Is Cursive Really A Valuable Business Skill?

What does your handwriting say about you? Well, it says you’re too behind in the times to type. Pens and pencils are scarce at CopyPress, and our single printer sits neglected in the corner. That’s because very few people put pen to paper anymore, and even fewer write in cursive. While cursive penmanship may be all but dead in the corporate world, it’s about to become a mandatory lesson in North Carolina.

S243 Back to Basics recently passed in the state Senate and states that students should be able to create documents legibly in cursive by the end of fifth grade. There are similar bills working their way around Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Proponents say it teaches more than pretty handwriting, it also helps brain activity and self-discipline.

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Opponents say that in the time spent teaching cursive, kids could be reading, or learning math, or going out to the playground to help stave off obesity. They say it’s an outdated skill that should be cast away to make room for modern technology.

This is a content marketing blog, not a childhood development blog, so this is what really needs to be answered: would the business world look different if we didn’t have cursive?

What do we actually write out that would require perfect penmanship? Certainly not passive-aggressive post-it notes to coworkers (clean out the fridge, don’t touch my food, etc.). But what about thank-you notes? The little extra touches can go a long way and taking the time to write out a card to a client shows that you value their business. While a handwritten note can help you stand out, it’s doubtful that a client will drop an agency because the thank-you note was written in print, not script.

Job interview candidates could also go the extra mile by writing out their thank-yous, but if the position comes down to two people, the employer probably won’t choose one candidate over the other because they have better handwriting.

shutterstock_125872571For decades people used handwriting analysis to learn about people. Even today there are articles showing how slants and spacing show one’s creative side while the size and lines make another person a sociopath. But even that science has been losing legitimacy as everyone’s handwriting gradually worsens with our dependence on technology. Frankly, we should be placing the bar a lot lower than beautiful cursive penmanship and settle for the ability to write legibly in any style.

While scrolling through your RSS feed, you will read at least two different articles today. First, you will be told that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Then, you will told that content is king. The North Carolina school system seems to be having the same battle: should they teach children how to write out their ideas beautifully, or should they build up their knowledge of the world? After all, what’s the point of great handwriting – or a highly ranked blog – if you have nothing important to say?

About the author

Amanda Dodge