Why Stanford Believes Audio Transcription Is the Future

I’ve just refreshed one of the most popular training modules on The Leveraged Advice Firm program – Hands Free Method – and I wanted to share some new research I found that demonstrates how far dictation and transcription tools have come.

It comes from a piece of research done in Stanford about a year ago, looking at the evolution of voice-to-text dictation tools.

For those of you who have already come around to the power dictation over typing, this will further reinforce what you already know.

For those of you who may have dabbled with dictation in the past – maybe Dragon Dictation or similar – but for whatever reason discovered that dictation wasn’t a method you could get on board with, this may be the trigger for realising now could be the time for giving it another go.

For me, the research made two very important conclusions.

The first finding was simply that across-the-board using dictation tools into typing was found to be three times faster.

What was most interesting about this is this was even after taking into account time to make any necessary corrections.

I know when I started using dictation – and in particular AI-driven dictation tools (where the computer did the transcription rather than a human) – the error rate was a major frustration, particularly when you have an accent like mine that is a blend of (at least) two different dialects.

This to me is a measure of how far we have come. Quite literally, I am dictating this now directly into a note-taking application within my web browser, and the volume of corrections I need to make nowadays is less than I used to be by a factor of ten or more.

In short, the quality of the tools has increased exponentially.

Which speaks to the second point.

Not only has the quality of the output increased, but the usability of the tools themselves has improved dramatically.

And this is why it’s key for many of you.

You may have looked at the tools in the past, and concluded that they just weren’t going to allow you to work the way you wanted to.

Perhaps the only tools available to you were desktop tools, or you needed a desktop tool but all you had was a smartphone app.

Maybe you needed to be able to input data straight into the fields in your financial planning software, but all you got was a tool that required you to cut and paste.

Which means that not only are the tools now viable options for File Noting (where I initial found this methodology provided the most beneficial results), but now there are tools that are just as useful to everything from blogging, documenting processes, sending personalised client messages, and a host of other uses that not just more efficient, but in most cases deliver a better team, business, and client experience as well.

Which brings me to the most startling finding from the Stanford study.

The research found that due to recent improvements in all of these areas, it was their prediction that voice-to-text tools would become the dominant methodology for interacting with digital devices moving forward.

Let about sink in for a moment:  the era of the keyboard will draw to an end sooner rather than later.

Assuming you can see how that might happen, and you’re open to revisiting or refining your approach, the reasonable next question to ask is how can you get this right?

It’s a little bit more than just picking the right tool, which is why I wanted to share a bit about the two other elements to this equation that make it easy to adopt this as your way of doing business.

My first learning is simply to recognise that it’s usually difficult (I’d even say vastly suboptimal) to find the one tool for everything.

When I talked about this in the training, I shared the fact that we use three different dictation tools in our business, each with a different function:

  • One for creating file notes, blog drafts, and other “monologue” style outputs
  • A different tool for doing voice-to-text into web applications (for example; dictating client information directly into a CRM)
  • A completely different tool for recording audio messages to be shared with clients and also between team members

And that’s even before we take into account the tools we use for recording video, screen recordings and other such talking headpieces, and then having them (automatically) transcribed and captioned.

The second key element is one that hasn’t changed:  you need structure to what you’re producing.

If you don’t have a consistent way of producing your file notes, where the structure the information is standardised, you’re more likely to produce output akin to a “brain fart on-a-page”.  Not good.

Not only does it make it harder to utilise the output, it opens you up to missing out key elements that need to be included and often has your team scrambling to try and work out how to extract information.

You also need a degree of automation in the background.

It’s no good having an application that requires you to manually email, upload or otherwise transfer the output on your phone or desktop to a place where the team can grab it and utilise it. You need all this to happen automatically in the background, via an automatic sync function, so that as soon as you finish producing the output, your team can get it and use it. in other words, a system that actively ensures that sharing doesn’t become another bottleneck-in-waiting.

Finally, you need a process that defines the “what now?”

This is probably the least sexy part of all this, but possibly the most important.

Without a process in the background that outlines what your team should do with your output – regardless of whether it’s a blog, file note, process any of the other uses that this will enable – this won’t work. It’ll still rely on you.

It’s all part of ensuring that once you’ve done your job, there is nothing stopping your team from picking up the slack and doing what they need to get done.

That’s the key as to why this can produce such massive efficiency gains for such an otherwise simple business efficiency strategy.

Hands-Free Method is one of two modules that, minute-for-minute are the most powerful in The Leveraged Advice Firm program (the other being the First Contact Call protocol, which is powerful for very different reasons).

It’s 1 but I am very passionate about promoting and have converted many resistant business owners to utilising dictation and voice-to-text over the years, with truly transformational results.

The evolution of the technology over these past years has only made this even more powerful, and even more viable for more businesses out there.

If you are all over this, then I’d love to hear how you’re using it, what’s working for you and your process behind it. For me, this will continue to be an evolving opportunity and I will continue to want to learn about new tools and new ways of making this better, simply because of how it can turbo-charge certain business processes.

If you looked at it in the past but put it to one side, maybe now is the time to look at again.

If you’ve tried to make it work, but not quite mastered it, and you’d like to understand some of what may be the missing pieces, just email me back and I’ll happily share what I’ve learnt.

It’s the thing that enables me to get things done in a fraction of the time, respond to my team faster and remove myself from key business processes as a potential bottleneck, and deliver better, faster and more personalised engagement with clients via messaging.

Here’s hoping it will do the same for you.

Related: The Red Carpet Client Exit