guidelinesThe first step to noting is to know why it is important. The second step is to identify the type of noting that you need to do for a particular case.

Once you’ve crossed these two steps, it’s time to actually write the note. How do you know what to focus on?

Here are some things that you need to keep in mind while writing the note and before finally putting it up.

Language Guidelines

Every type of writing has a style, tone, and some restrictions. Most of these elements focus on language. The language guidelines for notings are basic and relatively, easy to understand and implement. Consider.

Be Concise

conciseEvery noting is not the same. The importance of a noting is defined by the importance of the issue it is dealing with. Concise means that the length of the noting should reflect the importance of the issue being dealt with.

You should avoid unnecessarily lengthy notes as they take the attention away from more important matters. One simple way of shortening your note is to avoid repetition and only include relevant facts in the note.

If you’re not sure about the length of the note you should be writing, check out this section.

Be Clear

You know that the most important function of the note is to aid in the decision making process by the competent authority. So, your language should be such that everybody can easily understand it.

There’s just no point using words that are ambiguous or make your reader go looking for a dictionary. Another thing to remember is that short sentences are easy to grasp. With short sentences, the reader doesn’t lose his chain of thought in-between sentences and paragraphs.

Be Polite

polite-50Working in a government institution, you have a responsibility to uphold the prestige and honour attached to the services. This means being polite and civil with your language at all times.

You should always be courteous and show proper regard to those who are senior to you, even in your notings.Strong language should be avoided. Sometimes, it can be incredibly subtle.

For example, one of the first things new recruits are taught is that you should not be using “should” in your noting. It’s a strong word, something moderate like “may” is more suited.

Content Guidelines

The purpose of a noting is to convey all the aspects of a case to anyone who’s reading it. Not only that, the noting is also required to exhibit elaborate analytical assessments of the officer to his associates and seniors.

For a noting to achieve these objectives, attention needs to be paid to its content. The following are a few content based guidelines designed to help you do this.

Complete and Correct

The content of your noting needs to be complete and in-depth. It would be difficult to understand a case if the noting doesn’t cover all the facts of the case. The same is true if you don’t provide an analysis of the case from all angles.

These oversights in notings can, in turn, hamper the decision making process. Along with this, you should ensure that all facts, figures, or rules used to analyse the case are correct. Furthermore, be sure to place them in the file.

Paraphrasing and Simplifying

You should avoid literal reproduction at all costs. This applies to PUCs, orders, instructions, and rules as well as policies. If there are certain facts about the case that are previously mentioned on the file, you should refrain from reproducing them.

Repetition and especially literal repetition makes the notings lengthy and the files bulky. If you have to draw attention to anything, simply place it on the file and refer to it in your noting.

Parts of previous notings on the issue, orders, and instructions can be referred to in this manner. Relevant extracts of the rules that you want to cite in your noting can be placed on the file and then referred to.

Politeness and Consideration

Suppose a file comes to you and you have to respond to a noting done by some other official. What will you do if you spot some inconsistencies in the file? Do you show your frustration in your notings? You don’t.

The official guidelines say that, no matter what, you must maintain civility and politeness in your noting. Even if there are faults or things are missing you must state it in a polite and gentle manner so as to not sound harsh.

Formatting Guidelines

You don’t write an official letter in the form of a hastily scribbled note on a scrap of paper containing food marks. Similarly, you don’t write an official letter to your best friend.

In simple words, every type of writing has a format associated with it. The same is true for government notings as well. Here are some formatting based guidelines.

Margins Considerations

You should always leave a margin of at least one inch on the top, bottom, left, and right side of the noting sheet. This is done to preserve the contents of the page in case of wear and tear as the file ages.

You should also be careful to record note on both sides of the noting sheet to ensure judicious use of paper.

Paragraph Considerations

marginWhen you’re actually writing the noting, you should make sure that you break it into paragraphs. It’s easier to read a page with white spaces than a big block of intimidating text.

However, this doesn’t you should break paragraphs left, right, and centre.Instead, you must logically break the paragraphs. You should also try to provide subheadings.

Giving titles to paragraphs ensures better understanding of the issue. Additionally, number the paragraphs in your noting so that it is easy for somebody to refer to them in future notings, if required.

Ink Considerations

These days, notes are often typed and printed. Still, there may come a time when writing by hand will be required. In such case, you must remember that you can’t use just any colour ink to write on a noting sheet. There are some conventions to follow:

  • Blue ink can be used by any categories of officials
  • Black or green ink is only used by an officer of Joint Secretary level
  • Red ink is used by the Defence Secretary and the Chiefs of the Services

Miscellaneous Considerations

You should always do noting on note sheets. These are different from the normal A4 size sheets used for all other purposes. The finalised noting should be placed on the noting side, which is the left side of the file. The noted sheet should be properly punched, tagged, and flagged.

All the noting sheets should also be serially numbered. If there isn’t enough space at the bottom of your note for senior officials to write their notes on, in a polite gesture you should attach a blank noting sheet (courtesy sheet) at the end.