Few office workers love meetings. Most of them believe that their workplaces have too many meetings. Many don’t even know how to write minutes of meeting correctly. Data shows that workers spend 4.1 hours each week in a meeting. A third of this time is wasted due to disorganization, a significant cause of unproductivity.
These same employees spend about 13 hours a week reading emails. Complaints about ‘too many emails’ in the workplace are, however, a rarity. So why do meetings receive such negativity in the workplace? Should emails replace meetings?
Not at all. The conference room is a place of collaboration. It can aid in the creation of healthy and connected business culture. Launch revenue-generating missions here and make fantastic impressions. It is easier to agree to a bad idea in an email than in a meeting. In the flesh, a business owner can easily tell when there is reluctance or disagreement in opinion. Meetings are training grounds for success and a business think tank experience. They can be different and loved if they are well organized.
How virtual assistants can transform your meetings
This is a good age to transform your meeting process and reap all of their benefits. The advancements in internet technology and its high speed of operations have transformed the method of operation of many businesses.
Virtual conferencing, document sharing, and cloud-based project management platforms have allowed many enterprises to leverage remote working and talent. The current business operations environment is very accommodating to virtual work. Consequently, the virtual assistant (VAs) have become a norm for small businesses rather than an exception as it was in the past.
Entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferris of the “4 Hour Workweek” owe their success at business scaling to virtual assistants. Tim says that this virtual support staff allows him to work less while growing his business. To him, VAs are the unsung heroes of growing businesses globally.
VAs handle various aspects of business, such as transcribing documents, files organization, calendar scheduling, and coordination, statement preparation, minute note-taking, and other vital business administrative tasks.
Data shows that hiring a VA is a very cost-efficient business move. A VA will cost you three times less than what you would have to pay for a full-time personal assistant. The beauty of hiring talent on demand is that you will need to pay for a specific skill set when necessary.
You will not need to spend time and money on a lengthy recruitment process and training of new employees. A virtual assistant’s support can especially shine when it comes to meeting minute writing.
Why do you need a virtual assistant to write minutes of meeting?
Many organizations are dependent on VAs for impartial minutes taking during their meetings. They are a top favorite for community and voluntary groups such as the Scouts, Girl Guides or Brownies. Most small-sized businesses only hold meetings a few times each month, so they do not need a personal assistant in the office at all times.
The need for virtual assistants is, therefore, on the rise since they can join in meetings from any part of the world and at any time and take your meeting’s notes. The VA is, therefore, a smart strategy that helps to manage time and business resources as business activities move a more frenzied pace. Some of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant to take your meeting minutes to include;
- Increasing productivity and preventing burnout for business owners that have to perform different roles in their businesses. The virtual assistant will give you a much-needed break so that you can eliminate distractions and focus on the discussion at hand during meetings.
- Improving communication and collaboration between employees. The VA will keep each member updated on any conclusions and alterations.
- The meeting assistant can be hired when their skills are needed, meaning that you can hold your meetings past the usual nine to five work periods. As an illustration, a VA in a different time zone can cover your business’s night shift needs, increasing flexibility, and saving your business hefty human resource costs.
How to write minutes of meeting using a virtual assistant
Poorly run meetings are more common that a productive meeting. Most employees would rather tackle their large workloads at their desks than become stuck in a poorly organized and run meeting. This horrible outcome of bad meetings can be mitigated via the use of a virtual assistant.
The minute taking virtual assistant undertakes some pre-meeting and post-meeting tasks that will steer any meeting to the productive meeting zone. With a VA by your side, you can say goodbye to the agenda-less info dumps that kill productivity.
The VA will ensure that each meeting is well planned, the agenda well set, and the outcomes well defined. An office that does not have a trained personal assistant requires the services of virtual assistants to ensure that one participant will not monopolize and derail the conversation.
Here is how to write minutes of meeting with the help of a VA.
Set all pre-meeting arrangements
Your virtual assistant’s organization skills can shine during the pre-meeting phase. With the assistance of your VA, you can set the atmosphere for a stress-free meeting by delegating to them specific meeting preparation tasks such as:
- Meeting scheduling
- Travel, food, accommodation arrangements
- Speaker and team contact and coordination
- Preparation of presentations and research
- Sharing of meeting materials and communication with all attendees
- Proofreading of all documents
Discuss and set the agenda with your VA
One secret of a productive meeting is ensuring that meetings are not be held to convey information that an office email or memo can communicate. This is the reason why the setting of an agenda before a meeting is crucial to a meeting’s success.
Every participant invited to a meeting should receive an agenda that has a clear statement of the outcome expected from the meeting. This agenda ensures that the only people that attend the meeting are those that have something to contribute towards it, which lessens distractions.
A set agenda will also ensure that the VA will have a guideline to work with to ensure that each participant sticks to the designated topic. This aspect will cut off all ramblers and redirect any arising tangents. The agenda should communicate the;
- Topics to be discussed
- Topic presenters
- Topic duration
Prepare the right meeting technology
When the VA is taking minutes, they will need tools such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or AIRA. These ensure all the meeting’s objectives are met in a timely fashion. The VA should prepare these tools beforehand to eliminate all causes of delays due to tech challenges.
They will ensure that all participants are prepared to use these tools, and all links and passwords to virtual meetings are provided beforehand. Tools such as AIRA, for instance, will transcribe and summarize meeting notes and organize all official meeting duties.
AIRA can recall your meeting’s action items, clarifying communication, speeding it up as well. This AI meeting assistant will join your virtual calls, take notes, highlight action points, and keep all the meeting’s participants updated.
Tools like AIRA can join different meetings simultaneously, and all you have to do to have their assistance is to make a call to your number. The AI will join your meeting and record your session. At the meeting’s end, AIRA will send you a transcription of your meeting and your minutes as well. She will also share these items with the rest of the participants and provide past analytics of meetings from her dashboard.
Keep the meeting focused on the agenda
One reason why most meetings receive high levels of negative feedback is that they take too long. The human brain has a very short attention span. If you engage it in hours of communication, it will begin to experience a “cognitive backlog”.
This challenge can also arise in a short one-hour meeting if time spent on a single topic is prolonged. Your VA can keep the meeting on track by setting and enforcing meetings rules such as;
- An 18 minute only talk rule which brings discipline and has a clarifying effect.
- Muting other microphones when one participant is speaking to eliminate background noise
- Ensuring that all suggestions, questions, and comments are written down first and discussed when the last participant has made their presentation
Monitoring time and controlling the flow of the meeting are essential elements of a productive meeting. Have rules in place that prevent meetings that go in loops or that form heated debates by paying attention to time.
At the end of the meeting, your virtual assistant will ensure accountability and follow-through by;
- Write minutes of meeting and sending copies to all attendees as well as those that might have missed it
- Archive the meeting minutes and store it as requested
Your virtual assistant of the day can also be an automated artificial intelligence technology assistant like AIRA. The AI virtual assistant knows how to write minutes of meeting using natural language algorithms to interact with your workforce and therefore has a human feel. The AI assistant will, however, not make human errors when taking minutes, is precise, and faster than a human VA.