I am very fortunate in my line of business; I get to meet and learn from all sorts of wonderful people. One of my favorites is Robyn Haydon, a popular speaker, author, and business development expert based in Australia. Robyn always shares wonderfully practical content. Most recently, she shared with us how she managed to write two books while consulting full time. Her tips were so great, we wanted to share them with Law Technology Today readers. While it may not be possible to capture every thought as soon as you have it, you can get pretty close—at least as close as the speed of sound.
Here are three ways to supercharge your writing speed through harnessing the power of voice-to-text and transcription technologies.
Native Voice-To-Text Software
Mac computers come with built-in voice-to-text software, which can be found by clicking on the System Preferences icon, then on Dictation and Speech. You can set up a shortcut key to jump straight into dictation while you’re in a document or email program—my shortcut is to hit the command key twice. Once you’ve set this up, and dictation is activated, just speak at your normal pace and the computer will log your words directly onto the page.
You’ll need a good quality headset with a directional microphone for best results. This is the lowest-cost option; it won’t cost you anything (apart from the headset) to get started.
Purchased Voice-To-Text Software
Before Robyn moved to a Mac computer, when was still using her trusty PC, this software was her lifeline. One of the additional benefits of Dragon Naturally Speaking, for example, is its ability to analyse your documents for frequently used words and phrases, improving dictation accuracy. For example, it knows when you say, “bid consultant” that you don’t mean “big consultant.”
The software cost is about $200. You’ll also need a good quality headset with a directional microphone for best results.
Both of these software options have helped Robyn to get words on paper twice as fast as she could by typing—and she can type about 60 words per minute. These options are best for:
- Dictating emails and short sections of text.
- Transcribing from handwritten notes, such as notes you’ve taken on site or from a whiteboard.
- Working in a private office, or if you don’t mind talking to yourself while there are other people around.
Voice Recording Transcription Apps
To get words on paper even faster, without being chained to your desk and computer, this is the best option by a country mile.
Download Rev’s voice recording phone app from their website and use it to record yourself speaking on a topic. Then simply click to upload the file for transcription directly to them. In Robyn’s experience, short files are usually turned around lightning fast—in some cases, within the hour—with real people doing the transcription. Accuracy is excellent.
You’ll need to set up an account with a credit card to use this service, and transcribed recordings cost USD $1 a minute. But if you’re a professional consultant or senior executive who spends a lot of time on the road or in meetings, this could just be the difference between having to squeeze your board reports, business cases, and client proposals into your precious time after-hours or actually getting them done during the day.
Using a voice recording transcription app like Rev will help you get words onto paper in a quarter of the time you’re probably spending now.
It’s also how Robyn wrote two books in two years while holding down a busy day job full of workshops, speaking, and traveling—and also spending nights and weekends with her family. This option is best for:
- Capturing creative insights and ideas on the run, and producing written work that sounds fresh and personal.
- Getting a good quality first draft quickly that you can later tweak and edit.
- Breaking the back of large documents like business cases, reports proposals, and book drafts.
- There are just so many voice-to-text and voice recording transcription options available now that it is a crime against productivity not to use them.
These are just three of the options that Robyn has tried and tested. Try them, and reclaim some of your day.