Blanchard's Pyramid Plan

Clyde Blanchard devised a method to increase dictation speed, which is helpful if you are in the 60-120 wpm range, and want to increase your speed at least 20 wpm more of where you are now.  The method is called the “Pyramid Plan”, and it is based on taking additional short dictation set at a high speed (40 wpm more than your regular speed), then gradually coming down to with additional dictation sets.  (It is just like lifting weights using a pyramid set.)  The method is clearly explained in a file called “pyramid-plan.pdf” that I’m including here.

(by Carlos for everyone)


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  1. This is used for EVERYTHING! I would be terribly suprised if it didn't work for shorthand. It also works for running faster (run your "usual" for a mile, then fast for 1/4, then sprint 1/4, then run your "usual" for 1/2…but you'll actually be running faster than normal for that last half lap than the first mile) (That's assuming you're fit enough already to handle it) Reading…if you read at 300 wpm, calculate the pages per minute for 300, 600, and 900 wpm. Read for 5 minutes at 300, then 5 at 600, then 5 at 900 (no…you won't be able to actually read the 600 and 900, but try…and let your eyes "get used to it"), then 5 more minutes at your fastest "real" reading speed…you can count on 5-10% increases everytime as long as you give yourself a couple days "rest" between each reading excercise. Also banana painting. Paint two bananas in one minute…then paint 4…then 31…then go back to actually getting the whole thing painted…and you'll realize you're…doing something really stupid.   But they actually do work…I'm up to 12 fully painted bananas a minute. ./[tyler]

  2. Swem has you work on an entire passage at once. Set the speed (comfortable through "fractured") and take the entire passage. No mention of shorter passages being easier, nor to start each new speed with a short passage.

    The pyramid has you change speeds within the passage. It also has you break a passage into parts, so you have several short passages. It's more complicated than that, but those are the points I took away.

    Prof Waldir on this site recommends starting each speed with a short passage, then build length, then start a new speed with a short passage again.

  3. Blanchard's version is what is used in the Gregg Speed Building books. My sense is that he breaks the passages because when you're studying from the speed building books, the student is not able to retain a lot of material as he has not developed the carrying ability yet. Swem's approach makes more sense when you have already developed a fast speed, because your carrying ability would be pretty good at that point. Just a thought.

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