NCRA celebrates the Best. Friday. Ever.

NCRA members can kick off their holiday shopping season on Nov. 24 by taking advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways being offered with the purchase of membership renewals, store items, educational sessions, and more.

NCRA members who renew their membership or join on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Registered members who renew on Black Friday will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Speed or Realtime Contests held at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Members who renew their membership on Nov. 24 will also be eligible to win one of two Kindle Fires. That means the members who qualify may have three opportunities to win!

Other Best Friday Ever specials include a 20 percent discount on all NCRA Store items purchased using the promotional code FRIDAY at checkout. In addition, members who register for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference and book their stay at The Don CeSar will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event.

Members who purchase an NCRA e-seminar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-seminar while members who purchase a Skills Test on Black Friday will be entered into a drawing to win one of two free Skills Test registrations.

Members are urged to mark their calendars to be sure they don’t miss the discounts and giveaways being offered only on Nov. 24.

Get comfy for professional development: Exciting upcoming NCRA webinars

Front view of a person sitting barefoot on a couch with their laptop on their knees, blocking their faceCourt reporters and captioners understand the value of continuing education and always improving one’s skills, but it can be challenging to attend in-person events. With NCRA webinars, you can learn more about your profession from the comfort of your own home or office (not to mention that you can attend them in your slippers – no one will know!).

NCRA has a wide variety of topics coming up in the next month. The JCR Weekly reached out to the presenters to help whet your appetite.

On Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, Tori Pittman, FAPR, RDR, CRI, will present “Intersteno: Berlin and Beyond.” Pittman is a freelance reporter from North Carolina who has a passion for Intersteno. Intersteno is “a worldwide community uniting all those using a full range of speed writing methods to quickly produce high quality texts” (including steno lovers, keyboarding champions, and verbatim writers), and they host an international Congress every two years. In this 90-minute webinar, Pittman will talk about the networking and competition opportunities at Intersteno. She describes it as “international travel that is also a business expense” and explains that Intersteno attendees “learn about reporting in other countries while exploring fantastic locations.” The 2017 Intersteno Congress was held in Berlin, Germany (NCRA members performed very well in the competitions), and the next event is in 2019 in Sardinia, Italy.

On Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET, Lisa Jo Hubacher, RPR, CRI, will present “Thinking about Student Training.” Hubacher is an instructor at Madison Area Technical College (which is also her alma mater) in Madison, Wis. Madison Area Technical College received one of the final Training for Realtime Writers grants in 2014 due to its curriculum redesign. In this webinar, Hubacher will discuss this curriculum model, including the redesign’s impact on the program, what’s working, and what needs tweaking. As she describes it, the webinar will cover “how to design a program based on student needs without any curriculum-design knowledge.” Hubacher says she’ll also talk about why “‘But that’s the way we’ve always done it’ doesn’t fly anymore.” This is a must-attend webinar for anyone involved in training reporting students!

On Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET, Santo J. Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, will present “Legal Terms, Part 1.” Aurelio has presented several language-related webinars recently, including “What Reporters Must Know about Punctuation” and “English Grammar Gremlins: Ways to Conquer Them” (now both available as e-seminars). Aurelio will present on more than a hundred and fifty terms, but he admits, “I really get a special kick out of four of them: alibi (in another place), durance vile (imprisonment), eleemosynary (charitable), and Esq.” He adds, “If I must pick one, then I guess it would be Esq., which is merely a title of courtesy, but attorneys think that it means ‘one who is an attorney.’” Aurelio will provide “economical but cogent explanations” for the words that he hopes each attendee will easily remember.

Finally, on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, will present “Promoting the Profession.” Uviedo is an official in San Antonio, Texas, and she serves as co-chairperson for the Texas Court Reporters Association Student Recruitment Task Force. Her efforts in recruiting and mentoring court reporting students have won her the NCSA challenge not just once, but twice in a row; in 2015, she organized participation in 13 career fairs in 15 days in San Antonio. “It is so easy and rewarding volunteering for a recruitment event,” says Uviedo. “You have the potential to reach hundreds, even if you only talk to 50.” Uviedo has also found the value in promoting the profession over social media, and she hints that “one cool thing I’ll talk about is having attendees take selfies of themselves in front of their court reporting machines and having them spread posts about court reporting.”

Members who attend the webinars will be able to ask questions directly to the presenter and get them answered right away. But if you are not able to attend the live webinar, they will be available as on-demand e-seminars after the fact. Keep an eye on NCRA’s e-seminar library for these and other topics to help grow as a professional.

What can you do in a month to earn CEUs?

A middle-aged white woman listens attentively during a workshop while taking notes.The Sept. 30 deadline for this year’s CEU cycle is coming up quickly, but there’s still time to earn a few more last-minute credits, both in person and online. Even if your CEU cycle isn’t ending this year, these ideas can help you stay on track and possibly even get that requirement done early.

Attend a webinar or e-seminar

Webinars and e-seminars are a great way to learn some new skills in the comfort of your own home and, in terms of e-seminars, on your own schedule. There are three 90-minute live webinars scheduled for this September:

If none of these webinars fit your schedule, check out the NCRA e-seminar library for 60- and 90-minute sessions on topics that include business, CART and captioning, ethics, grammar and language, history, official reporting, personal development, realtime, technology, and more.

Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences

Many state associations and other court reporter–related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. In-person events give you the opportunity to network with other reporters and captioners while earning CEUs. Most events are one to three days, and several of them are in the first half of the month. Events are scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana/Wyoming/Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as Alberta, Canada, this month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events here, which includes the dates, location (geographic or online), and number of CEUs.

Learn CPR or first aid

The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills? Learn more about the requirements for earning CEUs by learning CPR or first aid on

Transcribe oral histories

Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. “As court reporters, we sometimes are too focused on the financial side of what we do, but (volunteering) is giving back. Anyone thinking of participating in one of these events should just jump right in and do it. It’s well worth it,” said Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who recently volunteered at NCRF’s third Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative at the 86th Military Order of the Purple Heart 2017 Convention held in Dallas. Learn more at

Get credit for past events

You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. You can submit these CEUs and PDCs here.

Cycle extensions

If you need a four-month cycle extension (to Jan. 31) to finish those last CEUs, you can fill out the CEU extension request form by Sept. 30. Note that the deadline to complete CEUs or to request an extension is the same date.

View the full list of qualified continuing education activities at View other continuing education forms here or view your current transcript here. If you have any questions, please contact the NCRA credentialing coordinator.

E-seminar review: Syllables: Count on it!

The informative vendor e-seminar Syllables: Count on it! teaches court reporting students and instructors how to accurately count syllables to help with dictation. The e-seminar is presented by Janice Plomp, who, after 28 years as an official court reporter and CART provider, became a full-time instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Plomp presents a software product called Syllables, which was created by Plomp and her brother. Their website states that Syllables provides a fast and simple method of creating accurate dictation materials.

At the beginning of the e-seminar, Plomp discusses how different sentences can be. For example, there could be the same number of words in two sentences but completely different number of syllables, which makes a huge impact in the world of court reporting. She then reviews syllabic density, the Syllables product, and the advantages and features offered. Plomp says, “It’s eye-opening to students to see how many syllables and repetitive words there are in a document. [With Syllables,] you can add syllabic breaks that you can save, and you can adjust the ease or difficulty of your document.”

Plomp spends time showing how Syllables works and ways court reporting students can benefit when practicing by using its functionality available in the library. Plomp states, “I got started [developing Syllables] because I thought there has to be a better way to count syllables. I can’t imagine my teaching career without it.”

This e-seminar is now available here.

E-seminar review: Disability insurance

In the informative e-seminar, Disability insurance and retirement planning, Mike Diers and Nick Hague cover disability income benefits, estimated costs associated with them, and the importance of planning for the future. Diers has more than 31 years’ experience in financial and retirement planning and investment management. Hague, president of Lifetime Financial Resources, advises on life and health insurance products that include long-term care planning, annuity solutions, and life insurance.

The seminar begins with how to protect a person’s income and financial future. It’s important to have a solid base, starting with the foundation and moving up. Diers says, “Sometimes we don’t think about being disabled and not being able to work. If you don’t have disability coverage, how will you replace your income? Chances of disability are greater than you think,” he adds. Diers also reviews the importance of income protection and reminds court reporters that even if an employee offers long-term disability, it’s only a percentage of our current salary.

Hague continues with the rest of the seminar and discusses how income is our most valuable asset. He states, “If something happens to you, how will your family replace your earning power? Life insurance is the best option to supplement some of that income loss.” Hague reviews how to determine how much life insurance is needed by analyzing goals and objectives. He also discusses the different types of insurances and their advantages and disadvantages.

This e-seminar is now available.

Note: The retirement planning part of the e-seminar will now be part of a separate e-seminar at a later date.

E-seminar review: Power Posture II

In the second part of her e-seminar series, Marilynn Larkin discusses the importance of good posture. Larkin is the owner/creator of PosturAbility, a posture enhancement-and-awareness program that addresses the physical and emotional benefits of better posture.

In Power Posture II, Larkin reviews the connection between posture and feelings. In addition to providing a quick review of the emotional benefits of good posture, she gives quick tools at the end of the e-seminar and discusses how to build confidence.

In her presentation, she reviews research, which shows how the body and mind are connected and affect each other. Larkin reviews the power pose and shows examples. Boosting one’s presence, by the way a person walks and dresses, can also have a major impact on confidence. For example, doing power poses and using a voice of authority can lead to more self-confidence, self-esteem, and better presentation. Good posture, Larkin adds, “affects all aspects of your life, not just work.”

This e-seminar is available in NCRA’S online collection, along with the first in the series.

E-seminar review: What I didn’t learn in court reporting school

Long-time court reporters Early Langley, RMR, and Gail Inghram Verbano, RDR, CRR, presented an informative e-seminar titled What I didn’t learn in court reporting school. During the presentation, they discussed how important it is to be prepared before, during, and after an assignment.

They started the e-seminar by providing tips on how to make any job a success. Langley shared what’s in her bag and everything she carries to an assignment. Langley said that it’s all about planning for anything. Verbano mentioned how she also carries an emergency bag. She added, “You can’t go home just because you don’t feel good. So I bring Advil, cough drops, and a few medical supplies. [I even] bring my own hotspot so I can always get on the Internet.”

Later in the e-seminar, Verbano reviewed social media no-no’s. “Don’t post anything to jeopardize you or your firm or your client’s reputation. Don’t leak firm’s future business leads. It can get back to the client or attorney, and your license could be in jeopardy,” Verbano said.

Both offered great tips on how to handle situations that arise in the workplace. For example, sometimes court reporters might be given the wrong time to arrive and it’s even possible that another court reporter will show up for the same assignment. They stateed that, if this happens, always be friendly and explain the situation to the attorney who can work it out. In fact, many things could happen in the courtroom that court reporters need to know how to handle, such as when a witness talks too fast, when an attorney asks a court reporter to go off the record, and even how to handle exhibits and tips on how to mark and name them. In detail, they review these and other situations.

Langley and Verbano ended the discussion with how to prepare after the job takes place, including tips and tricks for editing, preparing a good transcript, and finally, what needs to be done before turning in the transcript.

This is the perfect seminar for students, professionals just starting out, or court reporters looking for tips on how to make every assignment a success.

This e-seminar is now available in NCRA’s online collection.


E-seminar review: Confront and overcome gender stereotypes in the workplace

Andrea Kramer, author and partner of an international law firm, presents an informative e-seminar about gender issues that may come up for anyone in the workplace. In Confront and overcome gender stereotypes in the workplace, Kramer discusses how stereotypes are developed about men, women, and even successful leaders. “It’s important not to buy into stereotypes,” she adds. “What comes from and grows out of stereotypes are biases, and they’re usually unconscious.” Biases, she continues, affect people’s perceptions and workplace situations. Kramer reviews stereotypes and biases in more detail and what women may experience throughout their careers and every day. She mentions that no matter where court reporters are in their careers, they need to cultivate relationships with people who can give feedback or advice. A final thought she offers to women in the workplace: “Speak when you have something to say without worrying about being seen as aggressive or dominating.”

This e-seminar is now available.

E-seminar review: How to be mindful in a mindless world

Presented by Kim Colegrove

Kim Colegrove, owner of Make Time for Nothing, a private practice dedicated to making time for meditation, leads another popular e-seminar for NCRA. In How to be mindful in a mindless world, Colegrove discusses what it means to be mindful and provides six common-sense steps to better mental clarity. She also offers great tools to reduce stress and increase productivity.

For professional and personal situations, she encourages court reporters and all of her clients to live in the moment. “We’re filled with worry, concern, and regrets. But we need to clear our minds.” She cites that we spend too much time focusing on the past and the future. Being mindful, Colegrove says, is being present and being there—in the moment—for that particular person or situation.

During the e-seminar, she gives examples of how to get in to the mindfulness state. “It’s not a very joyful way to live on autopilot,” Colegrove says, adding that stress is making people sick. She advises everyone to re-evaluate circumstances and events in life. “It’s usually not the situation or person that causes you stress, but how you choose to think about the situation or person.”

Part of getting to the mindfulness states is to understand her six common-sense steps to better mental clarity. Having better mental clarity reduces your stress, helps you gain clarity, and increase your productivity. Essential to well-being, she reviews some great exercises and talks about the power of the pause and why it’s so important.

This webinar is now available in NCRA’s online collection of e-seminar.

E-seminar review: Recipes for success for court reporting firms: Lessons from NCRA’s 2013 Firm Owners’ Economic Benchmark Survey

In a recent e-seminar, Jim Cudahy, CAE, NCRA Executive Director & CEO, discusses the results from the 2013 Firm Owners Economic Benchmark Survey. Many valuable types of information can be gleaned by the 2013 numbers, as well as lessons learned from comparing the results. Cudahy adds, “It’s helpful to take a benchmark of the industry periodically, to illuminate some of the best practices going on with court reporting firms.”

Cudahy also talks about the priorities of the National Court Reporters Association and what’s important to membership. He reviews the NCRA strategic plan, survey methodology, gross revenues, and size of firms, as well as trends and best practices such as market intelligence and marketing tactics used to acquire new business.

Court reporters who’d like to learn what’s new in the 2013 survey and find out the type of firms, based on geographic location and revenue, that participated should not miss the presentation. Cudahy breaks down all of the categories by size and percentile and shares what firm owners believe were the increased-demand projects. Cudahy also shares insightful information as to whether there’s a sweet spot when it comes to revenue increase and a point of diminishing return.

Throughout the presentation, Cudahy weaves in recipes for success and how important it is to cultivate business relations. And, he leaves with a final thought on how to increase your impact when it comes to building business.

This e-seminar is now available in NCRA’S online collection.