Descript, a guide on notes taking

How many times are you leading a project, where you are setting the agenda, and somehow you need to keep track of meeting minutes.

While we want to believe we can multitask, known as quick-shifting, it has been proven that we have reduced attention and focus when multitasking.

My first experience of office life was from around 1983 where my mum was in the typing pool, typing up either her shorthand notes or transcribing the very modern small dictation cassettes.

Thankfully the world has moved on. Today as long as the appropriate notice is given to the attendees of a meeting. It is simple to make a recording of a meeting.

The issue does go back to what I saw my mum doing, which was making sense of the meeting flow, creating issue and decisions logs, as well as assigning time-based actions to the relevant participants.

This is where today’s tech tip comes in handy.

Descript is an audio transcription software, that will detect differences in the people speaking and create a detailed transcript.

If it only did this it would be cleaver; it does a lot more besides.

It works as a transcript and in parallel a high-end audio editor.
With the click of a button, it can remove all the long pauses in the recording. Take out hums and ahs, balance the sound level of different speakers and lots more.

One of the most ingenious features is to recognise the tone of different speakers and create an automated prompt to label each speaker in the text file. As a result, the program identifies each speakers words and audio waveform with individual colour coding for easy tracking.

Once you’ve got a transcript with the participants highlighted, text tightened up, using common word-finding functions, you can edit the text; for example, you can remove the start and end of meeting preambles.

It is super quick to export a transcript in MS Word document style. You can select how much mark up detail of speakers, and the timing you require. This could either be the master record of the meeting or used for editing into a more concise record of events.

Other uses of this product are to create subtitles for video applications (a legal requirement for all online content in the US) as well as producing transcripts for Podcasts, which create an excellent searchable source of information, driving web search traffic to an information-rich podcast.

This is one of my longer tech tips, while Descript is such a powerful tool, I’m sure lots of you will be using this or something similar in the years to come.

Start a trial today and let me know how you get on.