Technology gadgets that save time

by technologyandgadgets

Digital recorders are a godsend to busy and creative people in the office, freeing up countless hours of their time, and are a key factor in improving overall efficiency in the business world today.

For example, Jennifer is a senior account executive and project manager who works for a high powered fundraising firm in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

This firm serves high government officials and political and/or religious celebrities and their foundations and political causes, including for a recent project of rebuilding and refurbishing George Washington’s Mt. Vernon.

Jennifer sets up meetings that shake out creative goals and ideas, and then sees these are transferred into a coherent plan of action.

She does this without the help of an administrative assistant, doing much of her work from home, working part-time 25 hours a week, and while caring for two preschoolers. She relies on high tech gadgets such as her iPhone and digital recorder to make it happen.

Jennifer is actually working with “older” technology, having purchased an Olympus DMI digital recorder for around $100 five years ago, and the newer recorders do an even better job, (a Samson Zoom H2, for example, will produce broadcast quality recordings).

She bought an extra memory card for it and picked up an extra microphone at Radio Shack, and uses the little gadget mightily to handle her many responsibilities smoothly and efficiently.

She pulls her 4 ounce digital recorder and mic from her purse to place in the middle of the conference table to record initial meetings with clients and, later, team meetings with videographers and creative planners (usually 12 people seated around a conference table), and then emails the audio files to her trusted transcriptionist (that’s me!) for fast turnaround.

The fundraising details hammered out in the meetings are prioritized and organized for completion in a transcript which is then e-mailed to all parties concerned.

So nothing gets overlooked or misunderstood, as a myriad of highly creative and intricate sub goals are meshed into an overall plan of completion, without Jennifer having to spend much time on the phone in follow-up calls because the details hammered out in the meeting are all in the transcript.

There is no confusion or doubt on details or deadlines, and each team member is clear on his part in putting together the big picture.

Client vision and mission specifications are also captured in the initial meetings, agreements clearly recorded.

Good communication is the key to avoiding misunderstandings, as they say, and avoiding misunderstandings is the way to get things done right and get them done fast.

Jennifer’s boss gets compliments from happy clients for the way she keeps things running smoothly while interacting in a relaxed and friendly way with clients and team members, down to seeing perfect food and drinks are provided during the happy meetings she organizes.

As her regular outsourced transcriptionist, I’m familiar with Jennifer’s meetings, know the voices to ID speakers, and can accurately capture and condense what is important, skipping the pleasantries.

Other times, when transcripts of videos are needed for editing, I switch gears and give an absolutely verbatim transcript.

Jennifer took some pains to find me. She wanted somebody easily accessible to work with one-on-one, and I am, indeed, the one who always answers the phone, I’m available 24/7, and I turn the transcripts around within hours of receiving them, so I give her the service she needs and wants.

On my end, I have to say that in the 30 years of making my living in the reporting/transcription business, I have found digital recorders to be a dream come true.

No more delayed audio-tape deliveries cutting into deadlines, no more hissy, muffled tapes. Rather, clients transfer their audio files to my desk-top computer in an instant-crisp, clear audio files that are a pleasure to transcribe and can be turned around in close to real-time, especially meetings where I can skip the pleasantries and cut to the chase.

Before the digital revolution, recording meetings required setting up several mics, a mixer, and settling for inferior recordings on hissy tapes that broke or ran out or did not get flipped in time.

And of course since the recordings were not digital, in-house (expensive) transcriptionists were required, or delivery of tapes by courier or snail mail to off-source transcription, meaning slower turnaround time and added expense.

But today, this little digital recorder gadget will allow any office to get more done in less time and for less money. Digital recorders are just about the handiest tool in the arsenal of high tech advances for improving office efficiency, right up there with the telephone and fax machines.

The price has come down so much for these gadgets that there is no longer any reason for any office not to have a digital recorder (or two or three).

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