When you are at a presentation, lecture or other session at your next conference, you will need to take notes if you want to retain all the information that is imparted to you. However, this is easier said than done. Keeping up with a seminar can be difficult if you have to concentrate on both what is being said and your own writing.

Human speech is surprisingly fast - around 200 words per minute - and nobody can keep up with it if they are writing everything down word for word. Standard handwriting can only reach speeds of 20 to 30 words per minute. Do you think you could understand your notes if you were only able to write down one word for every ten said?

This is why many people make use of shorthand. Learning this, and getting as good at it as possible, is a great way of taking notes quickly and efficiently. But is it worth learning? There are advantages and disadvantages.

On the one hand, it means learning an entirely new way of writing. There are a number of different shorthand systems, most of which have a unique alphabet (or a phonetic way of writing). This means your shorthand will not be all that efficient for a while, until you get really good at it.

You can also use a dictaphone and let that take notes for you. However, that means you will have to transcribe them later, which takes more time. Shorthand notes can be referred to whenever, as once you have written them you will be able to understand them and use them in later presentations.

Shorthand is definitely worth learning in some capacity. It means you don't have to rely on technology, and writing down information is a good way to improve your own memory. There are loads of resources available to learn it, so it might be worth a try.