Dictation for Entrepreneurs

Top Tips - Dictation

So what’s your favourite greeting at the moment? Ours is “Good Morning Passionate Ones!” which is the way one of our great clients starts every dictation file he sends to us. It never fails to make us chuckle.

In our opinion, dictation is a dying art. Yet it’s actually something that could revolutionise your business in terms of saving you bundles of time. We all know time is so precious, but no matter who you are, how long you’ve been in business or how efficient you are most of the time, feeling overwhelmed and wishing there were more hours in the day has become pretty normal.

We like to help and offer solutions. So, if you choose a whizzy tool like Dragon Dictate  mastering the art of dictation saves time when writing up documents and encourages you to focus fully on one task at a time (rather than procrastinating or multitasking!).

If you choose a more bespoke, personal service offered by an outsourced PA service like ours, dictation relieves the frustration of formatting documents, has the potential to improve your customer experience and is relatively inexpensive!

Here’s our handy guide to get you started today. All you need is a Smart Phone, the pre-installed recording app (no fancy software at all!) and our email address…

Starting and ending your recording – say the name of the document right at the beginning of each recording, then identify yourself, the date and any other facts to be recorded in the document set up. Gather together all the reference materials you need – notes, reports, stats etc. before pressing record. Say “End of Dictation” when you are finished.

Be clear – always state clearly and then spell details of addresses, names, file references, meeting attendees, technical words etc. and ensure you are in a quiet space with no background noise. Say numbers clearly; 14 would be “fourteen, that’s one four” and 40 would be “forty, that’s four zero”. It’s really important not to use similar sounding and confusing words when dictating, as it is not to mumble or rabbit on – don’t say 50 words when 10 will do.

Consider your pace – speak at a regular, slower than usual pace, don’t be scared to leave short gaps between sentences as we’d rather that than have to decipher the waffle! The perfect dictation pace is not how most people usually talk, it’s more considered giving you more time to think and us more time to type! Also pause before speaking when you start your recording, and before you press to stop recording so you don’t ‘clip’ the recording file.

Formatting and punctuation – we encourage our clients to include punctuation instructions, especially when starting new paragraphs, bullet points or numbered lists, and when quotation marks are required. Use the word “stop” to indicate the end of a sentence. This is particularly vital with dictation software, not so much a transcription service like ours as we can usually tell by the tone and content of the recording. Taking the time to set templates to add dictation content too will prove incredibly efficient in the long run.

Verbatim or summary – Tell your transcriber whether you would like word for word typing or, whether business acumen and understanding can come into play and therefore make a full summary of your dictation but with the end result being more readable, succinct and professional. Here at The Passionate PA we like to understand the style of each client and tailor our transcription service to that – there are a hundred ways to say “the whole Board were in agreement”, after all!

Don’t lose the personality – don’t be scared to add character to your recordings; we encourage clients to talk to us through their dictation. If it’s a sales document for example, a client might give us a specific message about their client’s character and needs and that leads us to consider the content of the transcription fully. More often than not, we can add value to how the sales document is completed because we are not ‘just PAs’, we are business owners with a wealth of professional experience.
It’s worth remembering too that the greatest influence on the quality of dictation, and speed of transcription, is the Dictator! We love working with clients to create a bespoke, fast, easy service that suits their needs, and improves their communication whether it be internally or to their customers and suppliers.

Happy dictating!

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