By Ellen DePasquale, Contributing Writer
When you are preparing to testify in court, no amount of information is too much information. Presenting expertise combined with facts and figures is what Stephen D. Kirkland, CPA, CMC, CFM, CFF, does for a living. After 15 years of success in the courtroom Kirkland understands how important his time is while gathering and managing detailed information.
As a compensation consultant at Atlantic Executive Consulting Group, LLC, Kirkland bills clients by the hour, so he does his best to manage his time effectively. When a colleague recently showed him Dragon Naturally Speaking, he knew it would be a great tool for him as well. He immediately purchased it. (Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium Edition $199.99, headset included.)
Kirkland spends a great deal of time interviewing people. During those conversations he takes lots of notes, with the intentions of typing them into the computer once the phone call is finished. However, as with most of us, there are many distractions during the course of the day, and when he finally gets to transcribe his notes, they are not always as legible as he wants them to be.
By using Dragon Naturally Speaking, “I can quickly dictate my notes as soon as I am finished with the call while it is still fresh in my mind,” says Kirkland. Not only are the notes accurate, they are completed in much less time than it would have taken him to type them.
The ability to speak his notes lead to him create additional communicates through his headset. “It encouraged me to communicate with people in writing,” Kirkland explains. “If I talk with the client there is an exchange and an agreement. But there is a tendency to forget things. Using Dragon Naturally Speaking I dictate a letter or email to them and it makes it easier to stay in touch and confirm what we discussed.”
His communications are now quick and easy, and greater in number, improving his client relationships and keeping them informed. The best part is that the increase in service has not caused an increase in the time he is spending on the client, as he can speak much faster than he can type.
Improved Verbal Skills
An interesting side-effect of the adoption of Dragon Naturally Speaking is that “it has taught me how pronounce my words more clearly,” says a surprised Kirkland. During the training process, the software requires you to read several passages that come with the package. This is just the beginning, as the more you speak to the software, the more it learns. “Sometimes I drop off the last word in my sentences so it will not hear me,” Kirkland continued. “In one way I am training it and it is training me to pronounce my words more clearly.” This has been a definite benefit to Kirkland since he gets paid to speak in court.
Return on Investment
“I estimate my usage of Dragon Naturally Speaking has improved my efficiency by 25 percent (25%),” declares Kirkland, “especially when I have all the information in my head, such as emails, and they flow very quickly.” The percentage improvement is less during the preparation of his final reports, which can be 50-100 pages long, as the process includes having to stop periodically to reference research and double-check numbers.
For anyone who makes their living creating documents of any kind, such as reports, letters, emails, blog posts, agreements, etc., Kirkland says it won’t take long for the software to pay for itself. However, he does have a tip for dictating emails, “don’t fill in the addressee before you write the message. If you have the word ‘send’ in the body of the email it actually sends the email!”