"I'm a writer who seems to have plateaued in note taking and want to become quicker without losing accuracy," emails Ben Lando, a freelance writer from Kalamazoo, Mich.
"Is there a shorthand style in general," he asks. "And, maybe, a book particularly you could recommend to learn better and even a new style of note taking?"
"Ben," I wrote back, "I'm not an expert on note-taking. my skills are pretty poor which is why I've relied on a tape recorder. I'd check with your local community college or business school. There are books available on the subject too; just ask at your local bookstore. here are various speed writing books and courses.
"One option and one I used the other day when I didn't want to use a tape recorder was to stop people when I didn't get a complete quote and ask them to repeat it.
"The problem ,of course, is when stats or numbers start flying or the subject matter is befuddling. In that case, you might want to come prepared with specific questions and get them out of the way first, then start the conversation and stop folks when they start talking too fast or are incomprehensible.
"One of the smartest things that Tom French of the St. Pete Times did was take shorthand in high school. He doesn't need a tape recorder.
"Bottom line, I think, is that if you do want to learn some kind of shorthand, there will be a sharp and time-consuming learning curve."
Ben and myself would be glad to hear other opinions.