UK expert offers masterclass in speed writing

National 1 minute, 51 seconds


SPEED writing, a “simple” form of shorthand, can increase the number of handwritten words per minute by around 50 per cent, according to a secretarial and administration expert.

Margaret Liddell, who is in the Sultanate to deliver a short course on speed writing, told The Brunei Times yesterday that secretaries, personal assistants and journalists all stand to gain from learning the skill, which strategically removes letters from a word, boosting a normal writing speed of 40 words per minute to approximately 60 to 70 words per minute.

“Speed writing is essentially getting rid of the unnecessary letters in a word, bringing it down to the bare bones, allowing you to write more words every minute,” said Liddell during her presentation at the Fourth Annual Executive Secretaries and Administrative Professionals Conference at The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday.

“The word behaviour for example, can be narrowed down to bhvr, dropping the character count from nine to four. A proper shorthand system, which is more advanced than speed writing, can narrow down words to one or two characters,” she added.

Speed writing takes six to eight hours on average to learn, while a proper shorthand system, such as Teeline or Pitman, takes at least a hundred hours.

“With shorthand, words per minute can easily reach 100, but since the learning curve is much longer, speedwriting is a very cost-effective option,” said Lidell.

Secretaries, personal assistants and administrative staff can use speed writing to take minutes in a meeting, phone messages or orders swiftly and accurately.

Journalists can also learn the skill for interviews, as a reliable back up to voice recordings, or in situations where recording is forbidden.

“Under certain circumstances in the UK (United Kingdom), journalists are not allowed to voice record, for example at the court of law or a tribunal. In a circumstance where a battery runs flat, or for any other technical issue, you can also revert back to your handwritten skills,” she said.

“In the UK, journalists who work for any national newspaper need to write at a 100-word per minute (speed), meaning they have to be well-versed in shorthand.”

Lidell will conduct a special speed writing workshop today as a more detailed follow up to her presentation yesterday.

The Brunei Times