August 6, 2011


I just got an email from a CR instructor regarding my last blog post -- "Accomplish List: My Steno Briefs." This CR instructor does agree that a CR student at 140 WPM has the ability to reach 225 WPM.

However, he differs with me regarding steno briefs.  He does not believe incorporating thousands and thousands of briefs as a CR student helps one progress.  Rather, he believes doing so hurts CR students.  He brought to my attention what most people forget about the speed champ, Mark Kislingbury -- he's a REMARKABLE person who (most likely) has a photographic memory.  If anyone is a "natural" at court reporting, then Mr. K is FOR SURE!  (Click HERE to read why Mark K. believes in "writing short" -- meaning, incorporating as many briefs as possible.)

The CR instructor said that he has seen numerous CR students get stuck in speeds because they try to memorize all these brief forms.  I really appreciate this CR instructor's time and effort to reach out to me (and subsequently you too!) with his warnings about steno briefs.  However, the briefs that I'm incorporating in my list are mostly ones that I already know of, but I want to know them "in an instant" when I'm writing at those high speeds.  Also, I have steno going through my brain at all hours of the day.  I'm CONSTANTLY in my own steno world recalling to memory a brief here and there (so much so that I sometimes talk "steno" to my husband!).  Most of my briefs don't come from "nowhere."  They are usually "families" of each other.  For example:

green light - GR-LT
red light - R-LT
stop light - ST-LT
traffic light - TR-LT
yellow light - Y-LT


bank account - B-KT
checking account - KH-KT
savings account - S-KT

These "family briefs" are so much easier to remember since they have the same right hand coordination.  You only need to change your left hand to make out the word you hear, and it's natural to think of "B" for bank, "KH" for checking, and "S" for savings.

However, if the brief does NOT come naturally to my fingers and/or my mind, then I WILL drop that brief and just "write it out."  No biggie. :) With that said, I still DO want to incorporate AS MANY BRIEFS AS POSSIBLE, so that I can have as much speed advantage as possible.

I guess there's a delicate balance regarding briefs.  To brief, or not to brief -- that is THE question for us in the CR world!  And you know who can answer that?!?!  ONLY YOU!!!  If it comes naturally to YOU, then DO it!  If not, drop the brief and move on... and learn other briefs (at least that's what I'll be doing!).

Again, THANK YOU to this CR instructor who cared enough to email me!  Much appreciated, sir! :)


Anonymous said...

Dear Steno Nerd, I'm going to have to agree with this guy. I am in reporting school, having learned to write steno 25 years ago. I'm not the average student, as I'm probably a lot older than most, so it's true that things don't come to my mind as quickly as I'd like them to. However, I've also been a scopist for all the years in between, having worked for dozens of reporters. I will say that: Number one, Mark K. is an exceptionally gifted writer, of what I know of him, and his memory is probably photographic. Second, of all the reporters I've worked for, the ones that consistently turn over the best work for me to edit (scope) are the ones that write things out. I will be listening to the audio and say to myself, "There's no way he/she got that. It was too fast. He/she must have corrected it before sending it to me." But no, I look at the notes and every stroke is there. Third, and lastly, I can see with my reporters who (try) to brief constantly where exactly in their notes they are struggling to remember a brief/phrase...they lose it for a word or two, sometimes more, and very often for the brief they're struggling to remember, the stroke is off. From my own experience, briefs/phrases are best only if they make sense to you. There are so many that make no sense and have to be memorized relative to nothing. That is what hangs us up and slows us down.

Steno Nerd (AKA Christine) said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it!

I hear you on briefs/phrases potentially slowing us down. But my goal is to ONLY learn briefs/phrases that come NATURALLY to me. If I don't get it down right away, I will toss it and move onto other briefs. I still want to learn as many briefs as possible, but, again, only the briefs/phrases that come NATURALLY to me... so I'm not pulling them out of thin air. The briefs/phrases I learn make logical sense to me.

I can see how a scopist would prefer to work with a court reporter who writes out everything verbatim -- the transcript would be easier to read, of course. However, we who use briefs/phrases also include these in our dictionary, and I, for example, include even the mis-strokes in my dictionary to make it as real-time ready as possible... and therefore, scopist-friendly too. Hope I'm making sense. :)

Thanks again for your comment... and bravo for being in the CR industry for 25+ years!

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