Dictation is an oral communication between two persons (usually an executive and a secretary). The executive speaks (dictates) a message to the secretary, who transcribes the spoken words into a written message that is to be sent to addressees.
The person who can dictate messages clearly and quickly saves time and money for the employer, and who indirectly help build company goodwill.
On the other hand, poor dictating habits result in confusions, errors, costly damages, loss of company goodwill, and damages the executive’s status.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER DICTATION:
Following are the suggestions for improving dictating habits:
Preparation before Dictation:
Preparation before dictation requires the executive to –
i. Know the purpose.
ii. Visualize the reader.
iii. Consider the secretary.
iv. Collect all facts needed for the contents of the message.
v. Prepare an outline, with main points on paper or in mind.
Good Dictating Techniques:
Good dictating techniques include the following:
i. Dictating in a language that possesses all the C’ qualities.
ii. Dictating from the outline (prepared in advance).
iii. Clear pronouncing.
iv. Clarifying the confusing words and figures e.g. “E” may be clarified by saying “E for elephant” and “Sixty” by “six zero”.
v. Spelling the unusual and confusing words and names.
vi. Giving instructions for number of copies, reference, subject, ordinary or registered mail, etc.
vii. Dictating punctuation.
viii. Maintaining acceptable speed.
ix. Avoiding environmental disturbance.
x. Providing written material when there are tables of numerous figures.
xi. Setting a time free from interruptions by telephone or callers.
xii. Developing and using simple abbreviations and code words, e.g. “SRM” for “send by registered mail”.
xiii. Dictating only the basic ideas (allowing the secretary to compose the complete message) when the message is of routine nature and the secretary has adequate information and ability.
Signing of Dictated Message:
After the secretary has transcribed the spoken words into a written message, the executive signs it. While doing so, he / she should check the letter with special attention to spellings and figures. The executive should also make sure that instructions as given have been followed by the secretary.