1. The busy noisy road behind me, the noisy barking dog next door and the howling wind are interfering with the dictation!
When this happens, make sure the microphone is as close to your mouth as possible but don't speak too loudly to compensate, as this will end up distorting the sound. If possible stay somewhere sheltered so you are out of the wind, although this isn't always possible when doing a roof inspection!
2. The owners are at home, and I need to dictate that their decor is out of date!
Don't whisper - this just makes the dictation distort. Try to speak quietly but with the microphone closer than usual - this should be easy enough to hear as you are indoors.
3. The dictation keeps skipping to a new file!
Practice makes perfect - try not to press anything other than the record button.
4. The file is getting too long, I'm worried it will be too big to email.
Try and keep the audio files (.dss, .wav etc.) to a max 60 minutes. This should ensure they are within the 10MB allowance that most email providers allow to send/receive.
5. I'm back at the office and I don't want to dictate with everyone listening.
Book out a meeting room - go somewhere private where you don't feel self conscious. Remember, if you whisper it distorts the dictation. You will also be able to concentrate better without any disturbances. Alternatively, use your car on the way back to the office as a quiet space to finish off the report.
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Surveying firms across the UK have been struck down by the recent economic climate as much as the rest of the world and like everyone else, have had to address their spending, productivity and implement cost saving measures. Even big firms have cut back on support staff and those sole trading surveyors who may have previously employed a full time secretary would now look to outsource to save on unnecessary full time wages as well as office rental, because in this virtual day and age, surveyors can set up just as easily from a home office.
The most productive way for a surveyor to operate is to have the freedom to take their digital dictation machine (or even ipad/mobile phone) out with them to a building survey or site inspection and dictate the report then and there, in the knowledge that their typist has the usual template ready to fill out. The surveyor can stick to the format of their standard templates while they dictate (although sometimes this may get dictated in a different order, e.g. if its raining and the interior of the property seems more appealing!) and then once they have finished their site survey, they can return to the office, send off the dictation audio file via email and receive back the completed, typed document within a few hours. This saves wasted time sat in the office dictating the survey but it is also a skill that takes surveyors a while to master - especially when the house is occupied and most of us don't like being overheard commenting on the state of repair of someone else's property!
As long as the dictation is clear and the background noise isn't to prevalent, the dictation would be returned ready to send to the client - the surveyor can simply cast his eye over it and add anything extra he missed in or complete the conclusion /valuation etc.