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.
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.
So where would you use this skill in the electronic 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.
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.
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.