I like doodling bullet journal style banners during speaker presentations at events and conferences. Thankfully, most contemporary speakers understand that doodling listeners are actually listening-listeners, not just daydreamers.
I find a lot of freedom to doodle at psychology-related classes and conferences. Speakers who know the brain and understand how people learn seem to be more open to having doodler in their midst.
People listen in different ways, and often people who are doing something while listening may actually be listening more attentively and may recall more information. Drawing, hand lettering, and doodling also provides a bit of an outlet for when the material is emotionally evocative, and eye contact with a speaker might be difficult.
Right click the image below to print this bullet journal banners doodle cheat sheet or save to your harddrive.
I have a specific look that I like for my notes, so I tend not to excessively doodle bullet journal banners and other doodles on my pages of notes even when I’m not taking notes on what is being spoken.
Sometimes in class, I will go for 5, 10, or even 15 minutes without taking any notes, sometimes I actually find it more helpful to my listening and learning in that time if I’m doodling on a separate page where I don’t have to worry about “producing” a page of notes for the class. This ranges from practicing doodles (right now, drawing antlers and laurels), lettering the header for my next class, or occasionally making a playful but kind doodle of the speaker.
While I was doodling these banners this weekend at the conference, I was listening to the speaker and letting this familiar information filter and letting my mind wander playfully with it a bit. In particular, there is a specific spreadsheet of data that is frequently presented in my school’s counseling courses that is unique to one of my professors. I’ve always struggled with the fact that it is presented so linearly.
As I was listening to it presented this time I decided to let my mind wander around this spreadsheet and imagine a different visual set-up or movement of the information between cells of the spreadsheet. While I was doodling these banners and letting my mind wander, I finally found the pattern of movement in this spreadsheet that I had been sensing but not able to visualize or articulate when I was taking linear notes! With my notebook in hand, I was able to quickly flip back to my page of conference notes and sketch out this mental picture of the pattern of movement that was hidden in the spreadsheet columns and rows.
Adding Visual Interest with Banners
Bullet journal banners are a great way to add visual interest to journal pages and even to class notes. I love adding simple hand-drawn banners and laurels to my notes taken in class. It’s amazing how just neat penmanship with a little bit of extra style added through simple doodles and hand lettered fonts that anyone can draw – like hand-drawn banners and laurels, turn an ordinary page into something head-turning and extraordinary. It wasn’t long after beginning to add hand-drawn laurels and little flag-looking banners to my graduate school class notes that my peers began asking to buy copies of my notes! They loved the neatness of my penmanship and how the hand-drawn banners helped highlight important information on the page. Generally, I refused to sell my class notes (it just didn’t seem right to me) but I taught many of my classmates how to create their own hand-drawn banners and bullet journal flags for their own notebooks and journals.