The Great Dictator

Great dictator 1024.jpg

Spot the likeness?

Actually I’m talking about a skill I’ve developed over the last few years which probably saves my life.

I’m referring to the ability to dictate correspondence. I was out of the office all day yesterday and then had a meeting from 5.00-6.00, followed by a parents’ event at a primary school.

When I rolled into the office today I had over 80 e-mails and letters to respond to and also write a report for the council. In the past this task would have taken me close on 4 hours. However, thanks to the wonders of digital technology, the fact that I can now dictate a letter or e-mail without hesitation, repetition or deviation, and the support of an exceptionally adept and supportive PA in Mary Horsburgh means that I can get through such a task in under an hour. This meant that I was able to get out of the office at 9.15 to visit Preston Lodge for the morning instead of being stuck in my office.

2 thoughts on “The Great Dictator

  1. I always imagine dictating a letter is a bit of a skill in itself- I find it relatively easy to compose a letter on print, but I always seem to stumble when trying to dictate something, and rarely do it; the words seem stilted…any tips? (apart from having a good PA!)

  2. Jim – it is a skill and just like any other it takes time, perseverence and practise. I’d really encourage you to give it a go. I bought my first tape dictation machine about seven years ago and I was hopeless.

    Most of the drafts I got back to check needed serious amendment but not any more. I can now go straight into dictating a letter of a report without notes but in the past I used to sketch it out in linear form, or use a rough mind map to make sure I’d covered all the points.

    Most administrative staff I’ve worked with have welcomed the chance to extend their skills – it’s definitely a partnership.

    If you want to save time – and be able to focus on the most important parts of your job – i.e. improving learning and teaching – then it’s worth giving it a shot.

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