Modern Shorthand

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Some of my recent blogs offer thoughts about how easy it is to think we are communicating, but we are not. I am constantly reminded of the differences between the way engineers think and the way others think. We love to argue the fine points while we leave those around us wondering what on earth we are talking about.

The “Big Bang Theory” constantly points this out to me, and it is funny to most of us. Well, at least it is funny to me. However, it is probably not funny at all to people like Penny in this series. And, given that most Americans are closer to her point of view, we really should be paying closer attention to this.

This week’s blog looks at the word that comes to mind here: shorthand. When I was young, the ability to take shorthand was a key skill for secretaries. Back then, the skill itself was called stenography and it was extremely important when people wanted to dictate a letter or a note long before voice recording was practical and inexpensive. Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed and brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language.

Now, with word processors so widespread, there are very few clerical positions like this anymore. But, we do have a new style of shorthand. Texting has created a whole new dimension. Texts like LOL, etc. are so widely used they are in the dictionary. Shorthand expressions are now viewed as words even though they are not.

I hope you enjoy the conversation shown here as a texting sequence. The clear warning is to learn to speak the language of the customer. This is not easy for us technical types to do.

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