I've recently purchased an iPad and am now trying to evaluate in what ways I can use it to boost my overall effectiveness and efficiency.

I am looking to replace my pretty cumbersome paper/digital system and go completely digital.

It seems to me like the iPad isn't at all as intrusive as a laptop screen would be and when lying flat down it is pretty obvious that I don't do anything not relevant to the meeting?

Having all my notes available from any webbrowser, fully searchable, emailable and much faster to type (even with the on screen keyboard I type considerably faster than I do with a pen) this setup just seems to good to pass on?

Have I missed anything? Would it be inappropriate to bring the iPad to meetings? (the rest of the organization uses a combination of laptops or cheap notebooks similar to the ones we used to have in school.)

Is there anybody out there using the iPad in a similar way? Any advice to get me going?

Do you use the iPad during your O3's? Any advice on how to make this as smooth as possible? 

Do you use any templates? How do you make that work?

How do you utilize notebooks vs tags?

Do you keep a record of feedback given? 

Etc, etc ;)


Thank you


afmoffa's picture

I think any laptop, PDA, or smartphone in a meeting hurts you more than it helps you. I wish it weren't so.

If you have an Internet-enabled device in front of you at a meeting, there is a risk that your coworkers will perceive you as being disengaged. Also, colorful screens are still eye-catching and distracting, even when their content is picayune. I continue to think the best route is to listen attentively, jot down a few notes on a legal pad if necessary, and type your notes and your thoughts once the meeting concludes. Big, formal meetings have someone taking official minutes for this very reason: it is very hard for one person to both participate in and document a conversation.

I was a PDA/laptop pioneer in college. Back When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth, I used an Apple eMate 300 laptop to take notes in most of my college classes. I'm sure it's de rigeur in schools today, but back then it was a real head-turner. I could draw charts and graphs right on the screen with the stylus. I could type everything into neat, organized, flexible outlines. Everything was searchable when it came time to study. Also, I am very slow handwriter, so that laptop was money well-spent. You don't need to convince me about the value of a good electronic note-taking system; I was on board ten years ago.

But back then, WDRtE, there was no such thing as WiFi. My eMate was manifestly primitive, so I clearly wasn't playing Warcraft or surfing the Web. The screen was neither backlit nor colorful. And even at the small college I attended, a classroom was less of a participatory event than a meeting is.

If you do decide to bring you iPad to meetings, it behooves you to assume that others see you as only partially attentive, and to do all you can to combat that assumption. Chime in on every idea that gets near your wheelhouse. Make eye contact with every person in the room at least twice. Read aloud from your previous notes. And, of course, put your iPad in airplane mode so that you don't get any Instant Messages or tweets mid-meeting.

mmann's picture
Licensee Badge

I can only echo AFMOFFA and add something for O3s...

The benefits you list are all for yourself.  Since O3s are about the direct, how would your use of an iPad benefit them?  If my boss were to walk into my next O3 with an iPad I would have a series of thoughts that would go something like:

  1. What a showoff.
  2. Can that thing record my voice?
  3. How can I tell if she has the video camera turned on?
  4. I suppose she'll be able to search everything I say in this meeting... anything I say now will come back to haunt me.  I better be careful.
  5. I bet this won't be a two-way street... she'll be able to find incriminating things I say, and I won't have access to search it for those commitments she makes and doesn't deliver.

Irrational?  Maybe. 



terrih's picture

I bring my iPod Touch to meetings, but only to have it handy. Once in a blue moon, someone will ask a question that I can answer by calling up a note I had made in the past in Evernote. And of course, sometimes having a calendar is handy. Otherwise, the Touch lies quietly on the table.

rossrader's picture
Training Badge

I love Evernote and I love my iPad. I also agree that others find my use of it in meetings to be a distraction, see it as disrespectful and other negatives, so I no longer use it for taking notes. Paper is still the best way to take notes without detracting from a meeting or O3. Having said that, Evernote is an excellent data storage tool. I've paired mine up with a scanner and continuously feed it my notes from meetings, conferences, O3s and more (receipts, lot surveys, menus, brochures and business cards). Evernote does OCR on everything I give it, including my handwriting and makes it all searchable and instantly available. At the ECC in Toronto this morning, I was able to search for and retrieve my first DISC from 2006 within 15 seconds during one of the breaks when it came up during conversation. 

I hope this helps,


RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I've found that if you type on a keyboard, everyone just assumes you're doing e-mail.  Even if you are not, it's not effective.

This week I started taking notes with a stylus on my iPad.  It feels much more natural, and I don't think people draw the same conclusions as they do with a keyboard.   It probably helps that my handwriting is the subject of jokes and is universally known as awful, and not a good candidate for handwriting recognition software! 

I do my O3s with paper and pen, and have no plans to change that.  Why? 
1. Paper and pen are still more personal, and O3s are all about the person.
2. I don't generally need my O3 notes outside of my office.  There's no advantage to having them on my iPad.


p.s. I'm using Notes Plus, with plans to investigate Note Taker HD.  Both have magnifier input screens so that you can enter a reasonable amount of text on a single page.  Penultimate gets great reviews, but I agree with a blog post I read yesterday that describes the experience as "writing on a post-it note with a sharpy."

iamimani1's picture

I am a big proponent of Evernote, and have it on laptop/desktop/iPad/iPhone...i use it to keep and add notes during my one on one meetings with my staff and in our biweekly leadership meeting...only on rare occasions do I use it outside of my core group.  If there are others with their iPad or laptop in use, then i will, but it does come off in some groups as pretentious and distracting.


awalton's picture
Training Badge

Yes, I bring it to all meetings - meetings with my clients, meetings with my peers, meetings with my directs and meetings with my superiors. However, I always ask if it's okay if I take notes on my iPad before we start. Additionally, as the partners are fond of saying, "We're a technology company. We should be taking full advantage of technology.", so it's part of our culture here.

I can type much faster than I write and I can also type without looking at my keyboard or my iPad. So, I don't feel I lose that connection with my audience, any more than I would taking notes by pen/paper. I have the Zagg case with the integrated Logitech keyboard to make typing a lot easier.

I use OmniFocus to track almost everything, and since I've incorporated it, I'm much more effective. (Just wish they would produce OmniFocus on Windows!)

To your questions:

Is there anybody out there using the iPad in a similar way? Any advice to get me going?

You're going to have to find a system that works for you. My boss uses QuickOffice and puts all his notes into Word documents, and all action items and tasks into his calendar. As previously mentioned I use OmniFocus for action items, follow ups, etc. My notes are generally short and sweet, so I save them in the Notes app.

Do you use the iPad during your O3's? Any advice on how to make this as smooth as possible?

Yes, but I ask my directs if it's ok for me to take notes on my iPad during the meeting. As stated above, I only type out key items.

Do you use any templates? How do you make that work?

No, I don't.

Do you keep a record of feedback given?

Not on my iPad. I keep employee folders locked in my desk. Feedback notes (positive and negative) go in those folders.

gpeden's picture

I take handwritten notes on my ipad with a stylus an HD Notetaker.  It can import PDF's as templates (like O3 forms), and can output to PDF which I store in evernote, etc.

Takes a little getting used to, but looks and feels like you are taking notes on paper.  




 DiSC 7511

mfculbert's picture

Although I love my iPod, my laptop and my iPhone, they are not meant for meetings.

I have heard a lot of you talk about how wonderful Evernote is and will need to look at it because you have intrigued me. I don't feel that any of the proponents have explained what the iPad and Evernote bring to a meeting that is of support to the others at the meeting. My presence is for the benefit of others first. If i place my convenience higher than my effectiveness than I am mistaken. I am eager to hear more opinions and viewpoints.

GlennR's picture

First, I'm a big believer in each attendee fully participating in a meeting. It is extremely difficult to do this when there are electronics in the room. That means no, IM, no email, no surfing the web. Otherwise, as Mark pointed out in a different thread about IM, people who are not fully engaged risk creating the need for yet another meeting (my words, not his).

But, you say, you're not doing any of that, your typing notes (or using a stylus or a touch pad).

Question: How noisy is your keyboard. I find it highly distracting when someone is typing notes on a laptop because of the noise.I'm sure others do as well.  When there is a pause after a speaker has finished, as the rest of us digest his or her points, the sound of typing becomes the predominant noise. It's a distraction, folks.

For the records, I use a Moleskine journal and the Cornell method of note-taking which I think I tracked down years ago after one of the podcasts here. My handwriting stinks (My doctor even laughs at it) yet it's legible to me. That system works for me and it doesn't distract any of my fellow attendees.


(High S; Strong D, that's why.)

cgratny's picture

 Something that I've used is Livescribe. It's kind of the best of both worlds, IMO. I use it for all meetings, as it records audio. It also works with evernote. It gets the notes on my computer and doesn't take away from the personal touch of taking notes.  &

High D (and nothing else)