I went to the Mark Kislingbury seminar this weekend for the third time.  I'm so frustrated with myself because I came home and was proofing this job and noticed how many times I could have used briefs that I've learned from two years ago and I'm only using them 40% of the time.  I'm talking about the little briefs that just save you physically, such as:

that you were

that you had

that you believe

when you were

take a look at

that she was

that he was

The job I proofed yesterday had a ton of these little phrases and I'm writing them in three strokes 60% of the time.  I just don't understand why I can't get my brain to use them more.  I know what they are.  

Does anyone have an idea how I can make myself use these more?  I've been using them for two years but I want to use them "all the time."  It would really cut down on the fatigue if I could MAKE myself use them.

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You're not going to be able to do them ALL in EVERY job.  When I was learning new briefs I would focus on about five at a time.  Try choosing the ones you know you're going to hear a ton of and write a sticky note and have it on your screen that these are the ones you have briefs for that you're going to make a concerted effort to do.  That always helped me incorporate a lot of new briefs.  But I too am a big offender.  How about this for stroking out EVERY time:  I did not or I do not!!  Seriously - we hear that so much!  I'm almost ashamed to admit it :)

I write that out too.  Crazy.  Or yes, I did or no, I didn't.  I write that out too.  Grrrrrr!!  I gotta get with it. 

I actually brief a ton of words, but they're not the ones that come up all the time like all of these here. 

Kelli - I have the same problem.  For me it's re-learning how to listen.  I hear "that" and bam I write it.  Now I'm invested into writing the next strokes individually because I missed the phrasing opportunity.  Sometimes I will delete the single stroke and go for the phrasing, but at times that's counterproductive.  If I get too involved in thinking about should I delete it and phrase it or should I just write the next words, I will miss the next word that is said.  I'm not behind.   But my mind was so busy with should I or shouldn't I, I just didn't hear the next word. 

For the briefs that won't stick, I go back to school days.  I dictate those dastardly words and phrases and practice, practice, practice.  Load them onto the laptop and before the job begins, either listen and write them in your mind or on the writer.  I think the key is listening for them. 

I think after I've gone to two of Mark's seminars and I kind of learned the same things, just his preliminary briefs that he suggests - not even getting his book - I've come to the painful conclusion that they mean nothing if I don't practice them.   He recommends three times a day and that will be hard.      

It would be helpful to have a list of them on my computer that I can refer to every day, practice for a few minutes or three times a day as he suggests.  That's something to start with.  If they are easy to access, I can do it while waiting for a job to start.

Sad thing is I have a ton of other words I'm learning to write short, so I have a lot of things to change!

Same here.  I'm more interested in writing these short phrases in one stroke than anything else he teaches.  It's baby steps, but I should have about five of them down by now since it's been two damn years.  Maybe it is that I'm dealing with a 47 year old mind at this point and I'm set in my ways.

I am going to have to start practicing them and making my fingers go to those keys.  I learned a really good one on Saturday:  Take a look at = TLAOKT and take a look = TLAOK.  I love those two and am sure going to try to use them.


work on briefs for things that make you hesitate.  writing it out

long - if you are not hesitating is just fine.  

It is easier to pick up briefs for things that 'bug" you than for phrases or briefs of things that you sail right over.

one of my favorite briefs:

HROEUBGZ/ looks like

HROEUBGD/ looked like


I find I have to really concentrate on briefing during my job.  If I don't, I just revert back to doing things the old way. 

Plus sometimes when they're talking, they're talking too slow to brief or they pause before the rest of the brief comes out and I've already written part of it. 

I think the best thing is just to concentrate on listening for the briefs as they're talking.  It really does take quite a bit of concentration until they come naturally, at least for me. 

I also notice the more tired I get, the more I don't brief.  That makes absolutely no sense.  Probably because you have to think about it at that point and I'm past the point of trying to think.

One thing you might do is watch your notes instead of the English realtime screen.  Looking at those notes brings back memories of school!  But I think it also will jog your memory to use the briefs, especially when your notes are on several lines and screaming out "Brief this!"  But, Kelli, you might as well face it.  The reason you write so much out is because you're so damn good, you're bored, and you write things out just to have something to do.  After all, they ARE paying you for this job - you might as well appear to be doing something ...


Kelli, I had a hard time at first too. I think it's that we're used to being right on top of the speakers to make sure we get everything even at high speed, so that it's actually difficult to learn to trail more (which is what's needed to brief phrases). I don't think I'll ever be completely comfortable with trailing, but I did (finally) develop the ability to do that enough to brief the phrases you referred to. Several times on each job still, say for "that you believe," I'll whip out a THAU for that you and then write BLAEF in a second stroke -- as you say, particularly when tired or, for me, when they're going very fast -- but, for the most part, I do now write THAUBL.

You're smart to focus on those very common phrases. So many strokes can be cut out from briefing those throughout a day. The way I was able to do it was just writing up a list that I kept as the first page in my workbook (I use a DayRunner) and practicing each day I'd have any free time.

I actually still do that when I come up with a new theory concept or a new family of briefs. Actually, just even looking at the list each day as I open my workbook helps to cement in the outlines.


I went for a run with my dogs today and I was writing those phrases with my hands as I was running: "that these" and "that those" and "that you have" and "that he has" and "that you were" and "when you were."  I guess whatever works. 

It's just these piddly ones I'm having a problem with.  The issue is these come up all the fricking time!!


One thing that has helped me a lot is to use "Brief it."  I am on CC and I know you are an Eclipse user and Eclipse has something similar.  Using "Brief it" gives me ideas of things that are coming up over and over and suggestions of what to brief.  Even if I don't use their suggestion I can see that Brown Family Farms is coming up over and over and over and if I don't like their suggestion, I make up my own brief.  Using this program has really reduced the stress on my hands and wrists and I'm not nearly as tired at the end of the day.  You are right.  If you can reduce the number of strokes you are making, your hands will feel much better.



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