is the embodiment of an ‘always be learning’ team culture,” explains Sarah Bedrick, Certifications Program Leader here at HubSpot.

So to help marketing teams navigate their options for continued marketing training and cultivate this type of culture, HubSpot Academy created The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Training.

The page organizes various types of marketing training based on how comprehensive they are, and by how expensive they are. For each training type, you can explore the pros and cons, dive into recommended resources, and discover hidden gems.

To find a marketing training that fits you and your team’s needs, check out the free guide here.

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