Yes, There is an Easier Way to Do That


If you were grading yourself as a Case CATalyst user, what marks would you give yourself?

Getting a job out the door should get easier as time goes on. If you’re working just as hard as you always have but your translation rate hasn’t improved or the number of pages you can edit in an hour is not noticeably larger, then it’s probably time for you to learn a tip or trick and improve your performance! Learning and incorporating one or two new shortcuts every few weeks, or at least once a month can make a huge difference in your productivity, your job satisfaction and your confidence!

I’ve run into a lot of reporters and scopists who claim they prefer to just use what they know, that “it’s enough.” In the August 20 edition of this blog, I explained why, when it comes to your business, you shouldn’t settle for “good enough.” Although there are a lot of reasons given for not taking training, when I discuss objections with reporters and scopists, the most common denominator in the choice to not learn something new in software is intimidation. When you haven’t had a positive experience with learning yet, it can be very uncomfortable to learn something new!

However, if you’re uncomfortable learning CATalyst, it probably means that you haven’t yet met the trainer(s) who will be your new best friend(s); someone that enables you to enjoy learning and immediately makes a difference in your productivity. It could also mean that you’ve only experienced “training” via one method and that particular method wasn’t the best way for you to learn.

Fortunately, there are a lot of trainers and a wide variety of options for learning CATalyst, and one of those methods is bound to fit your learning style!

While everyone loves the cost-savings that comes with “DIY” learning options, the reality is that not everyone is a do-it-yourselfer. A lot of reporters and scopists learn much faster and more effectively when someone leads the way. It’s more than having someone who can answer your questions: it’s incredibly helpful and reassuring to have someone who will ask you questions about how you work and what you need, and then based on your answers, can explain and guide you through understanding and using the feature or shortcut that meets that need.

There are a lot of options for instructor-led learning:

If you’re the kind of person who wants to limit who else is around to hear your questions, so that you don’t feel “judged;” to be the focus of the instructor’s attention vs. sharing the instructor’s time with other people; to know for certain that all of the time you spend in training will be focused on your questions and learning at your pace, vs. used up by people who know less than you or more than you or that aren’t relevant to what you do: you’ll do best with one-on-one training vs. attending a seminar or workshop with other CATalyst users. One-on-one training can be taken in-person or remotely via application-sharing software.  Both methods are extremely effective with the right trainer, and as 23 of our 33 training agents currently offer remote training services, the right trainer is definitely available!

If your nearest local agent isn’t cost-effectively close enough for in-person training, remote training is an excellent alternative. Although most people get along very well with most training agents, sometimes the best training provider for you won’t be the one who happens to be geographically closest. For example, you may be an official in an area where the nearest training agent is a freelance depo reporter who is a superb trainer but has no experience in court; you might be more comfortable working with a CATalyst expert who is familiar with features and shortcuts that are unique to your job. A scopist getting started with RealTeam™ may want to work with a training agent who is also a professional scopist with RealTeam experience, or with a reporter who has their own team.

There are a couple of ways to find the training agent who is the best match for you.  The do-it-yourself way is to sort the list of training agents posted at https://www.stenograph.com/cat-training-agent-list by clicking any of the column headings. For example, if you wanted to find out who was closest to you and might be able to provide you with in-person training, you could click on the State or Coverage Area column heading to discover who covers your area. If you want remote training, you could click the Remote Training column and organize the list by who provides remote training. If you discover there is more than one agent that might meet your needs and you want to learn more about which training agent’s skills seem to best match your needs, you could click the trainer’s name in the Bio column to learn more about that particular trainer. Another way to find out which trainer would best meet your needs would be to contact Cindi Lynch, Stenograph’s Training Program Manager at clynch@stenograph.com and ask for advice!

Another instructor-led training option is to attend a CATalyst workshop or seminar scheduled in conjunction with another event, such as a local, state or national association meeting.  These sessions can be very convenient for many reasons. You may already have budgeted for and planned to attend a convention where a CATalyst class is being offered. The organizers of those events typically handle applying for national and state continuing education credit for you, vs. one-on-one training where you can get the documentation you’ll need but typically have to take care of sending in the application yourself.  Another plus for some people is that it’s easy to be anonymous in a group: if you don’t want to be the focus of attention, you can take advantage of hearing the answers to questions asked by other reporters. If you go with a friend, the two of you can share notes.  Check with your state association to see whether CATalyst training is being offered at their next convention, and who the trainer will be. Stenograph always provides large group training sessions at the NCRA convention and at STAR’s two conventions.

Group sessions do have some drawbacks: the agenda is agreed upon and fixed months in advance of your attendance, so the material may not be as helpful or relevant to you as one-on-one training would be. When there are many participants, not everyone’s questions may be answered during the training session – you may need to contact the instructor after the training session ends.

Custom group training is when you organize a group of people and hire a trainer (either a Certified Independent Training Agent or Cindi Lynch, Training Program Manager) to provide training on an agenda selected by you for the benefit of your group (e.g. a group of colleagues from a particular firm, a court, a government office or just friends). Your group must arrange to cover the costs for the trainer and their expenses; however they can often be as or more cost-effective than seminars at a convention and as you design the agenda, they can be very rewarding to your group! If this interests you, contact your local training agent or send an e-mail to Cindi Lynch at clynch@stenograph.com.

However, not everyone wants or necessarily needs a trainer!  If you’re the kind of person who likes to build something from instructions or make something from a recipe rather than have someone show you how something is done, you may also be someone who prefers learning CATalyst tips and tricks from one of the following free resources:

  • Help, Self-Study Guides – there are nine guides covering the most popular features in CATalyst and the most requested topics in private trainings, workshops and seminars.
  • Help, Exceptional Extras – a series of files and instructions to enable you to get started with some of the more advanced features like macros, AccelerWriters, and Automatic Indexing without having to master all of the fundamentals and build files from scratch.
  • Case CATalyst Help (F1)
  • Askbot.com
  • Send an e-mail to training@stenograph.com

If you prefer watching a video and listening to an explanation (and being able to rewind and hear it again and again, as many times as needed); again, without anyone watching you while you learn:

  • Help, Integrated Video Training & Create Training User exercises
  • http://www.youtube.com/StenographLLC
  • Some of the Stenograph Certified Independent Training Agents have produced and sell their own videos of CATalyst classes. Contact your local training agent; if they do not provide that service, they may be able to recommend you to one of their colleagues that does!
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