The use of analogue (cassette tape) recorders is somewhat outdated but are still used in many professional industries. But as we have moved forward into a digital age there is a call for more companies to embrace digital dictation and here are some of the reasons why.
Analogue devices are highly insecure, after all anyone can playback the recording and listen to your patient or client data.
This is where the difference lies between the analogue and digital world. As digital devices have ways of securing voice files, they are compliant with data protection laws and can be locked via a secure PIN, not to mention that the data can be encrypted.
If a cassette is lost, the data is lost forever. With digital recordings, they can be stored in your computer or in the cloud giving you access to the sound files whenever you need them. Even if something catastrophic happened you could still get the files back, unlike its analogue counterpart.
As with any voice recording, other factors need to be taken into account. A recording in a loud coffee shop is going to be harder to pick out the speakers than one in a quiet room. However digital dictation wins hands down as it can sound very crisp and clear every time the file is played. Whereas tapes stretch over time, the more the tape is played the more of a risk of damage which can make the sound quality poor or distorted.
With analogue dictation the tape itself must be stored, creating storage space issues not to mention an increased risk of tapes becoming lost, damaged or mislabeled.
Digital files can be stored easily and securely on a hard drive or in the cloud making archiving and retrieval simple and cost-effective.
It is only a matter of time before analogue dictation goes the way of the VHS which stopped being manufactured in 2016 because of a decline in sales. Our advice to any customers is to start moving across to digital devices as soon as possible to future proof yourself.
Creating a captivating PowerPoint presentation can be a real challenge, I am sure we have all been to a presentation or meeting where the speakers reads everything from the slides and you and everyone else is bored to tears. But how do you put the Pow into PowerPoint?
- Keep It Simple – Try and avoid using bright colours on your slides and don’t get to tempted to go all out on the animation as this will only distract your audience from what you are trying to say. focus instead on the basics:
- Use an easy to read font for body text such as: Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri.
- Avoid decorative fonts, such as calligraphy. If you have to use them reserve them only for slide headers.
- Put dark text on a light background, this is easiest to read.
- Align text left or right. Centred text is harder to read.
- Don’t put too much on a page, keep it minimal.
- One Thing At A Time – Your audience is most likely to read everything that is displayed on screen, so to keep them at your pace pop each point up one at a time. Your job as presenter is to control the flow of information so that you and your audience stay in sync.
- Ask Questions –Try and add these in around your slides as it will engage your audience and ensures that people do not forget to ask at the end, when you have all moved on.
- Follow The 10-20-30 Rule – It is said that a presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This is good advice as our attention span for focussing on one thing has been proven by academics to be 20minutes.
- Summarise – Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them again.Summarising your presentation at the beginning lets your audience know what to expect. Try an summarise it in 10-15 words, think of your ‘elevator pitch’ if you can’t then it’s probably too long or too vague. Then conclude by telling them what they have learnt.
Follow these simple tips and we guarantee that you will start creating fantastic thought provoking presentations and if you are still struggling then remember that we offer this as a service for more information please email: email@example.com
Proof Reading Tips by Fingertips Typing Services
There’s no foolproof formula for perfect proofreading every time. But these six tips should help you spot errors before anybody else does.
What do proofreaders do?
A proofreader is a person who spots the details and checks for any errors (typos, spellings, punctuation) before the document goes to print or online.
What skills do you need to be a proofreader?
- Concentration – Get rid of distractions and potential interruptions. Switch off your phone, turn off the television or radio and stay away from the email.
- Put It On Paper – You read differently on screen and on paper, so print out a copy.
- Read Aloud – If you read aloud, your ear might catch grammatical errors that your eye may have missed.
- Watch Out for Homonyms – These are words that share the same spelling or pronunciation, but have different meanings. For example; mixing up accept with except or complement with compliment.
- Watch Out for Apostrophes and Contractions – People often mix their and they’re, its and it’s, your and you’re and so on. Also, remember that the apostrophe is never used to form plurals.
- Read It Backwards – People often become word blind, especially if you have been working on something for a while as the brain automatically “corrects” wrong words inside sentences. In order to break this pattern you can read the text backwards, word by word.
Here at Fingertips Typing we offer a proofreading service, for more information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mailshots are a great way to communicate and engage with your existing and prospect customers and can be an effective way to promote your business. However getting it right can be tricky as it is important to get the right tone of voice and come up with a message that will appeal to your target audience.
Here at Fingertips Typing we have a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable marketing professionals who know a great deal about Mailshots both email and postal. They have put together a checklist of what to do to ensure your campaigns are successful.
- Know your objective – It is extremely important to clarify the objective of the email or mailshot. What are your goals? Are you collecting leads, driving traffic to your website, making direct sales or providing information?
- Know your target audience – Are you communicating with new or existing customers? what do they already know about your business and products, what are their needs, and what objections might they have?
- Segmentation – It maybe appropriate to segment your customer base if you have identified different groups of customers. A segmented and targeted approach, whilst time consuming is more likely to boost your results and maximise return on investment.
- Personalisation – It may sound simple but by using the customers name in the communication or their businesses name can really help reach out to your customers, but it is important to check that your database is accurate and up to date, I am sure we have all received at some point a letter or email with the wrong name in it!
- Data cleanse – Before you hit send make sure that your mail list data is accurate and up to date. This will ensure you are communicating with the correct people.
- Grab their attention – Produce a headline and an opening sentence which will encourage the reader to read on.
- Back up your claims – If you have a fantastic offer for your product or service then quash those objections immediately by providing facts to back up your claims. Even better include a case study link or customer testimonial, nothing says more than a customer that things your product or service is fantastic!
- Keep it short and sharp – Remember to use short sentences as people tend to skim read and keep everything clear, simple and to the point.
- Call to action – Know what you want your readers to do next and make it easy.
- Proof read – Remember to proof read your mail shot, check spelling and grammar and test out any links that you may have on there (if it’s an email campaign). Get some colleagues to check too as you may become word blind if you have been working on the content for a while.
If you feel that you need help with your mailshot campaigns or would like to do one but haven’t got the time, then we can help. Contact our team at: email@example.com
On 4th October 2017 Google announced the launch of its new translation tech headphones, Pixel Buds, which it claims can simultaneously translate spoken language into the ear of the listener. There is much hype around this new technology.
Technology which reminds me of the Babel fish from Douglas Adams book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which excreted simultaneous translations directly into its host’s ear canal.
According to Google, the Pixel Buds can translate 40 languages using Google’s existing Google Translate technology.
But could this technology be more dangerous than useful, after all how can technology understand context, syntax, grammar, not to mention accents and dialects. Language is complex; there can be multiple ways of saying the same thing in another language, making the potential for mistakes, huge.
Have Google thought about this?
Googles Pixel buds use Googles translation software which is already available to use online and does not therefore take into account any of the above. So in order to prevent insulting a potential customer by translating any advertising or copy into a foreign language, I would still highly recommend using a real person who has good knowledge of the language to translate for you.
Even people that should know better get it wrong, take the team behind Donald Trump last year who at the Republican National Convention, attempted to combat the impression that he did not have a high approval rate amongst US Hispanics by having members of the crowd hold up signs that read “Hispanics for Trump.” In Spanish.
The campaign team utterly botched the translation. Out of the three words on the signs, the only world they got right was “Trump.” “Hispanics” should have been translated to Hispanos. And while “para” could be translated as “for,” it’s used in a different context. The sign should have said “por.” Going to prove that you can’ always rely on technology to get it right!
We all know that typing speed matters, but being able to type quickly and accurately is a very rare skill and could be what makes you stand out between you and another equally qualified applicant.
The average typing speed is 60 words per minute, but how can you improve upon that and stay accurate?
Here are our five techniques that we know will help you increase your typing speed and beat the competition to secure that dream job.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat– Touch typing is all about memory,training your brain to know where those keys are without having to consciously think about it. As with learning any new skill the best and quickest way to do this is through repetition. Start by doing the same exercise over and over so that your memory learns the movements and the keys.
- Technique matters – The fact is touch typing is 80% technique, 10% accuracy and 10% speed. It is important to ensure that you are sat in the correct position and your hands are in the right place.
- Strike a pose – Good posture can work wonders and is often overlooked. Poor posture can make you feel uncomfortable, affect your energy levels and improve accuracy. It is so important to allow your fingers to rest in the correct position as this will ensure that you type faster, more accurately and will help prevent injury.
- Don’t look at the keyboard – It might sound crazy but it honestly works, try typing and avoid looking at the keyboard. Initially, you may make more mistakes, but you will learn the positions of the keys much more quickly, which in the long term will improve your typing speed.
- Test yourself – There are lots of different typing speed testing software out there, so find one that you like and test yourself regularly to see how your are improving
Practice Makes Perfect
The old saying really is true, as with anything the only way to perfect something is to keep at it. Even if you practice typing for 30 minutes each day you will see an improvement in your speed and accuracy, which will make all the difference in standing out from the competition and landing your dream job.
As with any career, not only do you need to be skilled in your profession you also need to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. After all you wouldn’t be a mechanic without having your own set of tools to be able to fix a car.
So we have broken down the tools that a transcriber needs to do their job into two categories: Need to have and Nice to have.
Need to have:
- A keyboard
- A quiet space to work in, ideally an office or room where you are free from distractions
- Word processing software
- Good internet connection
- Transcription software
Nice to have:
- Noise-cancelling headphones, though not essential these can be costly which is why they are in the nice to have category
- A transcription pedal, this will help you navigate through audio files with your feet. However if you just starting out in this career it would be better to invest in it later once you have ensured it is the career for you
- Time tracking software, this will ensure accuracy of how long you spend on each audio file
How to select the right headphones?
Your headphones are probably one of the most important tools you will need, so it is important to select the right ones. If you have the budget for it then we would highly recommend noise cancelling ones as it will make a big difference.
- Comfort – As you will be wearing them for most of your working day, comfort is your number one priority
- Noise cancelling quality – Can you hear lots of noise from the rest of your environment, would the noise prevent or distract you from transcribing?
- USB Plug
Remember, it is extremely important to have all the tools in place before you embark on you transcription career, after all you wouldn’t build a house without brick, concrete, sand, cement and all the tools that go with building.
It is that time of year again, when the shops are fully of sparkly new stationery items, the TV is full of adverts for school uniforms and back to school essentials. So, it seemed fitting to do a blog post on the Transcriber Essentials.
Here are our top five essential skills you need to be a good Transcriber:
- Good use of English language – having good use and understanding of English grammar and punctuation is essential to being a successful and good transcriber.
- Keen listening skills – This will ensure that you get the words and context right, after all, not all recordings are of good quality, speakers accents may change or be hard to understand.
- Know how to research – Whilst transcribing you may encounter words that you may never have heard of. This is especially true if you are dealing with a new area of transcription such as medical or legal. You may need to do extra research to understand the subject or to clear up any audio that might not have been clear initially.
- Typing speed – Now speed is not always everything, especially if some of the audio files are on complicated subjects, however the ability to type quickly is advantageous because you could be listening to very lengthy files, or have short deadlines that need to be met in turning around files for your clients.
- Excellent proofreading skills – Once you have transcribed the audio file, it is extremely important that you read back and proof what you have typed to ensure everything makes sense and that the tone and context are conveyed accurately.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of essentials but, the tip of the iceberg really.
If you are interested in becoming a transcriber or would like to benefit from our services then please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You might think that working from home would be easy, especially if you are doing it to give yourself a better work life balance or to fit around your family. But, it is harder than it looks, it takes a great deal of determination and organisation to not slip into bad habits and ensure that you are as effective as possible.
Before you take the plunge, have a look at our 9 tips to getting the most out of working from home.
- Have a dedicated office – This is number one for a reason, it is incredibly important to have your own workspace as separating your ‘work life’ from your home life will ensure that you are most productive.
- Use your commuting time wisely – If you used to commute an hour each way to work everyday, then it means you have a whole extra two hours a day to use. While it can be tempting to stay in bed for those extra two hours, it would be better and more productive to put them to good use. For example go for a 60 minute run in the morning, to get your body and mind active, then spend another 30 mins clearing down emails or planning your day and repeat at the end of the day.
- Don’t be the baby sitter or the cleaner – It is so important to try and disconnect yourself from home-life during your working hours. Doing non-work-related tasks will reduce your productivity. So when your partners calls to say can you pop the washing on, the answer should be no.
- Breaks are important – Just like in an office taking a break from your work and your desk is extremely important, not only to reduce the amount of screen time you have, but a change of scene can also help you be more productive. It could help you solve that difficult question you have been trying to answer or come up with that cool strap line.
- Keep in the loop – Keeping in touch with your colleagues is extremely important, not only to share ideas and discuss problems but to ensure loneliness doesn’t set in.
- Stick to a routine – Structuring your day will ensure that you are motivated and productive. It will also help your colleagues and customers know when you are contactable.
- Schedule email time – It has been well documented that you are more productive when you are not continually checking your emails. So, schedule the times that you look at and answer emails, allowing you to focus on your key tasks and not get distracted.
- Get dressed – It might be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day, but trust me, don’t. Getting dressed shows the work life you that you mean business and will ensure that you are motivated.
- Get out of the house – This is extremely important, because working from home can be a little isolating. Going for a walk or nipping down to the local shop to buy a paper will give you some fresh air and human interaction. Not to mention much needed vitamin D, which you can only get from sunlight. You don’t want to become a vampire!
These tips are tried and tested by us, we know they work but they do take some getting used to. If you have never worked from home before then using these tips as a guideline for a month will help you get your work life balance right.
It is important to remember though that working from home is not for everyone, if you are finding it hard to be motivated or are getting too distracted then maybe it isn’t for you.
Writing good copy isn’t as simple as just putting pen to paper, otherwise everyone would be a fantastic copywriter.
Good copywriting can be hard to come by and takes an exceptional amount of skill and knowledge to learn.
At Fingertips we have a brilliant team of copywriters who produce great work, I asked them to tell me their list of what to do and what not to do when it comes to copywriting and this is what they came up with.
- Know Your Audience – You must know your audience so that you can talk directly to them, in their language and their voice. Never make assumptions that you know the audience ensure you do your research.
- Have a Clear Call to Action – While you are writing it is important to remember why you are doing it. Call to action is extremely important, what do you want your audience to do.If your call to action is not clear and noticeable, no one is going to do anything.
- Write for scanners – Writing for people online is different for writing for someone who is reading a book. Copy online is read vertically, not horizontally. Selecting the correct fonts, using headers, bold, italics, will create a trail for the eye to follow.
- Keep an eye on what your clients competitors are doing – If you have a new client,then before you even start writing, check out what their competitors are doing. After all you want to make sure that any ideas you come up with are unique.
- Remember proposition is everything – Differentiate your clients business, by making sure you create a distinctive brand and voice.
- Don’t forget to make a plan – Regardless of what you are writing it is important to make a plan. This will allow you to harness your ideas, highlight benefits and ensure that your copy is not jumping around all over the place.
- Don’t write for everyone – Not everyone is going to get you, it is a myth that having lots of likes on your Facebook page means you are successful. The best and most successful businesses write for a small subset of your entire audience, making it much more personal.
- Don’t create long sentences – This can be hard especially if you have something complicated to say. But long sentences will put off your readers. Ideally you should aim for no more than 10-15 words in a line.
- Don’t forget to spell check – A simple rule, I know, but you will be amazed as to how many people forget it. Spelling and grammatical errors make your work look lazy and unprofessional. So spend the few minutes it takes to run the spell checker!
- Don’t forget to proofread – Not only should you cast your eye over your text before submitting it, it is well worth getting someone else to have a look too, because sometimes you can be too close to the subject.
So all you need to do now is follow this list of dos and don’ts and you should notice that your copy improves and is more effective. Effective Copywriting is a skill that can be learned, but if you do not have time or do not want to write your copy, we can help you.
Fingertips Typing Services have a team of talented copywriters on hand to help create fantastic pieces of work, from adverts to brochures and websites. Contact us: email@example.com