In this 7 Cool Tools for Fast Delegation series we’ve covered tools for delegating tasks on the run (with Voxie Pro Recorder), dead-easy phone-based dictation (with eFax Pro) and using screencasts for training (with SnagIt).
These are auditory and visual tools, but sometimes text is more appropriate for delegation, such as getting the wording right in a document.
Speech-to-text has been an alluring goal in the quest for speed and efficiency, especially for the hunt-and-peck typists among us. In theory it is up to five times faster than typing. It doesn’t get much more efficient than being able to speak and have your words automatically and instantly converted into text.
If… it works reliably and consistently.
And that has been a big ‘if’. The end-user experience of speech-to-text software over the years has often been frustrating.
Misinterpretations were common. My favourite example – partly because it illustrates how challenging voice recognition is in terms of detecting extremely subtle differences – is ‘wreck a nice beach’ instead of ‘recognise speech’!
By the time a user corrected any misinterpretations, they could have simply typed the information. No time saved.
Apart from the quality of the software’s voice-to-speech conversion algorithm, performance is limited by the processing power of the computer or device. Voice recognition is super-intensive.
Thankfully even basic models of computers now have sufficient processing power to handle voice recognition software.
Voice recognition is appearing in apps and operating systems. For example, Apple’s Siri and equivalents on Android and Windows have made voice commands commonplace. With mobile devices out-stripping the performance of desktop computers from just a few years ago, your smartphone is even more useful as a business efficiency tool. There are some great mobile apps available.
In the context of this Fast Delegation series, here’s how to use this app with another app for emailing a dictated instruction:
- Open the Dragon Dictate app, press the ‘Tap and dictate’ button, dictate your instructions, then tap ‘Done’. Your words appear on-screen after a few seconds. (If it takes longer than that, close any apps you might still have open that you no longer need open.) The accuracy of the dictation is remarkable.
- If there are any errors, you can tap the keyboard icon and correct them. Hopefully you won’t experience that very often, otherwise the benefits of using the app are lost.
- Tap the button in the lower right corner of the screen and you’re presented with five sharing options: SMS, Email, Copy, Facebook and Twitter. (We have asked Nuance to also integrate with Evernote via this menu.)
- The Email option is too slow because you then need to enter in the Recipient and a Subject for the email. Instead, download another iOS app called MeMail and set that up with your assistant’s email address as the email address it sends to. Also turn on the AutoSubject feature in MeMail so that it will automatically include the start of your dictation as the Subject. Not having to enter the Recipient or Subject each time saves a lot of time and makes the process extremely fast and efficient.
- In Dragon Dictate instead of Email, select the Copy option, then switch over to MeMail and paste it in. One more tap, and you’re done.
That’s fast delegation!
Let me know in the Comments below how you go with your voice-to-text dictation and which combination of apps you prefer.