Shorthand is a bit like riding a bike. You will remember it for a long time if you have learned it well and used it regularly for many years.
I’ve met plenty of people over 60 years old who learned shorthand at school and can still remember what it looks like, how to read it and how to write a few basic words!
However, the writing will be slow and a little bit wobbly! Take a look at this set of notes I did yesterday while taking down quotes over the phone…
My shorthand notes after not using Teeline for a number of years
These were my shorthand notes after not using Teeline regularly for about four years. Sure, I’ve used Teeline occasionally for some phone interviews.
But not every day like a reporter would.
The truth is that my Teeline has been slowly getting worse ever since I passed the 100 words a minute NCTJ exam.
Why? Because when you’re studying shorthand it involves practicing every day. What’s more, there is a teach there to make sure that every outline and word is perfectly correct.
The moment I stepped out of the classroom and into the real word, my Teeline got worse. I picked up bad habits straight away, took shortcuts and the notes became really messy!
Or sometimes I would simply balance a phone against my ear and shoulder while typing people’s quotes straight into a story. This saves time but you have to be a fast typer!
Thankfully, over the years I’ve always remembered Teeline shorthand and can still write it fairly well today. But not brilliantly. It would probably take about a month of practice to get back to 100 words a minute and rally accurate writing.
Plus, I’ve forgotten a few of the more complicated outlines.
If you’re in a similar position and would like to take a quick refresher course, I recommend some of the shorthand books available online.
These are a great way to remind yourself of the shorthand basics and pick up the writing skill again.