How to Take Dictation

Updated July 12, 2018

Many employers still require their administrative assistants to take dictation, even in the age of the PC. Follow these steps to learn the art.

Study shorthand. Community colleges usually offer courses in shorthand. Aside from just practicing, taking a class is the best way to learn.

Listen for pauses while your boss is dictating, but concentrate on the sounds, or the phonetics, and make sure you have all the words down.

Transcribe the dictation as soon as possible after it is given. This will ensure that the information stays fresh in your mind.

Edit for content, paragraphing and grammar. Now is the time to correct glaring errors.

Prepare your rough draft for approval and then prepare your final draft.


Try not to interrupt and always stay calm.


It takes some time to become familiar with the person giving dictation. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't come easily at first.

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