We are often asked this question by delegates who feel a need to further their studies and learn this skill.
Our recommendation? To learn Pitman’s shorthand in today’s day and age is a waste of your time and money. It is also a limiting career move. Do you need shorthand to take competent minutes of a meeting? No, most definitely not. So on what basis do we make this recommendation?
Shorthand – a dying skill.
Firstly to learn shorthand will take you approximately six months. Shorthand is similar to learning a different language. While we do not dispute the value of this skill, the hard reality is in today’s business world, we do not have time to develop this skill, and unless you use it every day, you are going to forget it. I cannot tell you how many people I have encountered who have studied shorthand for a full year and now can only recall a few shortcuts.
Very few executive minute takers use shorthand in their minute taking function. With use of today’s latest technology combined with techniques such as speedwriting (which we will discuss how to teach yourself in our next blog article), it is entirely possible to take accurate minutes of meetings without using shorthand. We do agree that it is unfortunate that this skill is a dying art form, but we also feel it is career limiting to spend so long studying a skill that is strictly used for minute taking.
Change is inevitable. Transcription software technology will eventually completely replace the need for a minute taker to attend meetings. Will technology make the requirement for a transcriber redundant? Yes, we expect so and therefore there really is no point in studying shorthand. Will technology replace the minute taker’s role completely? No, we doubt it, as minute taking is still a high level skill that involves critically sifting facts from trivial, opinionated or irrelevant information. So even with a fully transcribed version of a formal meeting, this material still needs to be converted into the correct format.
Shorthand, as useful as it may be, is sadly rapidly becoming a redundant skill. We recommend that you rather focus on a quality recording device such as a smart pen and focus on developing your speed writing.
For quality accredited minute taking training on all types of minutes contact us at The Minute Taker’s Clinic for more information.