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Shorthand: Career boost or bust?

Shorthand has been part of the PA role for decades and with the development of the digital world, many may think this is a skill no longer needed.

Origins of Shorthand

But it is still going strong! The original Pitman New Era shorthand system (which is the one I learnt) is complicated and has a lot of theory to learn – but you can gain the highest speeds using this system. In the 1960s Teeline Shorthand was created and this system is much quicker to learn and easier to understand and you can still achieve high speed – suitable for most business needs which is why we have been teaching this system for over 25 years.

Still useful?

So where would you use this skill in the digital office of today?

Many PAs find it useful for telephone messages – taking down instructions, information etc they are being told from the caller. You would also find using shorthand useful when your manager is giving you instructions in the office – helping you to remember all the key points.

Easy peasy

The main reason PAs, Administrators and Secretaries use their shorthand is for business meetings as this is still the easiest way to record what is being said and what decisions are made. You do not need to take down every word said in the meeting – the minutes would be very long winded in that case – but just the key points made by those attending and what conclusions are made on different Agenda items and who needs to action what.

Cherry on the cake

Having shorthand as an additional skill to offer a new employer could make a difference in the final choice, when applying for a job. Shorthand is the “cherry on the cake” type skill and would help you to stand out from the crowd as well as help you in your role.

So worth thinking about studying shorthand and starting to use it in your job within 2-3 weeks of starting your course so it becomes part of your everyday life.

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10 Responses

  1. I find that taking shorthand in meetings allows you to collect a lot more detailed information than if you were writing in longhand, as you can write more down in a short amount of time. I also found the Teeline shorthand quite quick and memorable to learn.

  2. I find shorthand very useful in meetings, as you can provide a lot more detail, as you can take down more information in a much shorter time. I found Teeline shorthand easy to learn and remember.

  3. I learned shorthand whilst at school – far too many years ago to admit. I still use it to this day.
    Not many of my colleagues do shorthand, but most wish they could.
    I find it not only useful in taking more detailed minutes, but also when taking information during a phone conversation.

  4. I’ve been debating whether to do the Shorthand course, this blog has helped to confirm Shorthand is an important aspect which PA’s can use on a regular basis. I’m looking forward to learning it. Thank you for the blog Penny.

  5. Very interesting article! My grandmother used to work as a secretary back in the 1960s and she used shorthand all the time. I was fascinated looking at her notepads! She taught me a bit when I started going to school, but so many years later, I have forgotten most of it. I look forward to starting the shorthand module! It is such a useful skill in the workplace, not only for PAs, but for any job that requires quick note-taking.

  6. Interesting to read that shorthand has stood the test of time despite modern technology. I was initially unsure whether to do this course but your blog has made me realise that it is still a valuable skill and well worth studying. Thank you!

  7. I look forward to doing the Teeline shorthand course in order to add something else to my skill set.

  8. When I signed up for my Medical Secretary Course I was a bit apprehensive about signing up for shorthand as well. Despite having worked in a legal setting for over 15 years I have never been tasked with taking ‘shorthand’ notes at any of the meetings that I have attended. But figured it wouldn’t hurt to learn something new and to broaden my skill set.

    I am pleased with my decision to take the Teeline course because as you have mentioned in your blog above `Shorthand is the “cherry on the cake” type skill’

    Super excited about learning this skill. Wish me luck!

  9. I wasn’t sure whether to take this part of the course or not. In the end I chose not to. After reading this, I will definitely be looking at taking this course after the one that I am on and using it with all the skills that I am currently learning.

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