Let’s get nostalgic for a hot second. Reflect on a childhood memory, recalling an exact time or event — what you were wearing, who you were with, the sights, smells, tastes. Try to remember how you felt, specific noises like, I don’t know, shrilling crickets layered under siblings’ laughter or, your parents’ Doobie Brothers records humming ol’ Black Water in the next room over.

It’s difficult, right? Unless the event was recorded, the memory is likely pretty hazy. Or perhaps it seems crystal clear, like a movie clip tucked away in a corner of your mind. However vivid it may feel, though, memories are consistently distorted and unreliable. Humans, even ones with a phenomenal ability to recall, are susceptible to constructing skewed narratives with bits and pieces of past experience.

corgi dreaming of being away at war

While this reality has especially significant implications in, say, legal or clinical psychology settings, it’s relevant to everyone. There are countless examples of people in the public eye “misremembering events” that cost them significant credibility.

Remember when Hillary Clinton claimed to have been under sniper fire in Bosnia? Or when NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams claimed he was onboard a U.S. military helicopter hit by enemy fire and grounded during the 2003 Iraq invasion? Both later admitted to have gotten their facts wrong.

actress talking and saying "I will be fact checking my own monologue"

Even outside professional contexts, remembering details is crucial–and powerful. Recalling specifics can provide rich material in storytelling, accuracy and context in reporting, depth and emotion in writing, and a wealth of useful information to anyone and everyone just going about their daily lives.

Capturing audio with a recorder not only lets you remember life’s small details, but improves factual precision–laying the groundwork for accuracy and efficiency in professional, academic, and personal contexts.

That’s why we think having voice recorders handy, whenever possible, is a best practice. Capturing audio with a recorder not only lets you remember life’s small details, but improves factual precision–laying the groundwork for accuracy and efficiency in professional, academic, and personal contexts. Below, we’ll cover 8 situations a voice recorder can improve your day-to-day.

But First, What Is a Voice Recorder?

Before we dive into specific scenarios you might want to whip out a voice recorder, it’s helpful to know what it is, what it can do, and important things to look for in a quality voice recorder.

A voice recorder captures sound, converting it into an audio file that can be conveniently transferred to another device, like a computer. They come in various models, with all sorts of bells and whistles–both as separate recording devices and as smartphone apps.

Ranging in audio quality, storage space, carry size, editing capabilities, battery life and many other characteristics, navigating the wild world of recording devices can be intimidating. The linked post above will arm you with advice and questions to consider when selecting a device that fits your needs.

Here Are 8 Situations You Never Knew You Needed a Voice Recorder

1) Meetings

For any professional, recording key information in meetings is critical for both efficient workflow and service delivery. With all of the information covered in productive meetings–important figures uttered, clever solutions mentioned, data on slides–it’s incredibly easy for even the most active participants to forget important details.

will farrell saying what did you say

Scribbling down or typing notes can be distracting, taking participants away from being present with coworkers or clients. Knowing there will be an exact record of what was said facilitates deeper listening and active participation. Once meetings are recorder, they can easily be transcribed for future reference–making conversations accessible to employees for sussing out relevant details.

2) Interviews

Unless you’re ultra-speedy with note-taking, it’s tricky to jot down everything someone says, especially if you’re interviewing a fast talker. Missing key snippets is easy to do. Also, getting word-for-word quotes is nearly impossible if you’re relying on a pen and notebook alone.

Simpsons gif captioned I can't write in these things

Using a voice recorder frees you up to be more present, observing things like emotion or the way your source responds with non-verbal cues.

3) Speech Improvement

“What is that terrible noise? Who is that ratchet human talking?” If you’ve ever uttered some variation of those words after hearing your own voice played back to you, you’re not alone. The phenomenon of “voice confrontation” is real, arising from differences in expected frequencies and “extra-linguistic cues.”

Larry David saying I can't stand the sound

If it’s something that bothers you, like most people, be bold and confront your vocal woes head-on with that voice recorder. Research exercises to improve things like tone, speaking cadence, and volume. Excessive use of filler words like “um,” “er,” and “you know” can make you sound less confident, so work on nixing them from chatter.

4) Foreign language learning

Upcoming getaway to some far-flung locale planned? People of zee wurl, avoid getting lost in translation. Reading and writing exercises are helpful, but reciting written content–or dialoguing with another person–is incredibly practical for navigating new turf.

Tortoise speaking french gif

Order that escargot, like a pro. Locate la toilette, without a sweat. Avoid judgmental tourist glances and live that ‘vida local’ by nailing key phrases with near-perfect pronunciation. Grab that voice recorder and polish up on everyday vocabulary.

Play back the recording, taking note of pronunciation, tone, and transitions between sentences. Bonus points if you have a native language-speaking friend or acquaintance who can give you pointers. If not, downloading language-learning apps and streaming foreign films with subtitles on are also great practices.

5. Audiobooks for children

Using your own voice to recite stories for your kid brings it to life for them. The experience is familiar yet foreign, inspiring their imaginations to wander, explore, take flight–all with your voice there to guide them. And when you’re out of town or on business, put them at ease with your voice quoting their favorite bedtime story.

Using your own voice to recite stories for your kid brings it to life for them.

6. Lectures

Studies have shown that within 24 hours, learners forget an average of 70 percent of new information. And within a week, forgetting claims an average of 90 percent of it. In a 60-minute lecture jam-packed with exam material, you can’t afford to forget up to 90 percent of content covered.

students looking bored in assembly

Recording lectures frees you up to jot down key points and questions that arise. Playing back audio during exam prep reinforces concepts and lets you double check nothing’s missing.

7. Podcasts

Nowadays, podcasting is for the masses. There are currently 525,000 active podcasts with more than 18.5 million episodes. With start-up costs being relatively approachable, the barrier to entry is pretty low. With a quality topic and thoughtful commentary, gaining an audience is possible without offering sky-high production value.

While you can invest a pretty penny in recording devices, you can also easily get your podcast up and running with a voice recorder, downloading the digitized audio files to your computer. You can then edit audio files for a much clearer, crisp quality and upload them to your website or YouTube to attract more traffic. To get your ‘cast of the ground, we recommend reading: How to Start a Podcast: The Beginner’s Guide to Studio Setup, Hosting, and Everything Between.

8. Your Child’s First Words

Every milestone your little tater tot reaches warrants a celebration — and documentation.

two cute little boys dancing

Collecting both video and audio files creates a sweet record of that tiny sing-song voice. Recording ever couple of weeks will give you a sample to reference for memories’ sake. And for monitoring language skill progress, voice changes, and developing personality.

4 Benefits of Using a Voice Recorder Throughout Your Day

You Can Talk Faster Than You Can Write

Have you ever tried “writing” an essay, book, or article by speaking it instead of typing first? It’s much quicker, and a fantastic way to avoid staring blankly at a white page until the words “just come.” For some, mental activity mimics physical activity, so speaking into your recorder while in motion–on your treadmill or on a walk–could get your creativity flowing.

man at desk walking on hamster wheel

You Will Never Forget an Important Thought You Have

Ingenious ideas don’t always strike at the most convenient times. You could be crawling at a glacial pace in rush hour traffic when that ah-hah moment hits. Instead of fishing through your bag for a pen (lipliner or eyeliner if you’re feeling desperate and clever), drifting into rush hour pals’ rides, tap that record button and keep both hands on the wheel.

Voice recorders are conveniently versatile, letting you capture everything from client quotes to your child’s first words.

You Are Able to Save Important Information While On-The-Go

In this juggling act we call modern life, efficiency hacks are welcomed with open arms. Say you hop off an important call with exactly five minutes before your next coffee meeting down the road. Don’t stop to write down the highlights of that call. You don’t have time for that. Walk and talk out the important points. Better yet, strut. Because you’re killing the productivity game.

Instead of Reading, You Get to Listen to Your Ideas

The eye fatigue is real. Give those screen-weary peepers a breather and hit the playback button to review your audio. If you like what you hear and want to have it in writing, services like Rev will transcribe it into text for only $1 per audio minute. Rev’s Voice Recorder app lets you do it all with a tap of a button.

The Final Word on Voice Recorders

Voice recorders are conveniently versatile, letting you capture everything from client quotes to your child’s first words. Like a virtual aid to memory, it captures easily-forgotten details, improving accuracy and precision in your day-to-day life. Once you capture the information you need, transcribe the audio recording with 99% accuracy and a 12-hour turnaround time. Join over 100,000 other customers and start making the most of Rev’s fast, affordable transcription services.