If your workweek is filled with meetings, you no doubt agree that running effective meetings is very important. One way to guarantee this is by taking down action items and subsequently following upon them to ensure they are completed.
Meetings without effective task- or decision follow up are a waste of time. The good news is though, that there are several tools in use today that guarantee proper meeting planning, minute taking, task scheduling, and follow up of action items. We will discuss these tools below:
How to choose a tool for taking meeting action items
During a meeting, participants often get assigned tasks. The expectation is that those participants should accomplish the task after the meeting and report back on progress or upon completion, and usually by a set date. Action items are part of meeting minutes; therefore, it is difficult to use separate tools for taking minutes from tools used for action-item tracking.
Effective action items have these two characteristics:
- They are concise and
- They are clear
As such, when choosing a tool for taking down meeting action items, you should choose a tool that addresses the following areas:
Action items aren’t just simple task reminders. Tasks should be listed in such a way to eliminate misunderstandings among all participants and the task owner.
It is also possible, with time, for participants to forget important details around a task. Therefore, the more details you can record when all participants are present, the less likely you are to experience misunderstandings later on. When everyone exits the meeting, they should do so with a consistent message.
Are you just involving your team in busywork? Is there a clear objective to your task? Note down the importance of undertaking a task. A side benefit of defining the “why” of tasks is that it helps to identify activities that are unimportant.
Tasks have to be completed on time to prevent backlog pileup and project derailment. As the “meeting owner” or project manager, it is your role to follow up on action items to ensure their completion. It is therefore important to choose a tool that allows you to message people, call them, schedule new deadlines, etc.
This is about ownership. Anyone who is assigned an action item is responsible for ensuring its completion.
It’s also important to establish task dependencies because sometimes, some tasks need to be accomplished before others can begin. For instance, marketing needs to run an ad campaign. But to do this, they need a sanitized list of accounts to target. This task falls on the analyst. So, before marketing can plan their campaign, the analyst needs to work on the data to support the campaign.
That said, below are 7 smart tools that will help you win at taking action items
As mentioned, decisions and tasks should be actionable. Meistertask is a tool for task management that integrates with MindMeister, an online meeting tool. Meistertask makes it possible for teams to collaborate and be productive.
Meistertask has the following features:
- Tasks and ideas that are in MindMeister can be exported to MeisterTask and assigned as action items
- You can add due dates to tasks.
- Create checklists and add attachments
- It is web-based; hence remote teams can work without having to worry about software updates
- You can access it offline
- Access through mobile on iOS, Android,
2. Meeting King
There are several ways to create and manage tasks on MeetingKing.
First, you can add new tasks from the main navigation. Second, MeetingKing has a note taking area where you write notes and save them as tasks, assign responsibilities and a due date. Third, a great feature of meeting in is that it adds action items to the agenda of follow up meetings. This prevents important tasks from falling through the cracks.
Some features that make MeetingKing a great tool for managing action items include:
- You can add notes and images to created tasks
- Created tasks can be emailed to task owners and also added to the meeting owner’s and task owner’s task lists
- You can contextualize tasks for easier follow up with departments or project teams
- View all tasks or filter tasks based on context (department, project, product, person)
- View task status in three columns: ideas, to do, completed tasks
- Add new ideas to the parking lot, to avoid derailing the current agenda
|Pro Single (1 User)||$9.95|
|Pro Small (5 Users)||$39.95|
|Pro Medium (10 Users)||$64.95|
|Pro Large (25 Users)||$124.95|
Ntask is a project, team and meeting management tool all wrapped up in one. It is also great for tracking and managing issues and risks.
Some meeting management features in Ntask include:
- Creating meetings with a clear agenda, start and end times,
- Linking meetings to tasks
- Decision and action follow up
- Once you schedule a meeting on Ntask, you can give editing rights so that participants can work on meeting material, including the agenda, decisions and actions.
- You can also send meeting reminders by email to unlimited members.
- The free version allows users to schedule unlimited tasks.
- Ntask has mobile versions for both Android and iOS.
Note however that you cannot do voice or video conferences on Ntask as the software doesn’t come with that feature.
Meetin.gs is a yet another useful meeting management tool, whose integrations with other software make it an ideal tool for organizing and streamlining meetings across social media tools, CRM, address books and your calendar.
It features a notification system, an attractive and interactive interface and the ability to integrate with google hangout, skype and Microsoft Lync. Meetin.gs also has meeting management capabilities such as:
- Collaborative management of agenda. Teams can edit meeting agenda and edit or comment on uploaded documents and other material
- Create, assign and manage action items collaboratively
- View your meetings and related activities in a timeline
- Save time by importing meetings from your calendar, including participants
Meetin.gs doesn’t support voice or video.
5. AIRA by Eduba
AI is fascinating for its ability to automate everyday tasks. Now imagine AI for meetings. That is what AIRA is. AIRA is built around the idea of SMART meetings, allowing its users to:
- Eliminate time wastage
- Remove redundancy
- Improve attention during meetings
- Improve productivity
- Drive sales pipeline
AIRA, can attend meetings for you if you have a conflicting calendar, essentially giving you the ability to “kill two birds with one stone”. You can actually dial in to multiple meetings with AIRA and this means that you never have to wonder about missing out on important discussions in your organization.
During meetings, AIRA takes down action items and then automatically emails meeting notes to participants once the meeting concludes. In addition, AIRA’s ability to sync with Microsoft 365 and Gmail means that you can manage your calendar all from one platform.
AIRA also has powerful integrative abilities and therefore can access your CRM, providing benefits such as:
- Improved team transparency and collaboration
- A smoother workflow for all your accounts, straight from your CRM
And if you are wondering how efficient your meetings are, no problem. AIRA has an analytics section that shows you how you performed and provides tips for improvement.
|Sign Up for Demo||To know how it works, pricing plans, and more.|
6. Lucid Meetings
Lucid meetings is a meeting management app that comes with a detailed list of offerings, making it ideal for managing meetings in large and small teams. Lucid meetings is designed to ensure that businesses run effective and successful meetings. This it does through features such as:
- Management of action items
- Follow-up of actions. Built-in follow up tips are available to organizers.
- Speaker queues to streamline conversations. This also saves time and moves the meeting forward
- Share information with participants
- Prompts for busy employees to keep them engaged
- Collaborative interface, allowing all participants to work together
- Access to meeting history available to everyone.
- Meeting performance reports
- Action taking is done in real-time and meeting records can be exported instantly and in different formats.
- Email distribution enabled
|Business Flex||$12.50 per host/month|
Samepage is a video and audio conferencing tool that comes with collaborative features that make it ideal for project management and for managing efficient meetings. It’s ideal for team meetings or having one on one calls.
With Samepage, you can:
- Manage meeting scheduling in real-time: Send invitations, manage agenda and attendees
- Project collaboration: Through the screen sharing option, you can work on tasks together, strategize and brainstorm project details and ideas
- Screen sharing also allows for sharing of presentations
- Text messaging feature is also available
That’s it for now
. Hopefully, this list of 7 smart tools will help you win at taking action items. There are no doubt a lot of other smart tools available for minute taking and we would love to hear about them from you.