Attorney Michael de Broglio on: South Africa, Law, Politics, Attorneys, Sport, Photography, Technology, Gadgets, Media, Crime, Road Accidents Fund, Divorce, Maintenance, Personal Injury, Medical Negligence
Home - Recent Entries

The power of the Dictaphone

Over the years I have often written about my latest efforts with Dragon Naturally Speaking, all of which end up going awry.  In particular, there seem to be issues with, in my experience, Dragon Naturally Speaking and Outlook to the point that I almost always end up uninstalling it.  In any event, the point of this blog was to highlight something different and that is one of the things that has allowed me to do prodigious amounts of work over the years is the use of a Dictaphone.   

The vast majority of attorneys that I know are too nervous to dictate.  I think in many cases truthfully, although they will not say it, they don’t like to hear their own voice or are nervous of dictating.  It is a pity, because it stops people being as productive as they could be – especially when it comes to longer more detailed replies to people.  I am capable of dictating up to 250 minutes in a day, although typically I dictate about 45 to 50 minutes in a working day, but that is a huge amount of memos, letters, replies and the various other projects I work on.  It allows me to attend to work far more quickly than most attorneys.  Obviously, you need a top secretary to type your dictation and somebody who actually returns it the next day – which is not something that all typists do – but apart from that the only negative that I can think of, for those comfortable enough to do their dictation – is that perhaps you don’t write as well as you would if you sit and type the words yourself.  Invariably, when I do a longer letter I need it to be sent back to me for editing, but it is still faster and more productive for me than typing all the replies myself.  When you type yourself, it just limits what you can do, although if it is a short letter it is probably better to type it yourself.  It also allows you to make more detailed memoranda as to what you did and when you did it.  To that extent I never had a shortage of dictaphones – I keep two different dictaphones on my desk to dictate to two  different typists and I will always have one in my travel bag as well plus about two other backup dictaphones.  Invariably, in my office, when somebody is asked to have Dragon Naturally Speaking installed on their computer they have not used it, and I had a staff member who decided that he would also like to do dictation while he was based at my Pretoria offices, but it ultimately turned out that he dictated no more than 3 minutes in a day!  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Post a Comment

Cornelie  said:
on Thursday 09-May-19 09:26 AM
If you’re going to use a Dictaphone you need to use it more than 3 minutes a day it is also a very helpful tool to have in a business as you wright you sometimes forget what to add where you speak it comes naturally.

Prishani  said:
on Monday 06-May-19 04:21 PM
I have no doubt that this tool is very efficient, obviously as mentioned it depends on the typist and how soon they can get it out. I think it is a habit that one forms that eventually becomes part of a very effect work pattern!

Daniella  said:
on Friday 03-May-19 10:13 AM
Sounds like it could be a handy thing to have around. I do think it would save a lot of time if the message is relayed correctly.

Michelle D  said:
on Thursday 02-May-19 11:07 AM
Personally I prefer writing stuff down because often times my mind is pretty jumpy so my articulation is exceptionally poor when trying to explain things. It's much easier for me to write things down in a structured and logical manner.

Bianca Taljaard  said:
on Thursday 02-May-19 07:22 AM
This looks interesting, think it can make life a lot easier in law firms

Tamaryn  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 08:47 AM
I wish I was more pro-active about using Dictaphones but the truth is, and it's mentioned in the blog, it is awful to hear the sound of your own voice. Apparently there is research to support this phenomenon but you are right, it is less productive not to use a Dictaphone and I toy with the idea from time to time.

Nicolle  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 05:48 PM
If a secretary or any legal professional / employee has a lot of work to do, this method is definitely efficient and time-saving.

sandra  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 05:46 PM
I know quite a lot of law firms using this Dictaphone. It is a great tool but one must also be weary with new technological advances that a new system has come out where an attorney dictates and it goes straight through to the computer where it types out by itself everything an attorney dictates. It is efficient, however, if this evolves further in the future, law firms can cut on employees.

Angelique Jurgens  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 12:38 PM
Many students swear by dictaphones. I guess it is good for business and many important "bosses" because it saves them a lot of time. Louis Litt from Suits just came to mind lol. My cellphone voice recorder is all I need for now. Really it's just a voicenote?

Sinead  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 10:51 AM
A dictaphone seems very practical if you have many instructions to give.
I also feel like you need to be familiar with the voice if you are typing up the dictation. Not everyone speaks clearly. If you don't know the person, you might think they are saying one thing but mean another. On the other hand, if you know the person dictating then it makes things a lot easier so you can kind of pick up what they are trying to say if they are not 100% clear.

I don't like the sound of my own voice but it's the only way to remember something for later. If I don't type something out as a note then I will save it as a voice recording on my phone

Shristi  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 09:55 AM
I think that a Dictaphone is a very handy device to have. I used one during my campus years and it helped me a lot. It is a very useful device as it saves a lot of time and increases one's productivity. You are able to get the more mundane things quicker eg. letters to clients etc.

Ashleigh  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 09:40 AM
I am sure Dictaphones are way easier and a more time saving idea for Attorney's especially. You can keep the recording's as well which is a bonus.

Thabitha  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 08:38 AM
Dictaphone can be used by people who are productive not the lazy once and hearing your voice sometimes its not nice you think about the way you sounds and all that

Jolene   said:
on Monday 15-Apr-19 08:36 AM
Dictaphone can save you a lot of time if you use it correctly. It is a very useful device.

Zandelee  said:
on Sunday 14-Apr-19 04:40 PM
I think alot of young lawyers think dictation is old school and for that reason its not used so often in practice anymore. I however think that dictation technology can help one operate more efficiently, improve your billable hours, optimize office tasks and as a way of keeping track and documenting yourself.

Claudia B  said:
on Friday 12-Apr-19 08:15 AM
I definitely do agree on having a Dictaphone, it will come in handy.

Helen  said:
on Friday 12-Apr-19 07:52 AM
Dictaphone is very powerful gadget to have! Amazing how this device can help anyone to improve productivity and learning skills. Just the other day I came across one article about the Voice Recorders and how handy they can be.
Meetings; Interviews; Speech Improvement; Foreign language learning; Audio books for children; Lectures; Your Child’s First Words

Zindy  said:
on Wednesday 10-Apr-19 01:58 PM
I do agree dictating is definitely the way to go and saves time. I think its a very handy device to keep near by especially when travelling.

Kathryn  said:
on Wednesday 10-Apr-19 08:56 AM
Dictating ones thoughts and ideas throughout the day is a very useful skill set. I think that it would be great to use an app on a cellphone (which we almost always have on our person) that allows the recordings to be sent in a message or email, that way an attorney's secretary's can receive and type out the diction. In doing so there would be no time period where the attorney is without their recording device or required to have more than one.

Natasha  said:
on Wednesday 10-Apr-19 08:54 AM
Sounds like an amazing device. Definitely a device every business should think about having.

Dune  said:
on Wednesday 10-Apr-19 08:15 AM
I think dictating is a great way of saving time and getting more done in a day. I agree that the most crucial part of dictaing is to have a typist that can keep up with all of the dictation, especially when you are dictating up to 250min in a day.

brumilde  said:
on Wednesday 10-Apr-19 07:55 AM
The Dictaphone dates back to 1907, it really is a device that should be used by every company, it is also used by writers, copy writers and people who love to blog. Its wonderful to have a device that when you have an idea to simply record it for later

Joyce  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 04:58 PM
I think Dictaphone is a powerful device, sounds very useful device

Nikita  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 03:30 PM
I would have to say you are right. Most people do not like to hear the sound of their own voice. I think it would be a really useful device but implementing it into your work routine will take some getting used to.

Mathilda Du Preez  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 03:09 PM
Definitely a great gadget to improve time management.

Victoria  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 03:07 PM
I think these devices are extremely useful and everyone should have one. So that there is proof of what was said and to make sure you cover yourself.

Melissa van Tellingen   said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 03:01 PM
I use to use one during my LLB studies to record the lectures and listen to them when preparing for exams and it worked great! I still have mine but don't use it at all. A very handy device.

Jadine Esterhuizen  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 02:59 PM
Might sound like some old school device but still quite essential if applying for work at any firm of attorneys. As this is the best means when you aren't in the office to keep your staff/assistant busy. Used to attend to a lot of Dictaphone typing every morning where I previously worked as the attorney I worked for had a lot of meeting and matters in the Western Cape. So most of our communication and work relationship would be via telephone and dictation.

Jessica M  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 02:57 PM
I have to agree, if you have such a busy firm you should use Dictaphone typists if you actually want to get through all the work. Imagine if you have to do your own letters and memos without a typist assistance to help, you would have a back log of work. So I think it is very helpful.

Bianca N  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 01:46 PM
This sounds like a handy device to have, especially for attorneys such as yourself who are almost too busy to sit and type every memo / letter yourself and focus on other business as well.

Lucretia  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 12:58 PM
I have to say that the only people I have seen using Dictaphones now days are attorneys. The first law firm I worked for everyone used Dictaphones. I too have a Dictaphone which I used when I used to take minutes at meetings so that should something have been missed, I always had a backup. Nifty little gadget to have.

Courtney  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 12:13 PM
Dictaphone is the most accurate thing to have, especially if you are a Attorney. You must have the exact same facts and proof of everything!

Clare  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 10:40 AM
I wish we can get Computer that can type what we are thinking, now that would be the best ever...

Angelica Canosa  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 10:25 AM
It seems as it is a very useful device to aid productivity, It should be used more by attorneys

Michelle Smillie  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 10:22 AM
I worked as a typist for advocates for nearly six years and I saw the difference a dictaphone makes in their lives. There is always a letter or something to be dictated and one often thinks of what you want to say on the go, when you are not able to take out a laptop and type it. I even had someone dictate reminders for me to give him when he comes back in to the office because you always think of something specifically when you are not able to attend to it. And with the daily advances in technology it is becoming easier and easier. You can now even download Olympus on your phone to use your phone as your dictaphone, which is perfect, because we nowadays always have our phones on us.

Alexis  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 08:38 AM
I can assume that it is far easier, when something is on you mind, to just dictate it quickly and get it over and done with. You can do a lot and get more done this way, instead of sitting and typing and have your mind possibly wonder or not have your point made at that point in time.

david  said:
on Tuesday 09-Apr-19 08:03 AM
and, as if to perfectly illustrate the problems: the last word in the 1st sentence is actually 'awry'
i have found that google's voice recognition is actually very good. i have android TV, so spend a bit of time talking to google while searching etc


Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018

Johannesburg Web Design South Africa