Re: Technical Writers Using Shorthand or Speedwriting

Subject: Re: Technical Writers Using Shorthand or Speedwriting
From: "Nancy Osterhout" <bluetwilight -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 06:55:42 -0800

Paula wanted to know whether anyone used shorthand when
taking notes with SME's, and where to learn it.

Yes, Paula. Sometimes I use the Gregg shorthand that I
used when I was a secretary. I first learned it in high
school so that I could read my mother's "lists to Santa" for
each of us kids on the door of the fridge. Then I had to
take a two semesters of it in junior college (even though I
was already taking it at 85 wpm) when I got my A.A. in
Secretarial Science in the mid-70's.

And, yes. Sometimes I get funny looks from anyone noticing
that I'm using it. I was a little embarrassed the first
time I used it while taking my own notes during a meeting
with engineers, but the world didn't end. I don't know if
that is not good for my "professional reputation" or what,
but it doesn't matter. I get the info I need and the SME
doesn't have to slow down. And it doesn't require
batteries. Sometimes an SME will comment incredulously:
"What's that!? Shorthand? I didn't know anybody ever used
that any more!" But that amazed smile on their face is

You mention that you "tried your hand at it" many years ago,
so you may be able to relate when I say that the trick with
shorthand is transcribing it before you forget what was
said. And like any skill (like typing), it takes practice.

Perhaps your local Heald College or other private college
that teaches administrative assistants may have a class, or
know of one. You might check out your local library, or
used book store as well, for books that show the letters and
brief forms.

Please let us know (or reply to me off-line) how it goes.


p.s. I'm sure that my Mom in Heaven is smiling when she
sees me write my own "list to Santa" on the fridge door for
what I'll be getting for my husband. :)

Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the
waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.
~~ H.W. Longfellow


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