Sometimes things that are very important can also be very difficult. Getting up when your alarm sounds is difficult. Organic chemistry formulas – AgOCN(aq) + NH4Cl(aq) —->AgCl(s) + NH4OCN(aq) – are very difficult. Communication skills can be not only difficult but even more important than alarm clocks and chemistry.
When you want to attract clients, keep clients and enjoy a good reputation, it is super important to communicate clearly and honestly. The way scopists communicate with court reporters is a big part of earning repeat business. From the time a court reporter asks if you can work on a transcript until the time you turn that transcript in, here are 6 important communication skills scopists can use.
1. Consider – What is your current workload? Look through the transcripts you currently have to see how many pages you’ve already got in the queue and their turnaround times. If you can realistically fit this transcript into your existing work schedule, great. If there’s probably no way you can do it, let the court reporter know right up front. Saying you can’t do it is way better than saying you can and then failing to deliver on time, or not responding to their email at all.
2. Decide – Can you fit this transcript into your personal life? Maybe you have a doctor’s appointment scheduled. Maybe your daughter has an athletic event you’d like to attend. Or maybe you’re just planning on hanging out and drinking wine coolers on the beach all day. One of the many benefits of being self employed is the ability to live the life you want. If it’s worth it to cancel or rearrange things in order to make some money, say yes. If it’s not, then tell your client no this time and also tell them you’ll be available the next time.
3. Respond – The clock begins ticking the moment the court reporter reaches out to you. If you do decide to say yes to a transcript, say yes fast. Within minutes, if possible. A fast response versus a slow response means money, which means it can be the difference between dining on shrimp pasta at your favorite restaurant this weekend or eating chicken nuggets at McDonald’s.
4. Inform – Is this your first transcript, or do you have hundreds under your belt? If you are a new scopist and don’t have much, or any, experience, let potential court reporter clients know this up front. It will be better for both of you if you start out on a 20-page transcript of slow and easy testimony than a fast-talking physicist mumbling about fusion and fission for 275 pages.
5. Update – Waiting for the return of an important transcript from an unfamiliar scopist can be an unsettling feeling for a court reporter. Email your client approximately a day before you know you will complete their transcript and let them know it will soon be on its way. They’ll see that you’re on top of it, they have nothing to be concerned about, and they can rely on you. This will also set you apart from other scopists who don’t do this.
6. Deliver – This is the number one most important thing scopists need to do in communicating with court reporters. Your email with the scoped transcript attached will be a very welcome sight in their in box. Receiving this email on or shortly before the due date will make them happy. And getting repeat business from them will make you happy.