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How To Write Effective Board Meeting Minutes

board meeting minutes

The board meeting is an important business meeting, which brings together an organization’s directors. In their capacity as the overseers of a business entity, directors will come together in a board meeting with board meeting minutes for strategic deliberations.

This forum helps them to review the organization’s past performance. They will then endorse any new plan of action and issue guidelines for the support of various growth initiatives. The chairperson of the board presides over the board meeting while the secretary writes the minutes. So how can a secretary of the board write effective board meeting minutes?

Make adequate preparations for the meeting

First, you need to develop a meeting agenda and then distribute it to the directors. Artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistant tools such as Aira can ease sharing your meeting agenda with your directors.

Aira helps not only in the minute writing process but can transcribe your board meeting. It will automatically join your online meetings, listen in, and list all action items. It will then send your board meeting minutes to all your directors at the end of the meeting.

Why is the agenda so important? Most meetings cannot meet their objectives because of poor preparation. To ensure that the boardroom does not fall into chaos during a meeting, sufficient groundwork is vital. First, you need to understand that your directors are a “brain trust”.

They make some of the most challenging decisions for the best interest of your business. To meet this need, they have to have access to all information. They need to be in tune with the meeting’s agenda before D-day.

Prepare the agenda document early so you have enough time to share it with the stakeholders for feedback. The basics of an agenda should include:

  • The meeting starting and stopping time
  • The names of the participants
  • The location of the meeting
  • The objective of the meeting, the topics of discussion, and the outcomes that the directors should expect

The final agenda document should have topics in order of importance. All topics should have key points and allocate time for each discussion for time management. The agenda should also outline all the material that the participants need to review before the meeting kicks off.

Enlist their roles and responsibilities in the meeting to keep your minute writing task as smooth as possible.

meeting-preparation

Use the agenda to write the board meeting minutes

With your agenda at hand, writing effective board meeting minutes will be a walk in the park. You can use the meeting agenda as a template to make the process as straightforward as possible. The secretary should take the meeting minutes as per the format that the board approves.

To ensure that your method of taking notes is consistent with that of the board, review any past minutes for confirmation. One good tip to apply when writing board meeting minutes is the use of an objective voice. 

Avoid being caught up in contentious votes or controversies. Avoid arguments and debates that crop up by sticking to the facts. Follow the agenda’s principal topics and document their discussions as the meeting progresses.

Second, remember that board-meeting minutes are legal documents. They can act as official proof of a meeting and its deliberations. You should therefore note important details such as:

  • The time, date, and venue of the board meeting
  • All attendees in attendance, their titles, and rationale for being part of the forum
  • A write up of all motions and the seconds and the outcome
  • The director’s decisions and focus

Write meeting minutes that capture the meeting’s events to keep the organization safe from any liability that scant minutes can cause. To make board meeting minute writing more manageable use Aira. This AI meeting assistant is not only a powerful minute taking and transcription tool, but is great for scheduling too.

It will help in the setup of your meeting and share your meeting’s agenda before the meeting to ease the minute writing process for you.

Aira
Aira

Post-meeting analysis

After the meeting, go through the meeting minutes, reviewing the agenda. Using Aira’s records of the meeting, add any notes that can enhance clarification to the topic and agenda. Go through the director’s votes, motions and actions, and review the decisions noted down for clarity.

Make sure that the official record of the meeting is clear, to the point, and legible. Where possible, affix the documents and handouts that were part of the director’s discussions.

Sign, file, and share the minutes

The board meeting minutes are still not official documents of the organization until the board secretary has his signature on them. Some companies may also require the president’s signature on the minutes.

The best practice is to review your organization’s policies, protocols, and bylaws regarding signatures. Share the official board meeting minutes with all directors. A meeting assistant tool like Aira is best suited for sharing minutes and any action points.

Conclusion

The purpose of the board meeting minutes is to display the director’s intentions in a legal and official document. This makes the need to write effective board meeting notes a critical business need. Use the tips above to document the proceedings of the board. Enhance the minute writing process using the best artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

How To Create Better Action Item List From Meetings

action item list

An action item list is an important tool for task management. Without an action items list, you could very easily overlook important tasks that need to be accomplished or go about your day quite inefficiently.

Using an action item list, however, doesn’t automatically make task accomplishment easier. It’s not uncommon to find teams that end their workday with pending actionable tasks on their to-do lists.

If you or your team are struggling with task deadlines, we will show you how to overcome this problem by creating better action items lists. We will also introduce you to a tool called Aira, that eliminates the hustle of minute taking and plans your action items for you.

Before we go into that, let’s first define “action item”.

What Is an Action Item?

During meetings, team members come up with tasks. A couple of steps need to be taken for that task or project to move smoothly. Those steps are called action items. Each action item has a person assigned to it, and that person is responsible for completing it.

The completion of each action item moves the project closer to a specified deadline (you could envision this as a finish line). To accomplish all project tasks, you must complete every action item properly and on time. For this to happen, you must set action items to properly. This means:

  • Every team member knows exactly what they are required to do
  • Each member can easily monitor and track project progress
  • Keeping deadlines realistic hence easy to meet
  • As a result, productivity will be high as tasks will be more seamlessly completed

It’s not enough to have the intention to complete a task Even merely stating that things need to get done doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get done. With an action item list, you create a map that will guide you towards your success by following simple steps.

What should an Action Item List look like?

At this point, you are probably wondering what a good action item list looks like. To answer that question, let’s consider an example of what your action items shouldn’t look like:

Example: Sample action item list

  • Vendor shortlist
  • Purchase models
  • Sales meeting

So, what’s wrong with this list?

For starters, it is vague. It’s difficult to know what those details mean. In fact, it looks just like any other list.

Great action items should be

  • Actionable
  • Clear: Complete and well-stated to remove vagueness
  • Easy to understand and manage

Here’s how to create an action item list that has these qualities.

The 7 rules that will help you create better Action Items from meetings

Rule 1: Tasks aren’t action items

tasks are not action items

A list like the one in the example above is made up of tasks. Each of these tasks is accomplished by taking a series of steps.

To make tasks actionable, you need to figure out the what, who and when of each task:

E.g Vendor search:

  • What steps exactly, need to be taken?
  • Who will take those steps?
  • When?  

Rule 2: Use verbs

Verbs are action words. “Vendor shortlist” on its own doesn’t say much. However, when stated as “prepare a vendor shortlist”, that gives a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

Using verbs not only defines what needs to be done, but also makes you mentally ready to take action.

Verbs also make it easier to recall details of tasks, which is important when handling projects that contain multiple or complex tasks.

Rule 3: Make them SMART

Teams that work with all the information they need are more likely to complete their tasks than teams that don’t. When you make your action items SMART, it means that you have included as much information as possible to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound.

An added advantage of using this approach is that it helps with future recall. Action items usually make sense in context, therefore going to greater lengths to provide SMART details helps with better recall in the future.

Rule 4: Reduce the focus of action items to the most minimum unit

An action item should be minimal in focus. That is, it should focus only on one thing. If you can break down your action item into smaller steps, then it is too complex and broad in focus.

Ensure that action items are broken down into their smallest tasks. For example, “prepare a vendor shortlist” can be broken down into many steps and is therefore a very complex action item. Minimizing it so that its steps become action items will make it more manageable.

Rule 5: Watch out for dependencies

Some actions are dependent on other actions. For instance, if Julie from marketing doesn’t compile a list of known vendors, June from sales cannot set appointments with those vendors. Dependencies are best managed when everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do and by when they should do it.

  • Point out dependencies where they exist to makes team members more conscious about holding back other colleagues from completing their actions.
  • Prioritize tasks with dependencies to allow other members to accomplish their tasks.  

Rule 6: Turn your process into a template

Your first attempt at creating a better action item list is going to feel a bit cumbersome. It might even consume a lot of your time. However, being meticulous with details the first time around will give you a template to work with in future.

This process can become even easier when you use Aira to automate minute taking for your meetings. Aira creates action items from your meeting discussions, thereby reducing the amount of work you need to do.

As Aira integrates with CRM and other platforms, you can easily import the action items into that software to set up and track your project workflows.  

Conclusion

Action items guide teams on what they need to do and helps them achieve those obligations by a certain deadline. If your team members still have unaccomplished items on their schedule by the end of their workday, watch out for these problems:

  • Is the focus of the action items too broad?
  • Can teams easily find action items assigned to them or do they have to comb through long lists?  
  • Are your team members overwhelmed by too many tasks?

Then, follow the process outlined above to create better action item lists.

How To Extract Minutes From Google Meet With AIRA

extract minutes from Google Meet

Zoom’s quick rise from obscurity to international stardom has been the talk of the year. A conspicuous move, it has caught the eye of rivals like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Consequently, all virtual meeting apps are responding to Zoom’s meteoritic rise in various ways.

Google is also cashing into the year’s vast online meeting, yoga classes, and birthday party needs. It is tapping into the online get-together space using Google Meet. An enterprise-only product, it is now free to all Google account owners.

This makes Google Meet a perfect meeting tool for businesses. Leverage the power of artificial intelligence meeting tools like Aira for productivity, and you have the perfect meeting setup. Unlike Zoom, Google Meet is free from privacy and security concerns. 

This app will support a free hour of meeting time for a minimum of 100 people. Its view displays sixteen meeting participants. To enhance security, your team members will need to log in to Google to join your meeting.

No Zoom like invite links. This way, the hosts have total control of the meeting’s privacy. Goodbye Zoombombing. Additionally, you can join a Meet meeting via a calendar invite. If you do not have one, the app will take you to a green room, until the host allows you in.

Google Online Meeting might soon become a more popular online meeting app for businesses. This begs the question; can you draw meeting minutes from the meeting platform?

How to extract minutes from Google Meet

Image credits: unsplash.com

Video conferencing tools have become a critical part of everyday life. For this reason, businesses need to make the content that their employees create within them easily accessible. Schools, on the other hand, have to ensure that students, teachers, parents, and the authorities can review these items at the drop of a hat.

Any person without a video or internet connection should access Meet’s transcriptions. You can put your Meet content in writing by allowing your app’s advanced features to record the meeting. The G Suite or Google Workspace members can record all meetings through the process below:

  1. Start the meeting and go to the screen’s right-hand side. You will see three vertical dots. Click on them.
  2. A few settings features will pop up. Choose “Record Meeting”
  3. The app will ask you to consent to the recording. Follow its instructions and accept.
  4. A “REC” red rectangle will appear on your screen’s top left. This is a sign the Meet is recording your app.
  5. When the meeting is over, go back to the right-hand side and click on the three dots.
  6. Select “Stop Recording” from the menu
  7. The app will save the recorded content to Google Drive
  8. Google Meet will inform all meeting members when a session is recording.
  9. To transcribe your meeting minutes, you can either listen in and type or pay for transcription services.
  10. To reproduce your recordings in writing, upload your files to a transcription app of choice
  11. Set up all the in-app parameters
  12. Check out and wind up the order
  13. Review and download your transcripts

Google Meet
Google Meet

Extract minutes from Google Meet with AIRA

Aira is an intelligent meeting assistant that will manage all your business’s web meeting needs. Powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, Aira will write meeting notes and capture action items. She can intelligently pick up a meeting’s keywords and can join a meeting automatically.

All she needs to arrive on time, every time, is access to your calendar app. Aira also records all the meetings she is in attendance. Need transcription services? No problem, leave it to Aira. She integrates with amongst other tools, Gmail.

Accessing meeting notes via third party transcription services is not a seamless process. Aira can make this process straightforward in both Google Meet and Zoom. Synchronize your Meet’s recordings to Aira and she will automatically extract meeting notes from them.

Aira
Aira

Why should you extract meeting minutes from Meets using Aira?

  • To enhance collaboration

If any of your meeting members misses the meeting, they will receive the meeting minutes to keep them up to date. They will not need to scroll through the whole recording for enlightenment.

  • To save time

Minutes are more digestible and allow their readers to quickly zone in on matters that concern them the most.

  • For multipurpose use

You can send the meeting minutes to all stakeholders to keep them up to date. The error-free notes can also work as training or educational content.

  • Accountability

Meeting minutes keeps every meeting member accountable. Aira intelligently highlights action items for review before and during the next meeting.

Conclusion

Google Meet is not a new kid on the block. It has been there for ages, under its old title; Hangouts Meet. In the past, Google only lets in educational and enterprise users. The American multinational tech firm has now made Google Meet free for Google account owners. Use it alongside intelligent meeting assistants to enhance productivity and collaboration.

Image credits: Unsplash.com

5 Best Meeting Assistant Apps That Will Rule The Web In 2021

meeting assistant apps

Do you know that over 78% of meeting participants find their meeting schedules unmanageable? Upper management is setting meetings times that leave workers feeling out of control. Disorganized meetings are so unpopular in the workplace, that most employees would rather visit the dentist than attend them.

The best meeting assistant apps can change the business meeting processes. They can enhance collaboration, engagement, and productivity. Some of the best meeting apps in 2021 include;

1. Aira

Aira

Minute taking can be a significant challenge for any meeting leader or participant. For this reason, every business should have a tool like Aira at hand to handle all minute writing. This app can also record video and transcribe.

As an illustration, you could attend a meeting expecting a conversation to follow a linear pattern. Then the participants diverge from the topics at hand. Such a situation will leave the minute taker confused about what to write. They cannot humanly transcribe every word and sift through the minutes later for gems.

Minute taking is also very distracting. If the person taking minutes has a deep involvement in the agenda, it will limit their contribution. Intelligent meeting assistant tools like Aira can ease these challenges. Aira is an artificial intelligence-powered tool that records meeting proceedings.

It will transcript all conversations and produce a voice recording at your meeting’s end. The perfect meeting assistant, it uses AI technology to track the agenda and topics.

It will then make succinct notes from your meeting. Aira will also analyze the meeting’s action items and email them to all attendees. Aira increases productivity, encourages collaboration, and keeps every meeting member up to date and accountable.


2. Calendly

Calendly

Scheduling meetings can be a tremendous source of frustration. There is nothing as worse than “Sorry, can’t make it”, heard ten times over. There is always a person too busy to attend a meeting in a particular moment.

Consequently, the meeting leader has to keep going back to the drawing board to suggest new meeting times. Then, they have to undergo the whole peeving process once more. Platforms like Calendly can make meeting scheduling much easier.

This app shows other meeting members your availability and offers them meeting times that suit all parties. If you have one too many meeting requests and need to manage your replies, go for Calendly. It will connect to your calendar app, and is compatible with Microsoft Office, iCal, and Google Calendar.

Design a meeting via Calendly and send scheduling links to all people that need to attend. The app will synchronize all confirmations to your calendar and that of your invitees. To help you connect to customers and clients, Calendly integrates with Zoom, HubSpot, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, and Zapier.


3. Slack

Slack

Slack is a business messaging app that makes internal communication between colleagues effortless. Meeting members can send real-time messages to each for collaboration in an intuitive user interface. 

A team-messaging app, Slack has many useful features that include its groups and channels features. You can also video call your meeting members via Slack for quick chats. Slack integrates with a horde of beneficial business platforms.

One of its newest integrations includes the Zoom app. You can use Slack to manage your Zoom meetings or make calls through the popular meeting platform. As an illustration, the meeting leader can launch a Zoom meeting from the Slack interface.

On Slack, all meeting participants will view all meeting details, including the call’s participants. Zoom-Slack integration will enhance problem solving and decision-making. Slack has smart calendar integrations with the Google and Outlook calendars.


4. HubSpot

Hubspot

Time management and scheduling are very important skills in today’s high-stress environments. People have tons of deadlines and tasks to complete. They have to handle their core jobs and prioritize time for meetings.

They also have health, family, and other social issues to deal with. HubSpot’s meeting scheduling application is free and makes quick work of the time-consuming coordination process. Using the HubSpot CRM, you can set up a personalized meeting-booking link. Share it via email.

The link will act as an invitation and scheduler, highlighting the most suitable meeting time. Meeting members will then notify you of their availability via this link. The HubSpot CRM integrates with a wide range of useful business tools.

Of critical importance to its meeting, scheduling functions are its Office 365 and Google Calendar integrations. Consequently, you can use this 100% free tool to build contact records that you can track.


5. Arrangr

Arrangr

Arrangr is a top-notch meeting assistant tool with “intelligent” scheduling features. It has an Intelligent Spot Finder that analyzes ratings, reviews, distances, and pictures. It uses this data to suggest the perfect meeting spot.

Arrangr will also share half waypoint ideas with all meeting members to ensure convenience. This app has a flexible invite feature that sends a variety of meeting times and dates to members for choice. It also allows all members to notify each other of their online conference call or video platforms.

When the best meeting times are set, Arrangr will release the leftover slots. Some of its turnkey features include the creation of automatic meeting pins and numbers and video call links. This meeting assistant tool integrates with iCloud, Google, and Office calendar applications.


Conclusion

Meetings are at the heart of creativity and problem-solving. Productive meetings can positively affect your bottom line and enhance your company’s culture. Use the five meeting assistant apps above to schedule and manage your meetings today.

How To Take Better Meeting Notes From An Online Meeting

meeting notes

Have you ever thought to yourself while in a meeting, “I’ll jot down the meeting notes when I get to my desk.” At that moment, you probably thought that you were going to retain all the content discussed in the meeting. But, later, you may have been surprised to realize just how much information passed you by.

This is quite normal because in a typical workday, you are probably juggling a lot of activities and deadlines, including meetings. For this reason, it is possible to attend a meeting, sit through it and yet not retain important details.

If this sounds like something you have gone through before, we have some tips for you. In this article, we’ll show you how note-taking doesn’t have to be this arduous task that you have to dread. We will also show you how with Aira, you don’t have to put off note taking till later.

Before we begin, let’s define meeting notes.

What are meeting notes?

People usually confuse meetings and meeting notes; one is often taken for the other. While both meeting notes and minutes are somewhat the same, meeting notes serve as a quick summary of ideas discussed during a meeting. Meeting notes are also informal.

Meeting notes are important when you want to record information in a way that you will understand, or that is unique to you. some people also take notes as part of their creative process.

Minutes on the other hand, are structured, formal records of a meeting, and their job is to note down:

  • Meeting attendance (present and absent)
  • Meeting start and end times
  • Broad topics discussed
  • Decisions arrived at during a meeting

How can you take better meeting notes during an online meeting?

Even though meeting notes are formal, following a structure when writing them is important for future recall. The last thing you want is a scrap pad filled with cluttered meeting notes that you cannot make head or tail of.

Great meeting notes should be simple and have the following qualities:

  • Provide context
  • Have relevant details
  • Be legible, whether expressed in full sentences or shorthand 
  • Have ideas that flow logically into each other 

What details should you include in your meeting notes?

For your online meeting notes to be exhaustive and complete, they should include the following details

  • Main discussion points. A lot is said during a meeting, but not all of it is worth noting down. Therefore, to avoid ending up with copious amounts of notes, first, note down important points. Second, expound on those points in a few sentences.  
  • Action items. What is the task? To whom is it assigned? What is the deadline for completing the task?
  • Questions. Write down any points you want to clarify and ask them during the Q&A session.
  • Follow ups and ideas. Ideas may start coming up during a meeting. Such ideas may be the beginning of new projects therefore it’s important to write them down.

Manual and automated note taking  

There are two ways to take manual notes:

  • Manually, either by writing or typing
  • Automated note taking

Manual note taking: Laptop vs pen and paper

Some people prefer to write down their notes while others prefer to use a laptop. There are downsides and upsides to each method.

Research shows that people tend to type verbatim. The upside of typing however, is that organizing and editing points is a lot easier. When using a pen, you will note down the main points. The downside of course is that if you need to send out the notes to people, you have to type them out later.

Therefore, what it comes down to when deciding whether to write down notes using pen and paper or to type them out on your laptop, is preference.

How to take better meeting notes manually

Manual note taking requires skill. If you don’t have those skills, you will fall behind during the meeting and important information to pass you by.

Here’s how to take manual notes easily:

Use shorthand

Shorthand is a writing system that is mostly used by administrative assistants who normally need to type a lot of notes throughout their day. It is a good system to use if you already possess the skill. If you don’t, you first have to learn how to do shorthand scribbles before you start using it.

Codify

Another way to keep up the pace when taking meeting notes manually is to codify some parts. For instance:

  • Use abbreviations. For example, use “max”, instead of maximum
  • Use an asterisk * to mark important points
  • Use an exclamation mark (!) to note urgent items

Automated meeting note taking

Automating the note taking process can make work easier for you. There are many tools for automating note taking, and all of them have different capabilities.

One of the reasons why we favor Aira is because of its audio recording capability. Not only does Aira’s audio recordings ensure that nothing is missed, the meeting app notes down keywords, making it easier to pick out important details that were discussed in a meeting. 

What’s more, you don’t need to jot down the notes yourself because you can print the transcript from the meeting and circle or underline whatever you need to refer to.

  • The notes are organized and clutter free
  • The app provides context for the meeting notes

Conclusion

Online meetings happen between people who cannot be in the same room or location. If you are then stuck taking notes, it’s possible to appear aloof or even rude to other participants. Not to mention, internet lag time can make it almost impossible to follow and take notes at the same time. Thankfully, with a meeting note app such as Aira, you can reduce the hustle of note taking and improve note accuracy while conducting online meetings.

Image credits: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

10 Tips For Having A Successful Web Conferencing

web conferencing

If, prior to this year, you conducted majority of your meetings face-to-face, you have no doubt had to adjust to the new reality of web conferencing. One thing you may have realized is that you need to put the same amount of preparation in your online meetings just as you would your face to face meetings.

Because of the technical aspects involved and the fact that meeting participants are sitting in different places, web conferencing probably takes more preparation. Some aspects of it are challenging. For instance:  

  • Technology fails, e.g sound and video
  • Lack of a technical team
  • Poor turnout, as people adjust to online meetings

But if there’s one thing we can learn from one group of scientists who previously conducted their research presentations offline, it’s that these challenges shouldn’t stifle you.

The scientists have found great success with online conferencing, with some even saying that “it offers a better experience” than offline conferences. All it takes is preparation and an AI tool like Aira to facilitate the technical side. 

In this article, we will discuss tips for successful web conferencing. What can you do to prepare for a seamless online meeting? Read on for more.

1. Start with an agenda

Are you guilty of sending a meeting invite that only includes the meeting subject, time of the meeting and date? If yes, you are wasting a key opportunity to communicate vital information with your audience.

  • A meeting invite that has an agenda will ignite more interest in the recipients
  • Recipients can also go through the agenda and decide from the get-go whether the meeting is important to them or not
  • People can prepare based on agenda items, thus making your meetings more engaging and successful

2. Work on audio quality

Audio is the most important aspect of web conferencing. Without audio, people cannot hear each other. In the process, important information is missed. This then leads to frustration, loss of interest and eventually, people jump off the call. As such:

  • Test audio quality ahead of time and ask participants to do so as well

  • If your internet connection tends to be slow, work on a backup internet connection in advance
  • Have your phone as a backup in case all else fails

3. Prepare for video

Prepare for video
Prepare for video

You probably don’t observe a very strict dress code when working from home. Do you work in a t-shirt and jeans, or worse, pajamas?

This might be okay if you are not going to interact with your workmates. However, you may not want to turn up for a conference call in your pajamas. Web conferencing almost always involves video. Therefore, be prepared and dress the part.

4. Turn up early for your meeting

Since you are hosting the meeting, you must log in early for the following reasons:

  • Turning up early for your meetings sets a high punctuality standard. By the way, punctuality is a great way to stand out as a future leader in your company
  • In case of any technical problems, you can catch and troubleshoot them early 
  • You will brush up on your meeting preparation by zeroing in on the agenda items a bit more

5. Choose a tool with high-end features

Your web conferencing tool should enhance your meeting experience, not merely give you an audio and video platform.

You and your team are busy professionals, and all probably have steep targets. The last thing you want therefore, is to be deal with additional meeting-related tasks.

As much as meetings are important for conducting business, meeting-related tasks can consume a lot of your time. Therefore, your meeting tool of choice should ease those tasks.

Take AIRA, for example. It is a smart meeting tool that has these powerful features:  

  • It records and stores meetings notes and thereafter disseminates them
  • It can recognize human speech and its nuances, hence all recordings are highly accurate
  • It uses keyword recognition, which makes searching through meeting notes a lot easier  

Another great benefit of Aira is that if you or any of the other participants are travelling or cannot access their desktop, they can log in on their phones, or have Aira attend the meeting on their behalf.

6. Prepare: Research and internalize your content

If you don’t prepare, you will end up reading every word from your slides. This is why you shouldn’t read from your slides:

  • You will appear ill-prepared for your meeting, in which case, why should anyone else be prepared?
  • You will also come off as though you aren’t an expert in your subject matter
  • There will likely be reduced level of engagement when all you are doing is reading in prose form

7. Do a “temperature check” during the meeting

informal talk with meeting attendees
informal talk with meeting attendees

When web conferencing, it’s important to “go around the table” after some time has elapsed, just to be sure that you still have everyone’s attention. You can, for instance, ask a question and then get answers from each person.  You can also randomly ask for opinions on different areas from team members.

8. Tick off agenda items

Conversations are likely to digress during your web conference. As such, you could end up losing track of the meeting agenda items. Therefore, as you go along, tick off agenda items. Recap that item as you do so, so that people know that you are moving on

Ticking off items:

  • Redirects attention back to the meeting items. If for some reason someone wasn’t paying attention, they are likely to listen very closely to subsequent agenda items.
  • Helps to manage meeting time. You don’t want a meeting that prolongs unnecessarily because of interruptions.

That said, Aira can help you minimize participant interruption, keeping your meetings more focused and productive.

9. Send meeting notes and action items

Remember how we said above that Aira takes meeting notes for you? Well, that includes action items. More so, if you have enabled the right settings, Aira can automatically email notes and action items after every meeting, saving you from having to do so.

10. Follow up

Keep the momentum around the discussed topic alive by following up with meeting participants after the meeting. Individual follow up is always advisable as this way:

  • You can build a sense of urgency if an action item isn’t completed and yet you are too close to deadline
  • You can get a feel of any challenges that individuals have, and put measures in place to assist them

Conclusion

Web conferencing is now an inevitable part of our lives. As you plan your next meeting, take note of the 10 tips discussed above and implement them for greater success.

Image Credits: www.freepik.com, unsplash.com

10 Note Taking Mistakes You Really Need To Stop At Work

note taking

Bill Gates and Richard Branson are avid note takers. These self-made billionaires are often surprised that most business leaders do not take notes. Richard Branson has, for instance, noted that 99% of business executives hardly jolt down critical business insights.

The English business investor and magnate credit his ten-figure fortune to random moments scribbled on notebooks.

Bill Gates is a computer genius but he at times turns to trusty paper and pen for his notes. Truth be told; note taking is an important business process, but it is difficult. 

You can however make your note writing process much more manageable. First, have fantastic meeting notes transcription software by your side.

Artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistants like Aira will record all of your business conversations for future reference. Second, avoid these note taking mistakes below.


1. Using the wrong minute taking method

In school, you had to write your notes down, because as the lecturer said, that the content could feature in your exams. At work, you will not face such threats. Most bosses do not ask their employees to jot down notes.

For this reason, the transition from the school environment to the workplace makes the art of note taking dormant. Most office workers never get to learn the difference between office and history class note taking. 

As an illustration, students jot down notes verbatim for retention and revision purposes. At work, come up with a manageable style of taking business notes. You can use lists, mind maps, or short phrases with breadcrumbs in them.

Note specific important factors like resources, tools, figures, or names. Use transcription tools like Aira to record long discussions and use your hands to jolt down what matters the most.

Aira
Aira – Your Personal AI Meeting Assistant

2. Not knowing when to take business notes

While poor note taking is not a reason to face the sack, skipping notes can adversely affect your career. Constantly emailing colleagues and bosses for clarification on issues discussed in a meeting could hurt your work relationships and productivity.

Fortunately, you do not have to take notes in every work function. The most critical occasions are during one on one, client, or mentors meetings and during, big business conversations.

3. Not understanding why you are part of the conversation

Whenever you are in a business conversation or meeting that calls for note taking, you need to be clear of its objectives.

You also need to understand what your contribution is to the meeting and what value you are deriving from the meetup. Such clarity will lean your note taking towards development and learning topics.

4. Writing without listening

Taking business notes is a show of respect for the person taking. Writing notes shows them that what they are saying is crucial. Unfortunately, the balancing act between listening and writing can impede note taking.

You cannot write good notes if you do not understand the total concept and context of an issue. Listen, reflect, filter your thoughts, and jolt down key items.

5. Failing to specify your topics

Billionaire Richard Branson says that not all ideas count, but they are all noteworthy. Nevertheless, in a bid to capture inspiration, you could forget to cluster your notes. Such write-ups can be very difficult to comprehend later. Ensure that your note-taking process has a splendid structure.

6. Worrying about style and grammar

When writing personal notes, avoid fixating on style, grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Such worries will only distract you from the conversation. Keep writing and develop a personal note taking system as you practice.

Image Source: pexels.com

7. Not writing concise points

As mentioned, lists, mind maps, and short phrases make the best business notes. Here you can jolt down single words or sentences. Use numbered lists and bullets for flow and organization. If necessary, connect ideas using lines to lessen the need for explanatory sentences.

8. Not underlining the most important points

If you are taking tons of notes, you need a highlighting system that zeroes in the most critical points. Underline, circle, highlight, or use indentation to add emphasis and structure to your notes.

9. Panicking when you miss a point

Remember, note taking shows the speaker you are attentive to their words. It also shows that you care about your job. If you miss a part of the discussion, stay calm. Ask the presenter to reiterate the point. Besides, you can ask your colleagues after the event and add on to your notes.

10. Failing to organize your notes for later use

Most note takers have organization challenges. They might take fantastic notes but will store them so poorly that they cannot use them later when they need them. One important benefit of note taking is its ability to cement the ideas heard. Revisit your notes for this benefit to seep in. Invest in a good notebook. If you are writing on random sheets, keep them all in one location for easy future review.


Conclusion

Note taking creates not only better work relationships and increase productivity, but it shows respect in meetings. Notes will make you smarter, giving you new ideas, connections, and innovations.

Taking notes is a subtle yet potent pathway to success in the workplace. Eliminate the note taking mistakes above and enjoy the benefits of workplace note taking.

How Aira Help With Business Internal Communications Problems

internal communications

Effective internal communications. This is the one thing that any company needs to thrive and succeed. For teams to work well together, effective and clear communication needs to happen from the top down, from the bottom up, and horizontally. However, clear and concise communication isn’t always possible. Often, information flow can be interrupted for reasons as varied as:

  • Assuming that everyone knows what is going on within the company. For example, the marketing team might assume that just because an advert is running in the public media, everyone in the company is well informed about it.
  • Misinterpretation of messages. This can result from second-hand information, language barriers, loss attention during meetings, or apprehension about seeking clarity. If employees act on bad information, this could cost your company its reputation, customers, and money. You can easily prevent this from happening with an AI meeting tool like Aira.
  • Lack of team cohesion. This is often the case with teams that work in silos. For example, the sales process should involve marketing, sales and customer service teams. But, if none of these teams have visibility in what the other does, this can lead to communication breakdown.

If not checked, lack of proper internal communication can result in:

  • Employee resentment, with individuals feeling no compulsion to “go the extra mile”
  • Lack of team coordination, which in turn leads to
  • Duplication of responsibilities and tasks
  • Teams and individuals can be left out of important processes and projects
  • Burn out
  • Wastage of company resources
  • Poor company image
  • Loss of customers
  • Loss of revenue because of missed opportunities

Video: How AIRA Takes Care Of Your Business Internal Communications (Part 1-4)


How can you use AIRA to improve internal communications?

Improve your online meetings through better record keeping

Majority of internal communication in most companies is now being done online. This also includes other meeting management tasks such as organizing meetings, setting timelines for completion of different tasks, and sending minutes of meetings.

Given this, how can you track notes and action items for each, and every meeting held online?

The answer is simple: AIRA.

AIRA is an AI based assistant that

  • Makes employees’ lives simpler
  • Improves your selling process and actually results in more sales
  • Makes customer handling easier

AIRA does this by solving common communication problems that a company faces. Anyone who is present in a meeting can benefit in the following ways:

  • Track just about any meeting on your list
  • Click on notes and you would know what the meeting was all about
  • AIRA keeps a record of all online meetings and you can access them with just one click

Handling customer requirements

Every customer is unique and expects customized solutions to cater to their needs. To guarantee they get the most value for money, customers often revise their set of requirements. This can pose a challenge to a business analyst, especially one who is handling a large customer data base.  

Business analysts need to keep track of every customers’ needs without making mistakes with every revision.

AIRA makes this possible, as it allows you to easily track, through voice recordings or transcripts, all the requirements and changes that a customer has asked for. This will help you meet your customers’ requirements and consequently, keep your customers delighted. Company directors and product leaders will also find AIRA quite useful for this reason.

Product planning

Product managers, developers and executives need to ensure that teams pursue the company’s vision by:

  • Reaching goals
  • Executing on projects
  • Conducting smart evaluations of processes and products

Product managers for instance, need systematic records to make plans and fix accountabilities for execution. Without such records, tracking progress can pose a huge challenge.

How can managers use Aira to keep track of every task and make their team members accountable?

  • The AI based assistant keeps transcripts of meetings. This provides a reference point for all project meetings
  • The action item lists within Aira help product leaders, developers/executives to keep track of progress made by each individual

 

Sharing meeting notes

With online meetings becoming the new normal, it’s posing a huge challenge to individuals who might need to attend multiple meetings. Some meetings might even happen simultaneously, making it nearly impossible for you to attend all of them.

How then, can get the outcome of meetings, without attending them?

Use AIRA for one click sharing of notes/summary while keeping everyone updated, so that no one misses on important decisions or plans made during the meeting.


Conclusion

Most companies don’t usually think of a internal communications budget. Yet taking steps to improve internal communication is key to improving team performance and boosting revenue growth. A study by Towers Watson found that companies that take steps to improve internal communication experience 47% higher shareholder returns. So, ask yourself:

Do you want to build strong and productive bonds with your employees?

Do you want your employees to be comfortable expressing ideas that will help build your business?

Do you want fulfilled customers who aren’t just happy to do business with you but also refer you to others?

If yes, then start by improving your internal communications processes. Communication within your workplace will build more teamwork, create transparency and lead to better collaboration. But you cannot achieve such level of efficiency manually.

Try out AIRA.

10 Traits Of Best AI Meeting Assistant Explained

best ai meeting assistant

The age of the super AI assistants is here. Perceptive business owners are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to solve professional challenges. Machine learning mechanisms now monitor service quality and augment automation decisions. In medicine, they are augmenting medical diagnoses while in manufacturing they replicate designs.

The average office dweller is also enjoying the magic of AI development. They are not only benefitting from top-notch and personalized email management, but AI meeting assistants as well. For this reason enterprise, adoption of AI tools has grown by 270% in less than four years as per Gartner data.

AI virtual tools are lessening, meeting frustration for employees, interpreting, recording, and transcribing speech. They are the perfect meeting minute takers. Some of the traits of the best ai meeting assistant includes:

1. Meeting scheduling

aira ai meeting assistant

One of the best traits of a virtual meeting assistant platform like Aira is her meeting scheduling capability. Aira will record, transcribe, and analyze your meetings. This fantastic AI-powered technology will also automate your business’s meeting scheduling on your behalf. Her machine learning and artificial intelligence capability will analyze your workers’ productivity patterns for nuances of timing preferences.

In doing so, she can distribute events effectively. Her meeting scheduling action will have a minimal impact on your team’s deep work. Aira saves your employees from minute taking and distribution woes. She informs all stakeholders of the meeting event too.

2. Automatic time monitoring

AI tools are proficient at automatic time tracking. This trait of AI meeting assistant technology captures your employees’ time data into timesheets. This characteristic creates a culture of honest hours at work. As a result, your meetings will be more productive as employees review time use on the AI tool’s interface. The best platforms offer an interruption and timer free time tracking feature. This way, meetings remain distraction-free.

3. Meeting documentation

AI meeting assistants have speech recognition features that process all information during meetings. They will register all decisions and actions and highlight every speaker’s core duties. Afterward, the tool will store all meeting notes centrally for sharing and follow-up purposes.

4. Company data sharing

Meeting preparation takes up a massive amount of office time from the meeting’s organizer. They will need to dig up company documents, artifacts, past minutes, reports, or old emails. This groundwork makes meetings a success.

These AI platforms can manage files across different work frameworks during this preparatory stage. All knowledge will be within reach, saving up time and employee time.

5. Meeting analytics

Rapid improvements in AI technology have led to the creation of analytics-driven tools that detect patterns in data. Using machine-learning algorithms, they can observe user behavior and adapt to it. Consequently, this technology has become key in optimizing industrial operations. AI virtual assistants can analyze your meetings and suggest optimization improvements to enhance productivity.

6. Contract analysis

Business contracts can be intimidating. Fortunately, intelligent meeting assistant tools can analyze the legal jargon on your behalf. This action will help identify risks, requirements, and opportunities.

7. Email management

Do you know that the average cube dweller receives 121 emails each day? These missives convey event invitations, content, or deals messages. To gauge just how important all this mail is, click on them and study the content. Popping email notifications can be an enormous distraction in the workplace.

With them constantly vying for your employees’ attention, they will have a harder time accomplishing their tasks. Worse is that, once they drive your mind to distraction, it will take close to 23 minutes to get back on track. An AI assistant platform can manage your inbox.

It will study your preferences and patterns, then offer personalized help on your email flow. This will kill email hyperresponsiveness. This phenomenon chops down office hours into little slots of productive time because of distractions.

8. Expense and payment auditing

Finance teams can leverage AI meeting assistants to audit invoices. They can also use them to analyze expenses before initiating payments. This will cut down on team spending and optimize their processes. Since intelligent platforms integrate with other back-office technology, they will not disrupt the existing processes.

9. HR processes

Intelligent platforms can analyze millions of job postings and zero in on suitable matches. They will serve you with the best match for your workplace. They can also re-target older applicants and schedule meetings.

10. Meeting room experience enhancement

Beyond highlighting action items, the AI tool can also increase meeting effectiveness. As an illustration, some platforms have a background replacement feature. Others can suppress background noise and offer real-time meeting transcription.

Conclusion

The ultimate luxury in business is an assistant at hand who anticipates your needs. They will take action on your behalf where necessary and listen for your calls. The AI meeting assistant is a perfect, affordable, all rounded, and more efficient personal assistant.

These platforms can perform a variety of functions and can be omnipresent in every corner of your business. The useful traits of the best AI meeting assistant will enhance your bottom-line and increase productivity amongst all your teams.

10 Productivity Software You Should Start Using Now

productivity software

How do you know you are being productive? Is it:

  • When you are getting work done?
  • When your life is organized?
  • When meetings and other collaborative projects are progressing without a hitch?

If you identify with any of the above, you know that Productivity is not a concept unique to the workplace but is also important to aspects of your personal life.

In this article, we will look at 10 productivity software that will help you to become more productive in your work and personal life. these apps will help you do the following:

  • Create better workflows
  • Work smarter by e. g, automating repetitive tasks
  • Become more organized by for example managing your inbox
  • Hold efficient meetings. Example, by automating note taking and minute taking with AIRA
  • Achieve your goals: for example
  • Time savings
  • Finish your project in time
  • Perform better at work so that you can get promoted
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Improve work output, e.g, revenue

Read on below to learn about tools you can use to start being productive starting now.

10 Productivity Software to Try Out:

1. Dragon Naturally Speaking

dragon

Dictating can sometimes be easier than typing, especially if you’ve been working at your desk endlessly. The longer you type, the more your speed dwindles, your accuracy goes down, you become fidgety and eventually lose focus. Thankfully, Dragon naturally speaking allows you to switch to your new tempo of work by dictating to your device. This ensures you can keep working instead of abandoning your project because of fatigue.

The different editions that the software comes in make it an ideal tool for working on topics from practically any industry. For instance, the dragon home is ideal for dictating general content. There’s also dragon legal, dragon law enforcement, among others.

At $150, dragon naturally speaking maybe a little on the costly side, but it really is value for money, considering it’s very accurate.

Price

Dragon Home: $150

Other editions: Contact Nuance team

2. AIRA

Business cannot be conducted without meetings. A lot of times though, meetings can waste time if:

  • They take too long
  • Minute and note taking are done manually
  • They are disorderly
  • Agenda items are not clear
  • They are irrelevant to attendees

That is where Aira comes in. Aira is an ai meeting assistant that creates efficiency in meetings by automating:

  • Minute taking
  • Meeting scheduling (including checking for meeting overlaps)
  • Following up on action items
  • Document sharing and storage

Aira analytics tracks meeting performance. In addition, the keywords feature helps attendees and other team members to scan through meeting notes quicker and find what is relevant to them.

Pricingcontact team Aira

3. Evernote

evernote

Note-taking is an essential part of most professionals’ and students’ lives. That’s why Evernote makes this list. Whatever the nature of your project, you can use Evernote to

  • Jot down ideas
  • Curate content during the research phase of your work

Evernote records written audio or image content. You can also sketch with the app or upload PDFs. The app not only searches your saved content by word, but also by image. This means that any search will return the corresponding text and image content that you have saved. With the paid subscriptions, you can also search PDFs.

Although Evernote is mostly for boosting personal productivity, you can also use it to collaborate on projects that involve note sharing and editing.

Pricing

Basic: Free

Premium: $7.99/month

Business: $14.99/user/month

4. IFTTT

ifttt

There are simply too many things going on in our daily work and personal lives, that you cannot keep track of all of them. But, fear not, because IFTTT (If this, then that), can automatically update you whenever things that you’re interested in, happen, either online, or locally on your devices.

For instance, if you need to keep track of brand activities on Facebook, you can tell IFTTT “if someone mentions my brand online, then email me their comments. “

Although you may consider some tasks as mundane, they still contribute to your overall success. IFTTT is really good at handling mundane tasks. For instance, sending meeting reminders is a time consuming, mundane task. But attending meetings is important. So, let IFTTT handle your reminders while you do other productive work.

PricingContact the sales team

5. Sane Box

sane box

Email organization is a key part of productivity. It’s quite likely that most of the emails you receive aren’t all-important. Even if they are, they aren’t all high priority. That’s where the Sane Box comes in. Sane box organizes your mailbox by automatically moving unimportant emails from your inbox into new folders.

Sane box decides on email importance levels in the following ways:

  • All emails from contacts that aren’t in your address book are treated as cold calls
  • It learns. You have to give sane box feedback so that in future, it knows how to treat the emails you receive

If you usually get lots of emails daily, this is one app to try out.

Pricing

Snack: $59/year

Lunch: $99/year

Dinner: $299/year

6. Strict Workflow

strict workflow

Focus (or lack of it), is a key issue for most people. A lot of people out there (perhaps including you) cannot work on a project for extended periods of time. For some, this focus period can be as short as a few minutes. That is why the Pomodoro technique was invented. So that for 25 minutes, you can focus on nothing, but work, and you only get to rest for a few minutes once your 25 minutes are up.

Strict workflow enforces the Pomodoro technique. Say you need to work on your project for 4 hours, what you do is divide that time into 25-minute sessions. This increases productivity because it’s a reward-based system. That is, work then claim your reward.

The strict workflow works as a browser plugin.

PricingFree

7. X1 Search

x1

Some people are tidy. They know their files and folders by name date and number (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration there), but you get the point. Some people can find everything on their laptop quite easily.

But, if you struggle with the personal organization on your computer, you might need a tool like X1 Search. It’s a tool that finds files in your document folders, archives, mailboxes, calendars, SharePoint.

Although in the end, we’d recommend a tool that helps you tidy up your desktop, in the meantime, use X1 search to easily navigate through your messy storage system.

Pricing

Free: 14 day trial period

Single user: $96/license

Enterprise: Contact the team

8. G Suite for business

GSuite

It’s not always possible to be at your desk working on your desktop. But you’ll always have your phone on you. That’s why G Suite is every android phone owner’s dream come true. Whether you’re on your commute, on a business trip or just relaxing on the couch, you can use G Suite to continue working on your projects.

Some important features in G Suite include:

  • Video and audio conferencing
  • Gmail
  • Collaborative tools including Google sheets and Google docs
  • Shared calendars
  • Autosave and auto-sync

G Suite pricing starts at $6/person monthly. But if you are on the move a lot, it is well worth your while because your teams don’t need to be grounded when not in the office.

Pricing

Basic: $6/user/month

Business: $12/user/month

Enterprise: $25/user/month

9. Prezi

Prezi

A lot of professionals often have to put on elaborate presentations for their customers, but they don’t like the process of putting together a slide deck.

  • For one, standard presentations take too long to complete
  • In addition, a standard slide deck just doesn’t capture ideas so well because the formats just don’t seem to fit

If you have the same problem, you should give Prezi a go.

With Prezi, you can work on your projects on a digital whiteboard. Then, you film the content on the board and record a film of that content. You can also choose from a wide variety of templates to suit your presentation requirements.

Pricing

Free: 14-day trial

Standard: $5/month

Plus: $15/month

Premium: $59/month

10. Apple iWork

iWork

iWork is to Mac OS users what Gsuite is to Android users. The app allows anyone with an iPad or iPhone to keep working on the go. iWork does that with the following features:

  • A document editor
  • A spreadsheet tool
  • For creating presentations

PriceiWork is free and can work as an app on your iPhone. If you have an iCloud account, you can also use the web app for free.

Conclusion

These tools are just a small percentage of all the productivity tools available online. We encourage you to try them out to address any personal and work productivity issues you may have. Most of them have a trial period, so, make use of that to get better acquainted with the apps before paying.

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