In the world of pocket-sized digital recorders and ubiquitous laptops, people think it’s odd when I say I wish I knew shorthand.
First of all, it looks cool as hell.
More important: sometimes, it’s not practical to whip out a laptop during meetings and start typing. (I can’t touch-type, either–another regret.) In my job, I frequently interview people, report on events, and find myself in situations where I’m going to have to reproduce what was said close to verbatim. Almost ALWAYS without the benefit of digital recording and playback. While I’ve trained myself to take good notes quickly, I’d like to take better notes faster. Ongoing, slowly worsening hand pain doesn’t do me any favors here.
Shorthand seems like the obvious solution. Though few people still use it, those that do find it highly practical. This website offers a fantastic overview of the differences in the various forms of Gregg shorthand. I’ve skimmed information on the other forms of shorthand still in current use (Pittman, Teeline) and decided the Gregg system seems to make the most sense to me. At first, I’ll probably wind up with a hybrid system, injecting some short forms into my regular note-taking system and using more and more shorthand over time.
Right now I’m exploring. I’ve ordered a lovely old book and started identifying frequently used words I want to begin noting with brief forms. Once my book arrives and I’ve had a month or two of practice, I’ll see if it makes a difference. Stay tuned.