Stephen Vantassel here wildlife control consultant giving another episode of The Wild Life for pest geek podcast. Thank you for listening. Hey today I want to talk a little about the importance of note taking and how you can organize your notes so that you have. a continuous resource that you can build and then refer back to. one of the things that. pest control operators and even some wildlife control operators have to do is they have to go through continuing training in order to maintain their license. Or they go to training just to improve their quality of their professionalism. One of the challenges of course is is you’re inundated with so much information. How are you able to process that information. And one of the things that I find troubling. as an educator and someone who is a you know travels around giving instruction is how often people are sitting in the audience and they’re learning and sometimes are attentive but they don’t take notes. It always strikes me as a little odd if I think about it for a while and that’s why are people taking notes. And we basically it’s because we believe that everything’s Google. We are. We think that every answer to life’s problems. can be answered by Google and Google is a very powerful search engine. We could be sure but the reality is. is that Google doesn’t give you gives you information but it doesn’t give you. Filtered information and by that I mean it doesn’t do a good job providing you. context. So if you need to know how many people are in the United States today.
I mean Google’s a great place to go. It’s just sort of a brute fact. But if you’re trying to figure out whether you should use a particular pesticide. For someone in an allergic situation or a high risk situation. that becomes much more difficult for you to extract with a couple click click clicks on your computer or your cell phone. And what we’re missing is when we’re going to training a lot of times the contextual information. that we get from a quality training course that you’re going to. Needs to be captured so that you can refer back to it if you’re training a new colleague. If it’s an obscure issue that you don’t normally deal with that you have that information sourced somewhere. but there’s also another reason not just historical but some of the research seems to suggest that. taking the time to write. down notes. actually helps in bed that information deeper into your consciousness and into your memory. One research program project that I’ve heard about was as it tried to compare students that took handwritten notes and compared it with those who took a computer typed notes. If you go to colleges today they’re often filled with students who were typing up their notes and part of that is because typing is so much faster. than handwriting and what they are and what they found. If my entries remembering recollections because I didn’t read that particular article I was looking at a post from someone who looks at.
learning is that they found that students that were hand writing down their notes actually had better comprehension and better retention than students who were typing things down and I know just anecdotally in my own life. That’s certainly been true. I when I’m typing something I don’t necessarily have that same engagement. It seems to be that there’s a relationship with the. neural networks of your hand moving across the page and the amount of effort involved to do that embeds information better into your system. So enough about that. The reality is that you need to be take taking notes when you go to your training events. If for nothing more even if you never look at your notes again is it helps hone your mind and hone your attention so you’re actually grasping more information out of it. And I know people say oh I just want to give the PowerPoint and it’s too much work to take notes. The reality is it’s it’s not. You do get better as you work at it. It actually helps improve your mind. And one of the things that we want to do as professionals of the past with the pesky world is that we want to get that geek factor. realizing that we’re not just simply animal killers or bug killers that we’re bringing more to the table than that sometimes we’re not able to do that because. we’re not fully engaged in the training that’s required by our various state agencies around the country.
And that’s and that’s something I hope listeners to our podcast are are going to try to correct and that you start a note taking system that’s going to be worthy of the of the fine industry that you’ve decided to become part of. So what is the system that you can use. So my first recommendation is if you have a system keep on with it. So I’m going to tell you what my system is and hopefully it helps those of you who don’t have a system that maybe this is something that can be useful for you. And I’ve tried to make it a little less taxing and people ask me sometimes do you do refer back to your notes and my answer is yes I actually do. You know it’s not regular but I sometimes I do writing and I’m like oh you know I need an idea for another article and I’ll refer back through my notes like oh that’s pretty interesting or if I’m writing a piece of publication for my state agency I work for and I’m like I will review by my notes and say Is there some I remember a guy talking about this and he had this particular tip. And I’m then able to present that material to a much wider audience in save not only animal suffering but improve control of that sort of thing. So there’s a lot of advantages in doing this. So how do I do it. Well first thing I do is I I’ve I’ve used in the past moleskine skin notebooks. And if you’re familiar with mole skin loser bound notebooks they’re black. They have a.
Rubber not a rubber band but they have a band that fits over them and they’re quite nice. The they can be ruled some of them are plain. Some of them are graft papered but they have sort of a hard bound covers sort of a stiff cardboard and they lay fairly flat. And there are about eight and a half there about eight and. eight inches tall five and a half inches wide. They’re kind of advice handy and they look great on the shelf right. And so I’ve used these in fact I think I’m on book number five right now in my with my notes and I’ve been doing this for years when I’ve gone to various trainings I take with my book along and just use it to take notes and so I’ve used that. Now I’m starting to move over toward the Tul system that’s T U L and there’s usually a long long.
Accent on the U. So it’s tool to you l system and you can go to edit your stationery stores and basically what it is it uses. rings. to hold the paper in your notebook. And this allows you to then move pages around within your notebook and I’m moving towards that because I want to be able to put all of my commencal the comments or rodent information together and my bird information together rather than.
Having to cross index across my books. But you know so that’s what I’ve had to do before. And so I’m starting to move towards the tul system now. So when you get your notebook can you don’t have to buy a mole skin you can certainly buy a three ring notebook or you know a spiral bound notebook or whatever it is if you want something ideally that can have a spine on it. so that you have an ability to put it on your shelf and know that those are your notes. So when you get your book the first your notebook the first thing you want to do is put your name and phone number and contact information so that people can. If you lose it people can get it back to you. Number two the next thing you want to do is leave the first few pages aside for your table of contents. This is going to allow you to review your notes quickly rather than flipping through every single page in your notebook. And so you basically each line. you put a number one two three four. You go to number all your lines because that’s good. Then associate it with a different page of your notebook. So once you have your table of contents divvied out. And so with my notebooks here with. with mole skin is the numbers go up to 0. Almost almost. What’s this one. about almost 240 pages almost 250 pages. And so I will number them and then use the first few pages of The Notebook as one table of contents. This way when I’m taking notes I can then go back to my table of contents and say OK on page one hundred and fifty four through one hundred and fifty six. I it’s birds.
Or pigeons or geese or whatever. So if you’re doing more insects it would be you know pharaoh ants sort of odorous house ants the bright you know whatever the case may be. in that way you can then look at your table of contents quickly and be able to.
Go immediately to that part without having to flip through the whole book. The next thing that you want to do is win you’re listening to someone speak. Each time you have a new speaker you will write down the title of the talk. at the top of the page. followed by the speaker’s name. Followed by the date that you heard the talk in the location where you heard the talk would be city and state. Now why is that. Because you never know. There may be a time when you’re writing an article on it maybe it’s a bit more academic article. that you were then able to say you know when I heard this at such and such a time and such and such a place and so you’re able to reference your source and that can be important.
Down the road what I tend to have a little bit more academic meaning it’s important to be able to verify where you heard something in terms of your training. It also is important to give credit to where you learned that from. There’s a lot of theft sometimes within wildlife control. I can’t speak so much to the pest control world where guys will treat. information as if they and they’ve discovered it themselves rather than acknowledging. the person that they learned it from. And you know and sometimes it’s in a sense you don’t have time to necessarily reference everyone that you forget but it’s sometimes even if it’s not yours to be able to say you know hey I learned this from such and such as OR I DIDN’T THIS IS MY INFORMATION. I’VE LEARNED THIS somewhere and so at least you’re not you know Grandizing yourself because there’s a lot of ego in this industry and I would suspect the same thing is true for the pest control industry. So let’s review again. You want to get a good note book. You want to put a table of contents in it. You want to be sure that you label each talk at the top of the page. Start. Start with a brand new page on new or the new speaker. get their name get the title of the talk and the location and date. And if you wanted to you could say how long was a talk. Typically things are going to be an hour.
And then basically That’s it. Keep. Take your notes you know learn how to take some notes get some of those points down make drawings on there. Write down facts that are good to be important for you. Think about what’s going to be important for you to train a new worker. Or maybe there’s an idea an identification that’s going to be critical to you. Maybe there’s a formulation or a technique for spraying pesticide or setting a trap or taking bait or whatever the case may be. What you’ll find is over time you’re going to have these series of notebooks that if you really want to take it up a notch you’re going to then go to the table of contents you going to label your notebooks on the spine like what I do as I say wildlife damage book number three wildlife damage book number four. These are how I label my my notebooks. because then I I will have a topic in one book that will talk about pigeons. Let’s say it’s Volume 4 page 158 and then I may have another topic on pigeons and book number three. Page one or one. And so I will. Sometimes I’ll go through the effort of cross referencing. those two articles so that if I’m ever needed to do some research on Pigeon control if I go to vote if I go to Book 3 the table of contents will also tell me to look at Book 4. because there’s another article over there obviously that takes it takes up more work and a lot of people going can do that.
But again it depends on. What kind of a what kind of professional do you want to be and the fact is a lot of. anecdotal information. is not good to be found on Google. There’s a lot of tips that someone will tell you when they’re talking to you but it’s nowhere to be found on google it won’t be found in a publication it won’t be found that a journal article. You’re not going to find it. So if you’re not writing it down.
You’re not going to have it. The other advantage of your notebook is that if you have that current that that person who’s spoke and you get their contact information now you can then maybe call that person or write them an e mail and try to follow up and say Hey I heard you speak. on this subject. You know I was in Orlando or I was in Missoula or whatever the case would be and I heard you talk at this time. Appreciate it. I had a follow up question about I have something to follow and I could be very gratifying for a speaker to say yeah you know someone actually remembered me talking. having spoken a lot. I can tell you that part of part of what we’re doing isn’t always for the money. Sometimes it’s simply for the ego and yeah it’s the reality of it. They wouldn’t like getting strokes to think someone telling us that we made their day and we helped move them forward help them make more money helped save them money. Whatever the case may be that’s gratifying if we do educators thrive off of seeing other people succeed. And so that’s how that’s what motivates us. So I hope that when you’re that you will adopt to this notebook. perspective and you will this tool that you can use that will improve your learning. and will be a resource that you will value.
As you continue to grow with your career.
My name is Stephven Vantassel with wildlife control consultant giving you the wildlife talk here on pesky podcast. Back to you Frank.