We’re excited to share this guest post from President and CEO, Judy Stevens with Stevens-Koenig Reporting located in Denver, Colorado! Anissa did some training with Judy and her fabulous team back in June this year and Judy sent us this post to share with you. If you are a firm owner, this post is for YOU!
If you’ve heard Anissa Nierenberger speak at either a State or National conference, you know the value in her wisdom and the easy manner in which she delivers that wisdom. Having invited her to speak at a Colorado CRA symposium a couple years ago, I was impressed by the way she captivated the audience of freelance and official court reporters when she has never, herself, edited and finalized a deposition or trial transcript. However, the techniques and tips of shorter and cleaner writing are, indeed, the same as those she’s mastered in her CART career. Having watched her work her magic in that room is what caused me to reach out to her when I wanted to provide additional training to my reporting staff.
Before doing that, though, I talked to a few reporting firm owners with whom I’m associated and told them about my desire to provide additional training in-house to my employee reporters. I was told by one that it wasn’t my responsibility to provide training to them; it was their own responsibility to get their own training, and another said no one would come to training on a Saturday unless I made it mandatory. With those viewpoints, which were almost 180 degrees opposing to mine, I called Anissa. “Anissa,” I asked, “what would you think about offering your Terminate Transcript Turmoil program to my staff on a Saturday via teleconference?” We discussed many of the logistics, then set a date. I sent out an e-blast to my staff and almost immediately had 13 people who RSVP’d, all of whom showed up on Saturday, June 17th, to hear Anissa and to improve their writing style so transcript preparation became easier and more streamlined through better dictionary entries. Now, these aren’t new reporters. Some of these are reporters who have been with our firm for five or more years and some who have been reporting for over 15 years. They each learned something through the training and all stayed after the conference was over. They discussed ways to make highly functional new dictionary entries based on their individual software programs, and bonded with each other on a Saturday morning. Now, does it really get any better than that?
My point in sharing this information is to suggest that you look outside the box for assisting your staff. Try to gather clues on what they might need by having conversations with them. I noticed that one reporter was taking one day off for every one-day assignment so she could edit that assignment. One day to edit one day? Having been a reporter, I knew that there had to be ways to assist her, short of getting her a scopist, so that she didn’t spend that much time on editing. Another reporter wasn’t using locking suffixes and prefixes to her advantage and her rough drafts had words which, although they should be readable by most attorneys, had things like in-form-ation because she hadn’t appropriately entered each of those syllables in her dictionary. Yes, they tranned correctly, but didn’t attach correctly to make the appropriate and complete word. These were two women who I recognized immediately could benefit from Anissa’s dictionary wizardry!!
Don’t think that it’s just the reporter’s sole responsibility to get additional training. They don’t know what they don’t know. This was more in-depth than their software trainings and more personalized. Anissa asked them to ask questions, specific questions to their situation, and then answered them one-by-one. Yes, it is their responsibility to get the training they need, but it’s your job to listen to them, to hear what’s keeping them from absolutely loving what they do. If that one thing happens to be editing, then pick up the phone and call Anissa. Talk with your team and you might be totally surprised at how willing they are to learn if you’re willing to make it happen for them. What it cost me was a catered breakfast, orange juice and champagne (for mimosas, of course), a reasonable fee for Anissa’s time, and access through our video-conferencing system. What it brought me was a team of reporters who learned something from Anissa and from each other, who might just have cleaner strokes in their files and might — just might — quit spending so much time editing. They shared ideas and thoughts, exchanged some phone numbers as well as discussed Facebook and additional “groups” for software-specific information.
I love and value the closeness within our team. I wish all the reporters could have attended, but it was a Saturday, and it was the middle of June, and it was an amazingly beautiful day in Denver. I also wish more firm owners felt connected to their staff on a one-on-one basis to the point that they hear their transcript struggles and they feel their writing pain. I often can see it on their faces after a job. When they left this 1.5-hour training, I saw smiles and laughter and heard comments about spending the rest of that afternoon making some of the changes to their dictionaries. Now, tell me. What is that worth to you as a firm owner? Step up and be their leader.