Ten benefits of learning shorthand

Shorthand has many benefits, including better chance of getting a good job

Shorthand has many benefits, including better chance of getting a good job

Many people dismiss shorthand as being a relic of the past. ‘You don’t need to waste time and money learning shorthand,’ they say. ‘We have Dictaphones now.’

Well, we also have recording apps on smartphones so we don’t need Dictaphones, that’s for sure. But as Salesforce avers in their article about the fourth revolution, it isn’t pragmatic or plausible to live without smartphones.

But we do need shorthand. Why? For journalists and reporters it is 100% essential. And it also has many, many benefits for people who have no intentions of working in the media.

Students, secretaries, lawyers, doctors and other professionals can all benefit from learning how to write in shorthand. Many even invent their own crude system. So whether it is Teeline, Pitman or Gregg, there are many pros to learning shorthand. Here are ten great reasons.

  • Writing in shorthand is quicker than longhand. Anything that saves time, money and energy is always a bonus. You will become more efficient in taking notes at meetings, lectures and interviews.
  • Using shorthand is the only way to write down quotes in court. Use a Dicaphone and you risk a serious telling off from the Magistrate or Judge. Or at worse, going to prison, as using any kind of recording device is breaking the contempt of court law.
  • Shorthand is the only system that can accurately record speech without the use of any electronic recording devices. Think about that for a second. Without computers, shorthand is the only way in the world to write down exactly what somebody is saying without asking them to slow down.
  • People who can write in shorthand have improved job prospects. Put shorthand on your CV or resume as an added skill and many potential employers will look favorably on it. For newspapers it is essential and many managing editors will not hire a candidate who cannot write in shorthand.
  • International students from India already have excellent English skills so writing in shorthand is ideal for them as it will take their writing and speaking to another level, way beyond English native speakers. India is a competitive jobs market, too, and extra skills like shorthand will improve prospects. 
  • Shorthand will never run out of battery like a Dictaphone or iPhone. As we mentioned above, shorthand is the only way to write down speech. Pity the poor reporter who misses the quotes from an impromptu press conference because his iPhone battery had died, or it suddenly stopped working.
  • Employees with shorthand are chosen for assignments ahead of those that don’t. That’s right, when the news editor is looking for someone to head out to court or do a great interview, those who can write in shorthand will be chosen first, while the others will be left in the office re-writing wire copy.
  • Shorthand secret notes cannot be read by other people! If you make personal notes at home in a diary, or you’re in class and don’t want another person seeing what you are doing, write in shorthand! Nobody will ever know what it says.
  • In journalism interviewees will not be able to see what’s being written about them. When you’re standing next to somebody in the street making notes about what they’re saying, they love to gawp at the notepad. Shorthand allows you to highlight key quotes, without them looking at it and thinking twice before saying ‘no, don’t put that I said that… actually I don’t want my name in the paper.’
  • Learning shorthand stimulates new parts of the brain, improves dexterity in the hands and fingers, boosts concentrations, improves listening and language skills and makes handwriting a lot more neater. These benefits are immeasurable!
  • Lastly, writing in shorthand is a great conversation starter. People see shorthand notes and ask ‘wow, what is that?’… or ‘What language is that?’. Older people often recognise shorthand and talk about how they used to learn it in the past. It’s a great conversation starter and impresses a lot of people.


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