It’s about saving time and delegating.
According to nflow:
A survey taken by firms that had recently moved to digital dictation discovered that authors using digital dictation save themselves an average of 8 minutes per 1 page document produced. If an author produced 100 pages of text a week, this will save them around 12 hours.
When I started back in the day, dictation was captured by me personally. I sat across from the attorney, steno book and fine tip Bic pen (blue, for those of you who are curious) in hand – taking down every utterance in my own combo of short/long hand. I’d then travel to my typewriter (ok, I’m dating myself a bit) to type out the documents in whatever format and on whatever type of paper the words I was typing required.
In the late 70’s/early 80’s, just as computers were making the scene in law firms, attorneys started upgrading to portable recorders for the dictation part, freeing up staff to get the work done. For urgent matters, they’d still call me in; but the day to day grind work would be dictated onto a micro cassette which I would take care of as I had time throughout my day.
I can hear some of you right now thinking – yeah, but I can type, so why do I need to dictate?
Unless you’re a really (and I mean REALLY) fast typist, you talk faster. Go ahead, talk normally and try to type all the words as you speak. lol
Additionally, dictation does not equal document – I’ve been listening to attorneys dictate everything from their correspondence and legal documents to notes and instructions for close to 20 years.
So, along with typing, I’d call clients and the courts; adjourn dates; open new files; follow up on various projects; find specific documents, create and track reminders/to dos/calendar/contact entries – you name it. If it could be spoken and delegated, my boss would speak it and I would get it done.
In fact, in his groundbreaking work, Getting Things Done, David Allen lists “dictation” as one of only 6 ways to collect information and get what is in your head out and actionable.
Dictation is about delegating – delegating the typing AND any other duties you feel comfortable giving to your assistant (virtual or not).
By the way, it is natural to have a fear of recording your voice and/or to not like the sound of your recorded voice. Much along the same lines as fear of public speaking – those who have never “dictated” can be extremely self conscious.
Just as with any new skill (and dictation is just that), you become more proficient over time and with practice.
If you’d like to learn more about dictating (and it’s yang – transcription), join me for a free teleclass this Wednesday at noon: click here for details