Remember all those late-night conversations you had in college? What if you had a record of all the things you said, all the problems you solved, all the ideas that you couldn’t quite put back together the next morning?

Well, maybe some of those ramblings are better left lost, but plenty of conversations that you have today are full of unique information, ideas, and perfect turns of phrase. The power of transcription takes a living and free-flowing conversation and transforms it into a readable, searchable, cut-and-pasteable document.

Whether you’re preparing a white paper with a thought leader, ghostwriting an autobiography, doing an exit interview with a retiring founder of your organization, or brainstorming with your team, extracting ideas from minds begins with productive conversation. The best way to get someone’s story is by letting them tell that story to you, because most people find talking easier and less intimidating than writing. Transcription allows you to effortlessly capture all of these stories and ideas. A great transcript comes to you as a readable, grammatically correct record of your conversation, closer to a work of prose with the style and voice of your subject intact.

Because you know the transcript will contain everything that is said, you are freed from taking notes, allowing you to more fully participate and engage with your subject. In a live exchange of ideas, you can clarify and refine what you’re talking about on the fly. Everyone is free to explore ideas and tangents but also return to and focus on anything that isn’t completely clear. This natural, real-time, mind-to-mind interaction is an incredibly powerful and organic collaboration, the fruits of which can be harvested by transcription and used as a foundation for writing or even for published interviews.

Instead of skipping around in an audio file, listening almost at random to the haystack of a recorded interview, a transcript gives you instant access to search or skim for those shiny needles of remembered comments.

Conversation connects us; transcription gives us the power to preserve these connections and easily access the results.