So tomorrow is Desert Code Camp 2012, and with it comes my first public appearance as a speaker. I’ll be doing a track on “WordPress Plugin Bootcamp” where I talk about the conventions and steps it takes to build your own plugin for WordPress. While I’m a presenter for 1 session, I’ll be busy during every other time slot as an attendee. With that, comes notes and ideas. One thing I’ve found though is that the laptop, considered the note taking wonder of the world, hinders the amount of information I can absorb and digest.

I think attendees should drop the laptop/netbook/iPad/tablet and switch it out for…good ole’ pen and paper. If you are thinking it’s because I’m a presenter and I don’t want you playing Farmville while I’m trying to drop knowledge on you, you’d be wrong. Pen and Paper notes have 3 distinct advantages over note taking on your little internet box.

You aren’t distracted.

There are no notifications in your little notebook. No Emails, no IMs, no flashing little icons. Just you, your pen, your paper, and the presenter. This allows you to focus on them instead of the distraction in front of you.

You can draw.

And I don’t mean stick figures…unless the presenter has a diagram of stick figures. Then it’s ok. With pen and paper you are able to freely diagram anything in the slides. You can link items together with arrows. The list goes on. The basics are you can freely and openly make marks.

You can make eye contact.

Ok, this one is more about the presenter…but in a way that will affect you. When presenting, it’s easier to get a gauge of your audience and if they are keeping up when you can see their eyes. If they are busy staring at their screens, it’s difficult to see if they are right with you, or if they glossed over 5 slides ago and are giving up to play hearts. A good presentation is a 2 way street and non-verbal communication can make it better.

So I urge you, if you are attending a conference and feel the urge to take notes, bust out that pen and paper and see if it helps you have a more immersible experience.

If you want to see my slides from the presentation you can view them here.

Posted by Chris Klosowski

Chris Klosowski is the Director of Technology at Sandhills Development, LLC, creators of fine WordPress plugins, and ecommerce solutions.


  1. Ok, so a few more things if you ARE going to use your laptop/iPad/netbook to take notes..
    A) Turn your freeking sound off!
    B) Browsing Fox News, CNN, and The Dredge Report during then presentation means you attended the wrong session.
    C) Turn the typing noise off on your iPad

    All things that were done while I was attending my first session by the people around me.


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