Jazak Allahu Khairan brother Zahid for your wonderful comments. May Allah bless you and your family and grant you the best in this world and the next – Ameen.
As to your request about some tips on taking notes, Insha Allah in the following, I will try and put some brief tips on how to take notes.
Taking good notes takes a lot of practise and Insha Allah after you have done it a few times it will become easier and easier. The key to taking good notes is to be able to listen to the speaker and take bullet point notes that will remind you of the main point that the speaker was trying to make.
Never try to write word for word what the speaker is saying as you will not be able to benefit fully from the speech and you will miss out a lot because you’ll be spending too much time writing.
Instead think of key words in a sentence that will remind you of the full sentence. For example in Shaykh Habib Ali’s talk on Mawlana Shah Jalal when he mentioned about Mawlana Shah Jalal encouraging his disciples to intermarry into the Sylheti community, all I wrote in my note was ‘Encourages disciples to intermarry, wives happy, disciples good husbands’.
The art of writing broken sentences comes in very handy when taking notes. Make sure notes are short and concise and they remind you of the content of the talk.
Once the event is over, go home and write up (type up) thorough notes soon after the event, otherwise the bullet points won’t mean anything after a few days/weeks as you would have forgotten much of what was said.
One good way of practising taking notes is by putting on a talk on your CD player and taking notes. I remember in my early days I used to pause, rewind and play over and over again in order to catch the main aspects of the talk. However, after a little practise I started to write in bullet point form while the Shaykh is talking and I did not need to rewind and replay the talk.
I encourage all brothers and sisters to take a pen and paper to every talk that you attend and to make notes. I remember Shaykh Hamza Yusuf asking at one of his talks for those with pens and notepads to put their hands up, and very few people raised their hands, at which he encouraged everyone to bring a pen and note pad to talks to make notes of things they learn.
I am by no means an expert on taking notes and I make many mistakes and miss lots out as I am paying attention to the speaker, but as I say, it takes practise and even if you take very little notes at events, it comes in handy when you’re looking back through your notes after a few years and you see something that catches your eye that was interesting at the event.
So in conclusion the key to taking good notes:
1) Take only bullet point notes (do not write full sentences)
2) Use key words that remind you of the full phrase/sentence
3) Go home and write up (type up) thorough notes soon after the event.
If anyone has any other beneficial advise on taking good notes, then please feel free to share them with us.