July 16, 2009


Yesterday I overheard one of our court reporting instructors from Tri-Community tell a student that the reason she wasn't progressing as quickly with her speed is because she was thinking too much. The instructor told my fellow future-CSR-holder that intelligent people tend to over-think and over-analyze things, which is fine... but NOT when it comes to court reporting. In court reporting, you MUST clear your mind, so you can focus all your attention on making sure you hear everything, write it all verbatim on your steno machine, and do this nearly perfectly ALL THE TIME! Therefore, you CANNOT be thinking any such thoughts like...
  • what happened earlier in your day.
  • what you're going to do later in the day.
  • what that unknown word that the expert witness just spouted means.
  • why that attorney is being so cocky.
  • and on and on and on...
I remember a scene in the movie "The Last Samurai" where Tom Cruise's character, Nathan Algren, is learning how to sword fight the Samurai way. He keeps getting whooped over and over again! Finally, one of his Japanese instructors tells Algren that he has to have "no mind." Cruise's character had too much going on in his head! And it's the same with court reporting. We need to literally "check out" or "zone off" in order to fight the daily fight of writing nearly perfectly each and every time! Our job requires our full concentration -- 100%! What I do to help me focus is I stare at an inanimate object somewhere right in front of me. Therefore, I usually stare at a small part on the back of a chair. Other students like to look at the speakers. Still other students like to look at all sorts of things going on around them; they'll literally move their head every which way because that just works for them. However you concentrate, just make sure you do... and have "NO MIND" when you're listening intently to the speakers. Because we're the GUARDIANS OF THE RECORD, so we MUST do our utmost best to get every word down verbatim. And to do that, we must have the discipline of a Samurai warrior. Yeah, it's intense all right! But isn't that same challenge one of the great reasons why we love stenography? ;)

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