The Power Dictation: Utilizing Your Voice to Create Amazing Experiences
Familiar Tech, Innovative Methods
Siri, turn on the light.
Alexa, what’s the weather?
Cortana, where is the best wine bar in San Francisco?
Most of us are familiar with using our voice to make things more efficient in day-to-day life. But as much as voice dictation tools have advanced, many CEOs and leaders are still stuck in old, uninspired ways of utilizing voice dictations. It’s time to start using dictations in new, innovative ways to get more leverage into the office of the CEO while providing better experiences to those people in your work and life that matter most.
When to Use Voice Dictations
The most powerful time to implement voice dictations is when you’re trying to gain business opportunities through relationships. Dictations become even more powerful for startups that rely on those relationships to generate key revenue.
Consider email, Slack, and other text-based forms of communication. We often use these to deliver experiences to people in our network and stay top-of-mind with those we care about. Text-based messaging runs business, there is no way to avoid it. Yet most of us don’t put enough effort into delivering a great experience via email—often because we feel we don’t have the time to do so. Many emails end up as straight-to-the-point one liners, or worse, a one liner that misses the point. And our recipients forget the message as soon as they open it.
Now, imagine being able to send a paragraph or two, full of context, appreciation, emotion, and value that the recipient cares about, in as much time as it took you to write that one liner.
Here’s how: You come out of a wonderful meeting where you learned valuable info about the person you met with—what they care about, what their goals and challenges are. You then take two minutes (yes two minutes) to record a dictation that, through Mindmaven magic, becomes an email that is not only readable, but in your voice, with your personal touches, and providing value to the reader based on what you learned about them.
Ai can’t do this. Transcription tech can’t do this, not on its own. But Mindmaven’s innovative method of working with an executive assistant — or better yet an EM — and utilizing tech in its most efficient way allows you to do just that.
If you can deliver these kinds of meaningful experiences to people who come across the opportunities you want to hear about, they will be much more likely to share those opportunities with you when the time comes.
Dictations: The Most Powerful Use Cases
At Mindmaven, we’ve been working for the last decade to refine and improve on how we communicate and build relationships, focusing not only on becoming better communicators but also on gaining more opportunities through improved relationships. By utilizing dictations combined with an effective EA relationship, we have developed the most powerful way to use your voice + tech to increase productivity and mindshare with your network.
You can use our Voice + Tech tactics in a variety of ways including:
- Delegating: Assigning tasks with enough context via the tone and concern in your voice to increase velocity by creating fewer questions for the assignee.
- Debriefing: Following up on meetings and recording useful/important information quickly.
- Messaging: Creating amazing experiences via edraft dictations that keep you top of mind and ensure people think of you when they come across opportunities you may want.
This last one, Messaging, is what we’ll expand upon for this article as it has the potential to have the greatest impact on your mindshare within your network.
Dictating Emails: Working with an EM Effectively
To use a dictation system to create your messages, and ensure your dictations are as effective as possible, there are a few steps to follow.
The Dictation Header
First, you’ll need to have a relationship built on trust with your EM (not sure what an EM is? Start here). Your EM will need to know you well enough and have access to enough context (aka: your inbox) to be able to speak in your voice and translate your speech into readable and professional messages that the recipient will love.
(If you’re not sure how to get to this level with your EA but want to, send us a message. This is what we do!)
Once that EM relationship is in place, there are a few things to include in your dictations to ensure you EM can easily understand and act. Be sure to start your dictation with clear and concise instructions on what you’re asking for. We call this a header, and a good example would look like:
“Hey, Gina. This is an edraft request for Sarah Hartman whom I met with earlier today.”
The Dictation’s Core
Once you’ve got the header out of the way, you can get to the good stuff.
Namely, commentary on what you know/learned/appreciate about the recipient. This is the info you’ll be able to use to craft an email people will love to read, one that will make them feel good and think about you long after they have archived that email.
Be sure that your EM knows to structure the email correctly.
Start with something positive, something you learned about the person or something you appreciate them. Then move on to how that helps you or makes your life better. And if you can finish with an offer to help them solve one of the challenges you learned they have. You can also add in any next steps either of you agreed to undertake while in the meeting.
You may not be able to include all these pieces in every email (we’d be surprised if you could). But using even a few of them to invest into the relationship with an amazing message is going to do wonders for how they perceive you and how often they think of you.
Dictation Pitfalls: Avoiding Common Mistakes
When learning a new modality of working, a new tech system, or a new habit, there are always a variety of mistakes that you might make which reduce the effectiveness of the system. Here are the most common mistakes that execs make, and how you can avoid them.
- Don’t restart: When making the recording, you might find yourself getting convoluted or needing to restart your sentence and clarify your point. When this happens, avoid the instinct to restart your dictation. If you stop and start several times, you’ll end up taking as much time as you would have typing the whole email. Instead, either let the recording be blank as you gather your thoughts and then speak, pause the recording until you’re ready to continue, or move on to the next item on this list.
- Ask specifically: Be sure to ask your EM, right in the dictation to clean up poor or confusing sentences. You’ll know when you say it if it could be written in a better way.You might dictate:“I found it really, um, cool or… neat that you shared that story about being engaged in some activity with Americorps at the start of your professional journey.”
But if you cue your EM to “Clean up that sentence,” then what shows up in your draft box might look something like:
“I was really inspired by your story about starting your professional journey volunteering with Americorps.”
Especially early on in your relationship with your EM, you’ll need to remind them to make any unpolished sentences clear and readable to your recipient.
- Provide enough clarity: Be aware of words needing extra clarity (names, companies, acronyms, etc). You’re going to find yourself including people’s names, software recommendations, locations, and company references in your emails. If you say something that could be easily misconstrued or misspelled, you’re going to need to clarify how to type it out. Start building awareness around these things so you can do this without second thought and without taking much extra time in your dictation.
- Don’t be too brief: Your instinct at first may be to dictate emails as you would have written them before: as a simple one liner. But that defeats the purpose of this system. You should utilize the time saving speed of being able to talk vs type to include as much detail, context, and value as you possibly can into the email. Remember it’s not you typing so the more you add the better and it won’t take you much extra time.
Dictation Automation: Task Management and Beyond
By now, being the smart relationship-focused leader that you are, you may be thinking that this sounds absolutely wonderful. But how does your time saved translate to your EA? How much work does it take to turn these things from spoken thoughts to great experiences for your network?
Fortunately, we have devised a way to automate everything and integrate it into a task management system your EA can use to follow through on every dictation in a timely manner, every time.
By using tech and automation programs, we take your voice recording, turn it into a task, and run it through a well-defined follow-up process your EA uses to bring it to life in your inbox. It becomes a finished email, ready for you to review and send without a second thought.
All you do is think, record, and save time while being able to send more emails and messages that deliver unparalleled value. This in turn will improve how good people will feel about their relationship with you and increase the chance that people will think of you when great opportunities come up.
In Pursuit of Perfect Communication
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways we have devised to get work done. This one—dictations combined with a good working relationship with your EA—plus an automated task management system, is one of the best ways of doing the important work of maintaining and deepening relationships.
But it doesn’t just happen on its own.
Not only is the system relatively complex to set up, utilizing our voices to the best of our ability takes time, practice, and coaching. It is an advanced and nuanced skill, one that often takes years to master.
Your EA will also greatly benefit from advanced coaching in how to learn, craft, and utilize your voice to empower you in creating amazing experiences via email.
If you’re interested in building stronger relationships, getting more from those relationships, becoming a better communicator, having a stronger partnership with your EA, and getting more opportunities out of it all, then we’d love to help you get there in a fraction of the time.
We have been in the business of helping leaders in this exact position for a long time now, and many of the top startups and VC firms in Silicon Valley can attest to the power of the Mindmaven way.
If you’d like to learn more about using a dictation system or building an empowered relationship with your executive assistant, sign up below for a 30-min consultation with one of our coaches.