I am a 35-year-old director of marketing with a learning disability. I recently met with my CEO about my future with the company. He informed me that the only thing holding me back from moving into a CEO position in a few years is my lack of writing skills. He wants me to seek out some help with working on my LD. I have a degree in Management and Marketing and I do well with presentations, speeches and interacting with my clients, but I really need to work on my writing skills. What can I do?
Because it sounds like your strengths lie in verbal communication, voice recognition (speech-to-text) software that helps you make the most of your skills would probably be your best bet. Several options are available that would be suitable for an office environment. One of the most well known, Dragon Naturally Speaking , has business and professional versions available as well as options for specialized language for the legal and medical fields.
You may also find it helpful to read reviews on a website like CNET . Because CNET focuses on consumer and business technology tools, these reviews may help you make a decision about what tool would function best in your office environment. Some users opt to include a digital audio recorder as part of their voice recognition set up. This allows them to record notes, ideas and presentations and then transcribe them later using a voice recognition program. If you are serious about using voice recognition as a productivity tool, you might consider working with a consultant or coach who can help you set up templates, wizards, and macros to meet your particular needs.
If voice recognition is not an appropriate option for you, text-to-speech software may also be helpful. While you would still need to do the actual writing on the computer, text-to-speech would allow you to hear your writing read back to you. This may help you identify misused words, confusing elements or missing words and thus clarify your writing. Both Macs and PCs have tools available that can read text aloud, as well as software available for purchase. If you will be using Microsoft Word, WordTalk , a free-plug-in, is available to read any word document aloud.
Because there are a wide variety of tools available, you may find it helpful to contact the Job Accommodation Network . The Job Accommodation Network is a free service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. They provide free consulting services to help identify the most appropriate worksite accommodation as well as technical assistance regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability information.