Our latest guest blog is written by one of Pitman Training trainers, Hilary Dooley who has over 30 years’ experience within the training industry. We thought our Admin Professionals Week would be the perfect time to share some of her knowledge with you.

This blog offers a short introduction into minute taking and the skills of speedwriting, two skills that work very well together. Both of these skills are extremely well received within the administration profession and are beneficial skills within their own right. Together they work hand-in-hand and will help you to be one the greats within minute taking.

With the speedwriting skill not only will you be able to take the correct notes and more of them, but you will gain time to be more involved within the meeting and the conversations.

The Skills of Minute Taking

I have been taking minutes and chairing meetings for the last 30 years. I know I was a very confused minute taker at the start as no-one was able to tell me what to do or support me. I also realise now, what a poor chairperson I was, and how little support I gave to my minute taker. That was because I didn’t really know how to chair a meeting and support a minute taker as there wasn’t any training available. This situation is still very prevalent in today’s working environment unfortunately.

Thankfully today there is training to help and support both job roles.

With understanding of a couple of hundred years of English Minute taking and moving it into the 21st century my key thoughts are:

  • Preparation…Preparation…and Preparation and some more.
  • Taking responsibility for your role. You are the professional here.
  • Knowledge is power. Knowledge of subject, people, jargon, terminology and acronyms.
  • And now, a plan.


My mother was amazing at Pitman shorthand course, she was a top PA Courses and had all the right skills to do a professional job; you had to have shorthand to be a PA back then. Shorthand is still needed, and for some jobs it is an absolute necessity.

However, it does take a long time to learn, a bit like learning a new language and you need a desire to learn it.

There is a new kid on the block. Speedwriting, using the English alphabet and based on texting, it does what it says it does; you can write down information fast.

It’s a useful way to take quick phone messages, create a to-do list, write general notes etc. But, best of all, it’s a great tool for minute taking. To be really successful with it, you need to make it part of your daily life.

We hope this short introduction into these two valuable skills helps you to gain a bit more insight into the benefits of these skills. It’s vital for all administrative professionals to train and make time for professional development.

Finally, here are some key thoughts for those working in an admin role: –

  • Remember it is great profession and career but, you need to own it;
  • Manage your boss and take control to help and support them;
  • Your role is to clear the path of day-to-day things, to allow you boss to achieve their objectives;
  • Problem solve, manage your time and build your networks.

For details of our Meetings and Minutes seminars, click here