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Top tips for delivering perfect dictation

Nov 17, 2017

Top tips for delivering perfect dictation

DictateNow co-founder Maxine Park guides readers and subscribers of Practice Management magazine through how to deliver the perfect dictation.

The leading and longest standing magazine title in the UK read by practice managers in the primary care market, Practice Management provides news, expertise and debate on topics which are helping to develop and revolutionise service provision.

Maxine’s article provides insight on the type of technology you should be using to achieve the perfect dictation, how to best prepare your recording, factors which can influence the end result and the steps you should take before, during and after to ensure you receive a more accurate transcription.

For subscribers of the magazine, you will find Maxine’s article in the September issue.

This is what Maxine had to advise:

Tips for delivering perfect dictation

Delivering the perfect dictation, when you have patients waiting, can be hard, but allowing a few extra seconds of planning and following a few guidelines will ensure the transcription you receive is more accurate; which will save time and money.


Whether you choose a dedicated dictation machine or a Smartphone/Tablet, with the latest dictation app, the first rule is don’t hold it too close. Microphones vary from device to device, but generally hold the microphone about six inches (15cm) from your mouth to prevent words becoming muffled - too close and there’s a danger your breathing will distort your words.

Technology now allows anyone to dictate anywhere, anytime, with any device, helping improve productivity and efficiency, but dictating out of the office poses different problems for the transcriber. Background noise is the biggest challenge to a clear dictation.

It’s important to have your notes to hand, but you should avoid shuffling papers and tapping at your keyboard whilst dictating. Although microphones will often pick up background noise, you can experiment with the sensitivity settings to reduce the distance at which the microphone will pick up sounds and ensure your voice remains the focus of the recording.


When preparing to dictate, you should know what you want to say, with notes if necessary, be relaxed when you say it and in an environment that allows you to focus on the job. Perhaps the most obvious, yet most important point to remember, is the need to speak slowly and as clearly as possible; the better your diction, the better the dictation.

If you use outsourced transcription service providers, they will typically charge by the length of the dictation, not the time to transcribe it, so it might be tempting to speak quickly, but it’s better to be more precise and avoid too many ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, or the need to backtrack and re-record sections.

Practice makes perfect

When starting your dictation, pause slightly after you press record and again before you stop recording to prevent the first and last words from being clipped. Practice makes perfect and you will soon appreciate how quickly your machine or app begins recording after you hit start. It’s a good habit to identify yourself at the beginning of your dictation and if applicable, ensure you identify which template should be used for the transcription. If you are utilising outsourced transcription service providers, they will usually have typists spread throughout the country, not only to help increase confidentiality for dealing with matters that are locally sensitive, but to be able to match any dictator’s strong regional accent with the most appropriate typist.

And finally, remember to say ‘end of dictation’ when you have finished, so the typist knows there is nothing missing. Follow these simple rules and you will receive more accurate transcriptions that save you time amending, formatting and correcting the returned work.

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