How about a pen that records, too?

I started using the LiveScribe Echo pen a couple of months ago. It can search my handwritten notes and play back audio from the time the notes were taken.

That means that if you’re in a meeting or conference, all you have to write down are some important keywords. Then you can go back later and tap the pen on your notes in any area and the speaker inside the pen will start playing back the recorded part of the presentation. The pen is just as effective if you’re meeting with one another or a small group of people. I found that the microphone is very sensitive.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I never use the pen unless I first get permission from everyone in the group. It is up to you to make your own choices, and I just want everyone whose voice is being recorded to be aware that what they say will be in my notes. Not only what they say but also how they say it.

For example, I recently heard a wonderful presentation during which Patrick Lencioni spoke about some very important business ideas. I had my LiveScribe pen with me and was very tempted to use it. However, since I didn’t get to ask Patrick ahead of time if it was okay to record his presentation, I left the pen in my attaché case.

Another benefit of the pen is that when you connect it to your computer’s USB port you can upload all of the audio and even the handwritten notes into your computer. Not only can you share this information with your colleagues but you can even post it out on the Internet if you choose to. Another feature of having your notes and your computer is that you can use the search command. My print handwriting is not very good. My cursive writing is even worse. Even still, LiveScribe desktop is able to recognize many of my words when I search for them.

The pen does require special paper, but it is easy to print out my own and I’ve purchased notebooks that already have the special paper in them.

I’m not sure if a tool like this would benefit you. The investment is rather small if you want to give it a try. And no, LiveScribe is not paying me anything for recommending this tool. I just want you to be as productive as you want to be.

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