Typing not Stereotyping – A True Way to Advance…

I have often wondered how my life might have been different had I not learned to type quickly and accurately. I will never forget a lecture I attended by Lester Thurow, former professor of Economics and Dean at MIT, back while I was at Yale (around 1986). He said that typing was far from an insignificant skill to possess as an executive. For many “older” executives–especially those who were not born into the need to type their school papers–typing is not a noble skill. There are still many executives who consider it below themselves to know how to type (much less how to use the computer, Outlook and internet…); those who think that typing themselves is a loss of time.

Au contraire, I find that typing fast and accurately is a tremendous skill and competitive advantage. Just to answer once more the question “how do I find the time to blog so much?” I say, first, that I make the time (part of my philosophy on time). But, right after that, I say that it is thanks to the fact that I can type up to 70 words per minute without (too many) mistakes. When combined with having the word retrieval (from the brain) stoked by some good coffee beans, the posts come fast and furiously for me.

Typing Hands - Finger chart for the KeyboardOn the professional front, this means that typing up memos, meeting recaps or e-mails is substantially less of a chore. That said, there are no shortcuts for rereading and proofing your written word. Of course, reading emails is another kettle of fish and knowing who to put in copy, etc., in your replies (managing the politics…) is a little more cumbersome. Nonetheless, typing faster is a competitive advantage anyway you cut it. It even helps me finger out my messages on my Blackberry. But my typing skills did not come “out of thin air.” I had to apply myself to learn how to type — and I did so consciously early on, without access to any of the fun ways to learn that now exist.

Facebook LogoAmong the fun typing games out there (and there are many), I enjoyed this one from Jon Miles, called Fingerjig. Of course, you can also play Fingerjig on Facebook and find out if you’re a better typist than your friends. It doesn’t test you for upper case, etc., but it is a reasonably fun and engaging way to see where you stand — and see if you need to improve!

So, if you are a student at school, the need to learn to type is pretty much obvious. A done deal. One of the areas I have been working on is finding ways to encourage our children to type quickly — and online games are clearly a great answer. Below are a few solutions that I found (even if some reside on a platform that has other painfully silly games) for kids and adults.

Then, for the less game inclined typer, a few “serious” sites courtesy of Touch Typing post from a prolific, if currently dormant, JEETBLOG. You can test your speed, or do some online tutoring here: TypingTest or Keybr.

If you want to try your hand at your own typing speed, try this. It takes just one MINUTE!

70 wordsTypingtest

In any event, I promote typing skills, am proud of my own ability to type fast and believe that typing faster can materially contribute to the business world’s increased productivity. Typing should not be stereotypically left for assistants and secretaries!

What do you think?

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