Header image

Intelligent transcription? What’s that all about?

foot pedalIntelligent transcription?

Isn’t it often the case that we become so involved in what we do as business owners that we forget that we have what’s known as the curse of knowledge?

We’re experts in the services we offer or the products we sell, and I think it’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone must automatically know what we’re talking about when we tell them what we do.

For example, I’m a specialist in intelligent transcription – what’s that all about?

The 60 second elevator pitch!

This has become all too clear to me over the last few years as I’ve tried to hone what’s known as the elevator pitch – and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means the spiel you use to introduce yourself at networking meetings. By rights it should last no longer than it takes to ride up in a lift with someone, hence the word, elevator (American term!!). I suppose lift pitch doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!

I tried out a new networking group yesterday and everybody present had to do the usual pitch or spiel. Often in the past I have said something like…

“Hi, I’m Catherine Poole, and I help you add value to your recorded content with intelligent transcription, proofreading and editing”.

It didn’t occur to me that not everybody would even know what transcription was, let alone intelligent transcription!

Get to the point!

I’m actually more used to a slightly shorter 30 second pitch, so 60 seconds gave me the perfect opportunity to expand on what I usually say. I started off by explaining transcription basics, i.e. that it’s the process of turning your recorded words into written words. I then explained the ‘intelligent’ bit, thus:

“Intelligent transcription means that I take out all the ums, ers, hesitations, repetitions and any unnecessary guff that won’t make sense down on paper”.

I think that’s a fairly concise way to describe it!

To cut a long story short, even if you like to talk in a conversational way and don’t like to read from a script when you’re presenting or doing a webinar, for example, I can make absolutely sure that what you say will be ‘book ready’ when it’s down on paper. You are then free to use your content again for something completely new!

Do you think something like this might help you re-purpose YOUR content? I’d love to hear from you – drop me an email or message me on my Facebook page. I’d love to turn your spoken words into lovely intelligent text!

 

Who needs transcription, anyway?

foot pedalWho needs transcription, anyway?

As some of you may know, singing is a bit of a passion of mine, and I regularly sing in a local choral union. I always like having a bit of a chat in the break times with some of the ladies I sit beside, and I was telling one of them last night about how busy I’d been and how I’ve been trying to up my numbers by taking on last minute and urgent jobs. She then asked me a question that struck a bit of a chord with me – who actually needs a transcription service, anyway?

Do you understand the value of what I do?

My initial response was hesitation!

I then had a think about all the different types of content I transcribe on a daily basis.

And after that, I had a think about how I help my clients either use their content again, or have access to what they’ve recorded right there on the page, without having to be constantly fast forwarding or rewinding through a massive audio file.

I don’t think she was convinced, but then again, I don’t suppose she’s my ideal client!

So how can it help you? Here are a few questions for you…

  • Are you recording audio and video content?
  • Are you creating online courses with webinars, videos and mp3 recordings?
  • Do you record interviews as part of your business?
  • Do you do research with focus groups?
  • Do you regularly speak at conferences and events?

Just typing these questions down made me think of quite a few more, but I think five is probably enough to be going on with!

Transcription can help with ALL of these. How?

If you’re recording audio and video content e.g. podcasts, how would you like to use this again for NEW content e.g. blog posts and ebooks? Do you need to put together show notes for your podcast?

Is your course content accessible to everyone? Some people prefer to learn by reading, rather than watching or listening.

Do you need to pull information from your interviews to put together material? Do you need to provide feedback for your interviewee? Are you doing research? How long is it going to take you to get all the information you need out of the recording?

The same is true of focus groups, and it’s likely you’re doing these for research purposes, and just imagine how long it would take to trawl through a 90 minute recording!

If you’re a speaker at events, you could record yourself speaking and use your content again. If you’re organising events, you could record the speakers, and make the content available in recorded and written form for attendees.

That’s just a few ideas for starters – have you got any suggestions?

If this has given you some food for thought, I’d love to hear from you. Please either drop me an email or pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message.

Transcription of content? What do you want to know?

2015-05-05 10.03.31Transcription of content? So…what’s that all about?

I’m not in the business of trying to speak to everyone, I know that. I was at a school reunion the other day and I talked to a few old pals who asked me what I do for a living these days (I have to say, there was a fair bit of one-upmanship going on!). When I told them I was a transcription specialist and that I transcribe content, I got a few blank looks.

I then attempted to go into a bit more detail about business owners creating audio and video content such as podcasts, webinars, online tutorials, Periscopes and so on, and how I can help them re-purpose their content by transcribing it.

I got a few nods and vaguely interested looks from whoever I was speaking to before they went on to talk to someone else about their job as a fund manager (or whatever it was).

Suffice to say they were probably not my target audience!

Questions? Queries? Requests?

I’ve been blogging on a fairly regular basis now for more than a year and a half and I will happily admit that honing my writing skills is still a work in progress!

I also sometimes struggle to think of something new and fresh to write about, rather than re-hashing something I’ve already talked about. I also want to be speaking to the right people and maybe even writing about something that’s actually useful to you!

So this is where you come in!

Frequently asked questions…

For a while now I’ve been thinking about creating a frequently asked questions section for my website, but as is often the way with these things, it has fallen by the wayside and nothing has happened.

What would you like to know?

If you’re a creator of audio and video content and there’s even a teeny tiny possibility that you’ve ever considered getting your content transcribed, what questions would you like to ask first?

I would like to make it my business to be as open and honest as possible, and to be able to answer all your questions as thoroughly as possible. I want to be able to demonstrate just how valuable my service could be to you, and how it could save you a load of time and hassle into the bargain.

It’s easy for me to say that though, isn’t it?!

So my call to action is for you to please, please get in touch, whether that’s via email, my Facebook page or in the comments section below. I would love to hear all about what YOU want to know more about, whether it’s how transcription works, how I share files, what ‘intelligent’ transcription actually means, how the transcripts can be reused or anything else.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Have you got that back to school feeling?

apple and books

Back to school again?

What is it about this time of year that makes us take stock and start making plans for the future?

I don’t know about you, but I always have a certain sense of excitement at this time of year. Okay, I know, it’s still only August, but the schools in Scotland are already back (and no doubt schools elsewhere will be returning in a week’s time), and despite the fact it doesn’t feel like we’ve had much of a summer to speak of, I’ve noticed certain trees are starting to change colour already. I’m very much looking forward to September, which has always been one of my favourite months, the bridge between seasons and the ideal time to start and implement something new.

When is the best time to make plans?

Some would argue that January is a good time to sit down and think about where you’ve been, where you’re going and what you’re planning to do over the next few months. It seems like a natural time because of the turn of the year marking new beginnings and so on, but I don’t see this as the ideal turning point. Okay, so you might be in need of a bodily spring clean following the excesses of Christmas, but otherwise in my opinion it’s winter, it’s dark, it’s dreary and I don’t often feel that inspired!

This time of year, however, is completely different!

If you’ve got kids at school, or even if you haven’t, you might still feel a certain frisson of anticipation about the idea, at least, of going back to school, of starting a new class, having a new teacher and writing out new timetables. Just the idea of a new crisp uniform, a smart new schoolbag and a shiny new pencil case full of lovely new stationery is enough to conjure up memories that may well be a bit skewed by the passage of time!

The point is that the start of a new school year and the change in season always makes me think about starting something new, or in my case, finishing what I’ve started!

You might have read my post a while ago about getting out of my comfort zone and thinking about online courses.

Okay, I admit, this stalled a little bit at the start of the summer holidays.

I’m not going to beat myself up, though!

I’m starting again, and I’ve set myself a deadline of 16th September (my birthday!) to get my beta version up and running. I’m feeling a bit anxious about this again, but I’m going to attempt to push through the fear and Just Do It.

After all, what have I really got to lose?

I’d love to hear about what you’re planning to do now that the school year is beginning again and the seasons are changing. What exciting things have you got in the pipeline? Please do comment below, or pop over to my Facebook page to let me know.

Making excuses? What’s stopping you from blogging?

home-office-336378_1280What excuses are you making today?

I was a bit cross with myself last week – I’ve been blogging reasonably regularly for about a year and a half now and I moved from monthly to fortnightly a few months ago, so I was annoyed that I’d used the school holidays as an excuse not to get my regular post done.

The kids have been off for nearly three weeks already! I remember really struggling to keep things afloat this time last year, but this year I have reached a happy medium where I have been spending a lot of time doing stuff with them, but also spending time getting work done, even if it means a few early starts and late finishes. I feel I missed a trick with regards to not getting something scheduled in advance for my blog, mind you.

Better late than never…

I realise though that I have made a LOT of progress from where I was in the early days and I enjoy the writing process very much even though I’m far from perfect. It’s a relatively straightforward process for me to catch up, even if it is a week later than I anticipated!

But what about you? Is writing something that you struggle with? Are you making a lot of excuses about why you can’t start that blog or carry on with it once you have started? Is the writing process in general something that makes you want to run and hide?

Writing isn’t something that comes easily to everyone. I believe that a lot of people are more comfortable talking about what they do, hence the rising popularity of podcasting, although for me, that would be a huge step out of my comfort zone! I was interviewed for a podcast earlier this year despite really not liking the sound of my voice on recordings, and I’ve also managed to record a number of short videos, but I know I will always feel more comfortable with the written process.

Do you prefer to talk?

Everybody (apart from my mum!) has a handheld recording device these days – a smartphone! If you do feel more comfortable articulating your thoughts verbally, I would suggest recording your thoughts into your phone. You might find it easier either to dictate a blog post word for word, or to express the gist of what it is you want to say verbally. You can then get the results transcribed and edited into either a completed blog post, or a piece of written text that you can then edit yourself, thus taking out the fear and pain of the actual written process. The process of intelligent transcription gets recorded words ‘book ready’, if you like, by taking out the ums and ers, and tidying up the text so it’s ready to go.

So, what’s stopping you from blogging? I’d love to know what you’re struggling with, and if you think intelligent transcription might help you with the writing process, so please comment below and let me know.

Is the weather affecting your mood?

Good day sunshine?

weatherAs I’m writing this it’s the last day in June, and apparently a heatwave has arrived in the UK, having been forecast by all the weather reporters for the last few days. Sunshine and temperatures reaching 30 degrees and more have hit parts of the country – just not in Fife, it would seem!

Yes, it’s certainly warm today, in fact it’s really rather oppressive (thunderstorms later, maybe?!), but the promised sunshine? Nowhere to be seen!

Can the weather or other external things affect your mood?

I was feeling fired up this morning and ready to take action on a number of things, including this blog, my newsletter and even getting some of the content created for my upcoming online course. But I have been self-sabotaging, making excuses, finding other things to do, having to finish a difficult transcription job, plus I spilled a glass of water all over my desk! Fortunately it missed anything electrical, otherwise I might have been making a trip to my local laptop repair shop!

I realised that I had been looking forward to a day of sunshine, and this was really getting me down!

I know some people prefer a grey day because they can just get on with their work and ignore what’s going on outside. For me, though, the sunshine tends to lift my mood (it happens so rarely in Scotland, after all, we have to take it while we can!) and I had decided early on that I would make my day productive before going out to enjoy it later on. But that didn’t seem to happen!

So the point I’m trying to make is that yes, of course the weather can affect our moods, but so can a whole host of other things, and if it seems situations are conspiring against you and little niggly things are happening constantly, perhaps that’s the Law of Attraction in action, whereby the vibes you’re giving out are attracting these things back to you!

So what can you do when it feels like the weather (or something else!) is conspiring against you?

If you feel up to it, flip your attitude to your surroundings the opposite way round. Decide that you’re not going to let it get you down and fire yourself up and look at the situation from a completely different perspective.

If that’s not so easy for you and you find it hard to flip your mood when you’re down, don’t sit on your own and dwell on the fact you’re having a bad day. I had a chat to my coach, and she helped me put my feelings of ‘ugh’ in perspective and suggested I get them down on paper as a blog post. When you work on your own it’s really easy to get bogged down in self-doubt and procrastinate as a result (guilty!), so find an upbeat friend to talk to, whether it’s someone in person or online.

So…what do you do if the weather or something else is affecting your mood and your productivity? I’d love to hear some of your suggestions, so please comment below or drop me a message on my Facebook page.

Do you have the curse of knowledge?!?

KNOWLEDGE 2

Did you see my post a couple of weeks ago about finally getting round to starting an online course?

I had a brilliant response both to my newsletter and the blog post itself, with lots of positive encouragement and good vibes, and you’ll be glad to hear that I’ve stuck to my word and am getting on with creating content, slowly, but surely.

It’s been a big learning curve and it’s continuing to be so, but that’s to be expected with something that’s completely new to me. I also have to keep reminding myself about one important thing that we all possess – the curse of knowledge!

We all have the curse of knowledge…

I’ve been starting to put together content for my course and am testing it on a handful of people and so far I’m getting some very useful feedback which is very helpful. I do have to keep reminding myself that I know what I’m talking about, mind you, as I am often plagued by that inner voice of doubt.

Do you ever get this feeling? You’ve been doing whatever you specialise in for so long that you think, oh well, anybody could turn their hand to this, so why on earth would anyone want to hire me/buy my product/listen to what I have to say (delete as applicable!)?!?

What, you too? I thought I was the only one!

Wikipedia defines the phrase thus:

“The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that leads better-informed parties to find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed parties”.

In layman’s terms this pretty much means that if you’re good at something – whether that be a product, a service or a talent you have like singing or playing a sport, for example – you sometimes forget that other people are not similarly blessed and you assume they know what you know. In business this means that they might actually need your help with whatever it is you’re good at!

Isn’t it so easy to forget about what you’re good at? I always used to assume in a sort of subconscious way that surely everybody could touch type, but of course not everybody can. I also assumed that everybody knew what transcription was, but I’m still sometimes met with a blank stare.

My course

As far as my developing course is concerned, it’s easy to assume that everybody finds it simple and straightforward to put a sentence together, when sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing in the world. Some people feel more comfortable articulating themselves verbally, I feel more comfortable getting the words down on paper.

So, what’s your curse of knowledge? What are you good at and how can you help other people by using your unique talents?

I’d love to know, so please comment below, and I’ll continue to keep you posted on how the course is getting on!

Online courses – getting out of my comfort zone!

Something scary, but useful!

IkeaI’m starting something this week that’s scaring me a bit. I have been challenged by my business coach to get out of my comfort zone and do something I’ve been talking about (and not taking action on) for AGES! I’m in the process of starting to create online courses!

The aim of my first course is to help people become more effective in their business writing, particularly when it comes to social media, newsletters and blog posts, and to help a wee bit with the things that can trip some of us up along the way, such as spelling, punctuation (see image!) and grammar.

At the moment it’s going to be very much in beta mode, and I’ve gathered a small band of willing volunteers who are going to help me hone it into a format that works for everyone, including a snappy title (I hope!).

Is it normal to feel resistance?

I wrote a bit about this in another post a few weeks ago, and I have to admit I have been feeling a large degree of resistance towards the whole thing. I know now that this is completely normal. Although I very much enjoy the different challenges of the day to day workings of my business (and transcription can be a big challenge sometimes!), I felt it was important to do something a bit different, even just to avoid becoming stagnant. It’s easy to get into a bit of a rut when you’re doing the same sort of thing every day, and I didn’t choose to work for myself to feel like that!

Blogging and social media gives every man and his dog the opportunity to be a writer these days, and there’s a huge amount of really useful and well-written content out there, but there’s also a lot that doesn’t grab the attention in the same way. I won’t even begin to pretend that I’m a seasoned blogger or that I have a huge audience (yet!), but I do enjoy the writing process and I enjoy crafting each piece of content as well as creating smaller pieces of writing that go into my social media posts. I know that some business owners find this a struggle, particularly if they’re worried about the grammar police coming down on them like a ton of bricks!

I have been procrastinating over this for weeks now, but with only four weeks until the Fife schools break up for the long summer holidays, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and just get on with it.

I’m really nervous about how it’s going to turn out, but really, what’s the worst that can happen?

Have you thought about doing an online course, or have you done one, or even a few? I’d love to hear how you got started, so please leave a comment or drop me an email. I will keep you posted as to my progress!

 

 

Are you scared of using the phone?

phone boxes (640x480)

A bit of nostalgia first…

Does anybody still use the traditional red phone box? I’m old enough to remember a time when, as a Brownie, we had to have 2p in our pocket along with a clean hanky, a bandage and a piece of string (?). Yes, there was a time when you could make a call for 2p! I can also remember when you would go and meet a friend up the town on a Saturday, and if they didn’t show up, you would debate whether you might miss them if you headed off to the nearest phone box to see if they’d already left.

It’s hard to imagine how we managed before mobile phones, but we didn’t know any better, I suppose!

Phone phobia!

Returning to the 21st century, what’s your favourite method of communicating with your clients?

Telephone, email, Skype or perhaps ping pong Facebook message?

I use nearly all of the above, but almost without exception I will avoid the first one – the telephone!

Faceless communication

I think this has a lot to do with not being able to see the person I’m speaking to.  Although I won’t make a song and dance about being an intravert (I don’t like to label myself too much!), I do get anxious when I’m confronted with a lot of noisy people in a room (give me a smaller number of people I know well, and I can be the life and soul of the party!), and if a number comes up on my phone that I don’t know, I immediately have a physical reaction (think butterflies in the stomach) and I will ignore it.

Before you ask (and as you’re on my website you’ll know already), yes, I do have phone numbers for my business, but I think I must be sending out a ‘don’t call me’ vibe, as nine times out of ten, any business enquiries I get come via email or Facebook, and I can reply to these in a timely manner but also think about how I’m going to respond.

There’s also the issue of being completely focused on what you’re doing, only to be interrupted by the phone ringing and breaking your concentration, and for this reason alone I tend to keep my phone on silent all the time. I don’t think constantly stopping to answer your phone is a very productive way of working, and if you are worried about missing calls, especially if you receive a lot, there are plenty of good call answering services out there.

I do think, however, that as there are so many different methods of communication these days and if you’re not comfortable using the phone, you shouldn’t feel you have to make yourself do it just because you think everyone else is. For example, I am more than happy to schedule Skype calls, the difference being that you can actually see the person you’re speaking to and get the same benefit as if you were meeting in person.

What do you think? I know I can’t be the only one who really doesn’t like using the phone, so let me know if you’re a fellow phone hater!

Making a change – introducing learning tools

April is a funny time of year, one where it seems to be true to say that you really do experience four seasons in one day. Last week we were enjoying 20 degree temperatures (yes, even in Scotland!), and yesterday I rushed through a stinging hailstorm which was closely followed by a blizzard.

The variability in the spring weather patterns has got me thinking about the changes business owners must make on a reasonably regular business in order to keep things moving along and stop things going stagnant.

Change is good!

I know, I know, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day routine of business when you have a few regular clients, a fairly consistent amount of work and you know what you’re doing with whatever product or service you’re offering.

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, however, you have to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to grow and develop your business. This is what I’m planning in doing in the not too distant future, and I would love to have your feedback on my idea, and if you think it’s something that’s going to work.

Up until now, my business has been purely service-based. In the main I provide transcription services to my clients, along with a bit of proofreading and editing (which, I’m sure you’ll agree, comes with the territory). However, this is very much a time-based business model, and it’s always been my intention to look into ways of creating passive income (I’m not even sure I really like that phrase!) by creating courses or learning tools of some sort.

Here’s the scary bit…

Okay, so I recently made myself accountable both to my coach and to my mastermind group that I would map out a potential course for people who are a bit scared when it comes to writing for their businesses. This could be in terms of blog writing like this, or even just best practice when it comes to contacting clients or posting on social media.

So this is where you come in!

What puts you off writing for business?

Is this you? What are you afraid of when you’re writing for your business?

Do you feel anxious about getting your spelling, grammar and punctuation wrong? Are you worried about your sentence structure? Are you unsure of the proper way to address somebody in a letter? What about different styles to use in different types of writing or correspondence?

Is the whole writing process just not something you feel comfortable with at all and you feel more comfortable articulating yourself verbally than getting your words down on paper?

This is a bit of a scary thing, and because it’s so new for me I can still feel a certain amount of resistance towards it, but by writing it down here, I’m making myself doubly accountable. I would welcome your comments, so please watch this space!

So….how do you make changes in your business? I would love to know!