On page 299 of Kennedy & Nixon, Chris Matthews talks about a way that President Richard Nixon tried to record discussions before he resorted to the taping system:
“Nixon had first tried other record-keeping techniques. At one point he had a staffer sit in the room and act as a ‘fly on the wall’…He rejected [this method.] ‘Nixon didn’t like someone sitting in, especially if they were taking notes, because that always bothers people because, you know, they keep looking over at the guy taking notes.'”
I’m assuming that Matthews is quoting H.R. Haldeman, since Matthews quotes Haldeman in the preceding paragraph.
I am an avid note-taker. That is how I learn and absorb information. Plus, it allows me to preserve information for future use. But note-taking can make some people nervous. I wrote about this on another blog, under a post that someone wrote about note-taking, and the author of that blog responded that she’d think people would be flattered that someone was taking notes on what they were saying! I’d be flattered, too. I wouldn’t mind if I were meeting with someone, and that person took notes on what I was saying. But I can understand why some may be leery of note-takers at meetings in which sensitive issues are being discussed. “What did you write down that I said? Do I have to be careful about what I say around you?” Some have asked me these questions, or at least questions like them.