Write More in Less Time: The Benefits of Speedwriting

April 10, 2023


An administrative or executive assistant practicing their speedwriting skills in a close up of their hand and pen.
Perfect your note-taking method.

If you are an administrative professional, you know that having tips and tricks for speedwriting is extremely beneficial to your career. Admins are always taking notes. Whether in a fast-paced office meeting, jotting down voicemails, or taking directives from an executive – speedwriting often comes in handy. It’s also a useful tool when keyboard typing. 

Here at ASAP, we have some helpful tips for improving your speedwriting skills. Practicing your speedwriting abilities will help you maximize your time, improve your focus, elevate your communication skills, and reduce stress during fast-paced interactions. 

How to Speedwrite: Speedwriting 101

Speedwriting can come in many forms, and perfecting a speedwriting method often takes practice and some trial and error. Generally speaking, speedwriting is noting all of the information in a meeting, conversation, presentation, or seminar. You do so while writing only a fraction of what was said in spoken word. 

Additionally, speedwriting on the keyboard can be achieved by implementing various programs and software. This will help to eliminate errors and increase your words per minute. 

Becoming an Expert Speedwriter

If you want to improve your writing speed on pen and paper, here are some helpful hacks for you to practice. Implement the tips that work best for you, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert speedwriter in no time.

Perfect Your Note-Taking Method

There are a variety of ways to take notes, and each method works differently for different people. Some prefer to do a “column” method. Mark one column as general information, and mark the second column as “notes to self’ for you, your immediate supervisor, and/or your department. 

Another popular method is to separate your paper into four quadrants: 

  • General meeting notes and agenda items

  • Notes for your individual position

  • Notes for your department or team

  • Questions or items that require a follow-up

Stick to Pen and Paper 

Although this may seem antiquated or old-school, utilizing a pen and paper is beneficial and often faster. Putting away your laptop helps to minimize multitasking, allowing for full focus and quicker, better notes. Additionally, writing things down versus typing them results in better retention of information in the long term. 

Don’t Take Note Verbatim 

Accurate notes don’t have to be taken word-for-word. In fact, trying to write notes in a verbatim format will cause you to miss important information. Instead, use shorthand techniques, bullet points, and outlines, and focus on the most important tidbits from the meeting. 

Writing notes in a shorthand that only you understand is okay. These can always be transcribed later into a format that you can share with superiors or teammates.

Use an App To Speed Things Up

There are many apps available for administrative professionals that aid in spell checking and improving words per minute. Grammarly is an app that checks both your spelling and grammar as you type. 

Additionally, note-taking integration apps such as Microsoft Teams will transcribe an entire meeting. When using a note-taking app, you can go back after the meeting to remove irrelevant information. Then, you can produce an accurate transcription of vital meeting points. 

Don’t Be a Perfectionist

Your transcription skills don't need to be perfect on round one. One of the biggest ways administrative professionals slow down their typing is by editing themselves as they go. Just write, and type away! 

There will be errors along the way, but don’t worry about them until your meeting is over. Afterward, go back and swiftly make corrections wherever you see necessary, and use basic spell checking software to help. 

Grow Your Skills with ASAP 

Here at ASAP, we offer easily accessible education and training for today’s busy executive assistants and administrative professionals. Register for one of our upcoming webinars, earn your PACE certification, or join one of our annual in-person training events to take your career to the next level.

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