I believe we all learn in different ways. I also believe that we all recall information in different ways.

Now on one hand I am very “bog standard” accountant – I love numbers, I love a good spreadsheet, I love old fashioned pen and paper and I love adding stuff up on my (one of many) calculators.

However I am also non traditional in many ways.

I don’t wear a suit, I don’t have an office in Collins Street, I work virtually and I love cloud based applications.

“Another one of those ways is I swear there is a creative person trapped inside of me (albeit with very little skills but big desire).”

I thought I would put this creative theory to the test recently after I thoroughly devoured a book about Visual Note Taking. A completely new concept to me. It was all about ditching the 26 pages of furiously scribbled notes that you take at a seminar. You know the notes you never ever look at again as you don’t have time to read all 26 pages, and you can’t really remember why you wrote half of that crap down anyway?

Instead, I wanted to see if I could walk away from a seminar with a visual note diary – where I could capture the underlying stories using words and graphics in a condensed version.

Well I am not one to back down from a challenge (even if this was a self imposed challenge). So off I trotted to the MYOB incite roadshow with my blank unlined notebook (I know – this would give many accountants a heart attack right there) and my pretty ball point pens (yep….. a non-artistic accountant drawing in pen). Talk about jumping off a cliff.

The whole point of visual note taking is you are not trying to write down word for word what you hear. You are listening and trying to unravel the key story, and turning that into a visual reminder. Short, sharp and snappy. Sounds easy…..except for the tiny fact that I can’t draw.

But away we went and once I relaxed a little, I found I could easily focus on the speaker rather than stress about missing writing every word. I felt I connected a lot more with the stories they were conveying. I could emphasise points and key take always with ease, and I really enjoyed listening…I mean really listening to the passion and enthusiasm the presenters spoke with. Usually I miss that in the furious scribbling and frantic page turning.

“So whilst the creative inside of me is still ever so slightly trapped, I think this is a new skill I will be trying to develop.”

My visual notes are now on my office wall, and each day I am reminded of the passion, drive and purpose behind my business. To be a trusted advisor to my clients.