A Really Awesome Built-in Smartphone Time Management Tip


A few months ago I was about to start typing a text when my grandson Sam, standing nearby, asked a question. The keypad was already on the screen and without realising it I bumped the small microphone button down on the lower left beside the space bar.

I replied to Sam, went back to my phone and noticed a small ‘Done’ button showing on the screen. Without much thought I pressed it in order to clear the screen so I could get back to finger-pecking my text. To my shock, amazement and delight, the words I’d just spoken had very accurately transferred onto the screen.

‘What! Look at this, Sam! Did you know you could speak into your phone and it would convert to written text?’

‘No,’ he replied, very interested. (This young man, like many teenagers, at that time lived with his phone attached like an extra digit to his hand. I thought teenagers knew all the tricks but here was something I could teach him!)

Since then I’ve shared this awesome time-saver with every audience I work with. Less than 25% of any group know about it.

If it doesn’t seem to work:
If your Smartphone, either IPhone or most of the android alternatives, shows a microphone button but doesn’t seem to convert speech to text in the way I’ve just described, possibly your dictation may need to be turned on. To do this, go to Settings > General > Siri, and then turn Siri on. Even if you don’t want to use Siri’s personal assistant features, I’m pretty sure you need to turn it on for speech recognition to work.  Or if it’s an older phone it’s possible that it doesn’t have the service.

Which functions does it work with?
Anything that gives you a keypad to type with – email, text, notes, and websites – although they’re sometimes less accurate because of the way urls are written.

A few tips:
1. Speak your punctuation. For example:

‘Hi Bill comma new line looking forward to catching up tonight at 7 full stop new paragraph cheers comma Robyn’ will look as follows:

Hi Bill,
Looking forward to catching up tonight at 7.

Cheers, Robyn

2. Noisy environments usually still work if you position the base of the phone, where the microphone is placed, close to your mouth
3. Sometimes it doesn’t work very well in the car, depending on the level of background noise.
4. I do always give it a quick proof-read but only a few words usually need correction.
5. Do small bites of speech –no longer than 30 seconds. Press ‘Done’ each time you pause. Speak any longer and it gets indigestion.
6. It won’t work unless you’ve got internet connection – the words are going to a server for translation. Also, if your connection is very slow it might not work.

This isn’t even an app you’ve got to download.  It’s a really easy built-in feature. Plus it saves HEAPS of time.

I’m so happy to wave goodbye to that one-finger-tapping.


Robyn Pearce CSP


Robyn Pearce is a researcher, author, international speaker, business woman and time management specialist. She is also a Past President of The National Sperakers' Association of NZ and immediate Past President of IFFPS - the international body for professional speakers based in the USA.

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