Stenography / ShorthandEdit
Stenography (shorthand) is a method where note-taking and writing is rapidly sped up. This is due to the usage abbreviations/symbols for letters, words, or whole phrases. Several stenography systems exist. Learning one is a serious effort, but which can rapidly pay off if one has to take notes often. Stenography was, for example, for a long time, part of secretary and reporter training.
In some situations it is practical to record a presentations, instead of manually taking notes. Recording can either be done on audio/video, or audio only. In any case, permission to record a subject should be obtained first.
A video camera would be the tool of choice for a/v recording. Usage of a tripod is highly recommended.
Light tape recorders and dictaphones were the classic recording devices for personal audio recordings. This has changed with the ubiquitous availiability of MP3 devices, many of which are able to record audio, too. Hard-disk based MP3 players/recorders are particularly convenient, due to the almost unlimited storage capabilities. Many cellphones now offer this capability.
A good microphone is essential for a good recording. Build-in microphones in consumer-grade devices are often not sufficient. Batteries, or in general the power supply, should be secured during recording.