A meeting minutes app is an essential part of running a business efficiently. But though there are many meeting minutes apps out there, not all of them will do what they promise. Testing one app after another to find the right one will waste your valuable time and is therefore not a sustainable approach for finding apps if you are busy running a business.
If you have been searching for the best meeting minutes app, your journey ends here because in this post, we will tell you why we think AIRA, an AI-powered best meeting minutes app, is the best, and why recommend that you sign up for a demo.
Why you should manage your meetings and take minutes with AIRA
AIRA isn’t just a tool for taking minutes, but a complete meeting and calendar management tool. We recommend AIRA simply because it does what it promises, and that promise is backed by its great features which include:
1. Calendar sync
AIRA syncs into your personal organization tools such as google mail and Microsoft 365, allowing you to use those tools more robustly.
Immediately you log into AIRA, it automatically picks up your calendar details. In the image below, notice the dots on the specific days. They represent all the meetings that are scheduled to take place on those days.
The list view on the top right hand corner of the calendar allows you toggle your meetings lists on and off.
While the auto-join function in the list view makes it easy for you to join meetings on AIRA directly from your calendar.
Calendar syncing prevents double booking, because whenever there’s a new meeting scheduled, it is automatically added to your calendar. Calendar sync also ensures that you attend all meetings on time as you will never miss a notification.
If you have indicated your availability times on your calendar but so happen to schedule a meeting during such times, they change to reflect you are busy, allowing others around you to manage their expectations.
2. Note sharing
Aira automatically records and transcribes meetings discussions.
The “Meeting notes” section in AIRA is where all notes are generated and posted at the end of every meeting. If you click on an item in the meeting notes list, it will show the transcript of the meeting discussion.
Next to the transcript is a voice recording and keywords from the meeting. Clicking on a keyword highlights the part in the transcript where that word was discussed. This saves a lot of time and effort that you would otherwise have had to use scanning an entire document to find what you are looking for.
3. Join all meetings: In-person, virtually, on the move
Aira is designed to join all meetings, whether or not you are available. If in transit, you can use your mobile phone to connect. A call to your number automatically allows you to start the meeting.
AIRA has an “auto-mail” function that allows you to send meeting notes (recordings, transcripts, action items and meeting keywords) to attendees. So after every meeting, everyone will receive all discussions from the meeting, regardless of their location.
4. Action items: Edit action items and share instantly with the team
During the meeting, you can actually tell AIRA to take note of action items. Those action items will then appear under the “action items” section under the “meeting notes” tab. This helps everyone who attended or didn’t attend, to update themselves on “next steps”.
If you have enabled the auto-mail function, AIRA will automatically email all the meeting details to attendees. You can also send the email manually from within AIRA.
5. Informative and actionable analytics
Meeting analytics give you a chance to optimize future meetings for maximum benefits to your sales pipeline.
AIRA has an analytics feature that gives you details such as number of meetings per week or month, and number of meeting notes taken.
If you want to refer to a specific meeting, you can look up the details in the “my meetings” section, where you can call up the transcripts from that meeting,
6. Integrates your CRM using Zapier
Zapier allows apps to be integrated into a business, creating automated workflows. Automation saves time, improves visibility, creates transparency and eases the workload.
Integrating a meeting minutes tool like AIRA into your CRM creates endless opportunities for growing your business. For instance, after a meeting, all team members will see meeting notes and execute on their areas.
Marketing teams can activate a campaign based on action points and keywords generated from your meeting
Sales teams can set up a demo with the client, or upsell
IT support can immediately fix user problems
Integration also improves customer perception, as customers will see you as efficient. If you had a meeting with a customer, they will receive minutes and action points immediately, and this boosts their confidence about your efficiency.
An app can be great and do everything it promises, without customer support, that experience can be greatly diminished. App upgrades are also important when deciding whether to sign up for an app because, without upgrades, app functions will not work.
The team at AIRA is always working to upgrade the meeting app to make it serve you more effectively and productively.
AIRA makes life simpler by taking away the hustle of meeting organization and coordination. So, if you are still running meetings the old fashioned, inefficient way, making AIRA part of your tech stack will improve how you run meetings and take meeting minutes.
Getting started with AIRA is easy using your outlook or google email. AIRA also works with any web conferencing bridge. But before you get started, watch this demo video and also book an appointment with someone from TEAM AIRA.
Try to imagine life without timekeeping. An impossible task, inst it? Like Mitch Albom wrote in The Timekeeper, man measures time and chimes the hour. We live by our calendars, schedule, and appointments. Time is so important that we equate it to money. If you save on time, then you will save money.
Your time equals money because work or productivity takes time. The average startup owner can find himself or herself in a time management fix when trying to balance their business’s management and operations administration needs. The small business owner is quite often the manager, marketer, human resources director, and accountant.
This entrepreneur barely has any time to breathe let alone grow in their passion. To make better use of time, young business owners need to hire assistants. Unfortunately, a dedicated full-time assistant is a luxury that few small businesses can afford.
Nevertheless, virtual assistants (VA) are available online that can help in business time management. The rise of the VA has gained traction, with countries that have high levels of English literacy like India and the Philippines forming the core of the VA industry.
Who is a virtual assistant?
The virtual assistant can be human or artificial intelligence (AI) technology-based. Both the digital human and AI work in design, marketing, social media management, and other spheres of business, providing easy to access support to businesses in different niches. The VA industry is so crucial to business operations that according to Gartner Research, 25% of all digital workers will need VAs daily by 2021 up from a low of 2% in 2019.
This research shows that virtual employee assistant use is rampant in the financial, insurance, IT, and customer service sectors. Virtual AI assistants like Alexa by Amazon or MIKA from Nokia assist in the delegation of tasks, scheduling, diagnosing problems, or the performance of complex tasks. One area though that any business can apply the time-saving skills of the VA is in the writing of the best meeting minutes.
Digital minute meeting assistants can dial in into your meetings, organize, and perform minute writing tasks that enhance collaboration between meeting attendees and that save on your time as well. Virtual minute writing assistants like AIRA can also step into your meeting, record, and transcribe it to ensure that every precious point stays accessible for your business needs.
AIRA will save you a lot of time during the pre-meeting, meeting, and post-meeting phases by scheduling meetings on your behalf. She will also inform all your members about the meeting and create specific meeting notes. She will also synchronize your meetings via Google Mail or Microsoft 365, and integrate with customer relationship management platforms like Zapier.
Besides attending all your virtual meetings, AIRA will also provide meeting analytics to help you optimize your meetings and other business processes.
How to write minutes using a virtual assistant
A great VA is a fantastic planner. They help businesses to prepare for the unpredictable situation, reducing their client’s distress. A skilled VA will take charge of the tasks that you delegate to them to help you focus on the challenges that need your attention the most. VAs have top-notch communication and listening skills. They are great multi-taskers, mastering the art batching that minimizes repetitive switching of tasks, saves time, and improves focus. The use of VAs in the workplace does not only encourage constructive engagement but increases productivity as well.
A VA’s skills can especially shine in meetings. Like many business owners, you probably have had multiple déjà vu moments during meetings when a meeting’s agenda begins to go south. The attendees are sick of the lack of productivity in the meetings that take too long to wind up! You are perhaps on the verge of giving up on meetings (if only you could) but you cannot because meetings can help uphold and attain your business’s objectives and goals.
A skilled VA that knows how to write minutes can turn this situation around. They can help you solve some of the major problems that make your meetings unproductive and lengthy. If you are prepping for that huge, meeting and you have too much on your hand hire a fantastic virtual assistant and delegate the meeting’s responsibility to them.
The skilled VA will ensure that you have a stress-free meeting and make those painful meeting moments a thing of the past. Below are some of the challenges that hound business meetings and the writing of minutes and ways that your VA can help you to overcome them.
1. Lack of preparation
The biggest challenge that hinders productivity and engagement in meetings is a lack of preparation. There are many instances where invites are sent for attendance, but these notifications do not communicate the reason for the meeting. For this reason, most people attend meetings without a clue as to what their contribution is.
They also do not know what the agenda for discussion is. The result of such poor meeting preparation is commotion during discussions. The attendees will become bored with the inertia and time wastage. You cannot rescue an ill-prepared meeting from going up in smoke, once it has commenced. If you are the chairperson, you will lose control of the meeting and will end up looking incompetent to your employees or subordinates.
Simon Sinek says that a leader has to help people understand how to perform certain actions by themselves and how to succeed beyond their imagination. The work of a leader, Sinek says is not to do all the work for other people.
Consequently, as a leader you should delegate some of the pre-meeting preparation work to your VA and take a supervisory role to ensure that their preparations exceed all expectations. Your virtual assistant can, for instance, perform meeting preparation tasks such as;
Scheduling of the meeting
Contacting, engaging and coordinating the meeting’s speakers
Making travel, catering and accommodation arrangements
Researching the agenda
Proofreading all meeting documents
Preparing all presentations and send out materials
These preparations will ensure that the meeting has a clear purpose. Preparation lifts the fog over the meeting and allows its attendees a glimpse into what the meeting leader, supervisor, group director, or project manager has in mind through the tabling of an agenda.
This phase helps attendees also to determine which tasks or contributions are necessary for the meeting. Your VA should, therefore, communicate the purpose and the expected outcome of the meeting articulately.
2. Too long a meeting
When attendees show up unprepared to a meeting, there will be a lot of time-wasting during the agenda discussion phase. To eliminate this challenge, your VA should ensure that all topics up for discussion have allocated time to for timekeeping purposes. The moment an important topic has been discussed, the meeting should move on to other critical matters.
All questions should be availed before the meeting starts so that answers are prepared beforehand to prevent an occurrence of extra meetings over the same agenda. One of the most important tasks that your VA should perform during meetings writing minutes and recording the meeting. Your VA should;
Write minutes proficiently to ensure that they do communicate with the reader
Use speed writing or shorthand for speed. They should have all the abbreviations prepared beforehand
Use word processing or templates to categorize and archive all details and action items to save on time and enhance the organization
Use recording or transcribing apps to capture each detail of the meeting and upload the information to a secure storage platform as advised
Summarize discussions and avoid dictation
Listen in carefully, understand the topics to capture clear action items
Monitoring topics in discussion and ensuring that all topics are discussed as per schedule
Managing the operations of meeting tools and technology
3. Post meeting challenges
The task of a virtual assistant goes beyond preparation and minute writing. These special assistants know how to write minutes and handle other post meeting challenges. Some of their after the meeting tasks include;
Proofread the minutes taken and share them with the attendees via the available platforms such as email
Manage any other tasks assigned
Follow up with meeting correspondence
Furnish you with complete expense reports and reimbursement records
A virtual assistant that knows how to write minutes can do all the tasks above and more. VAs can save a lot of time of money when hired for basic administration tasks such as research, email management, receptionist duties, calendar scheduling, or file organization. These digital humans can create reports, or perform web and technology-based tasks such as blog moderation or monitoring of your business rivals in social and industry channels.
They will run your social media accounts, webinars, and perform research tasks such as SEO, influencer, and expert search for content marketing strategies. A virtual assistant for your minute writing tasks is also a cheaper alternative to a full-time personal assistant. A VA will change the way your business runs its meetings and ensure that your meetings are objective, rewarding, and engaging.
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:
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
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;
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.
Every business has visions and goals and every so often, meetings and conversations are held by employees regarding the attainment of those goals and visions. An essential element in goal attainment and vision actualization is remembering, then executing action items agreed upon during meetings.
Action items may seem like one-off tasks, but viewed from a wider scope, they usually tend to be “projects” or components of a bigger project. Even sub tasks ca evolve into projects, for which separate meetings need to be planned and held. The point is, you may not anticipate this whole evolution of meetings and action points, but when it does happen, having previous records of everything keeps everyone accountable and goal-focused. With smart meeting records, you can ping-pong back and forth into your records and trace the origin of everything.
It’s so important to record action items and tools like Aira, with its automatic note-taking and transcription capabilities, help you do that. But what happens after taking action items? How do you ensure that everything on the list of action items gets done? More so, how do you manage resources and prevent things from falling through the cracks?
Where AI comes in
Human communication is seldom associated with Artificial intelligence; this is a new area of AI that when harnessed, can lead to better collaboration, more efficient communication and properly-managed projects. Phil Goldstein, web editor for FedTech and Biztech, echoes this sentiment in BizTechMagazine when he says, “AI-enhanced collaboration tools have the potential to increase efficiency, speed up the discovery of new ideas and lead to improved outcomes for teams that are working together in disparate locations”. (source: BizTechMagazine)
We are already seeing aspects of this with AI tools like Aira, that allow you log into different meetings no matter where you are.
Whether you work in logistics, finance, retail, sales, or marketing, you no doubt have meetings and action item list with ai from those meetings. Managing post-meeting tasks can however be complicated particularly when dealing with tools that are
Don’t have inbuilt capabilities to alert you of potential risks
Cannot introduce efficiency
Make time management more difficult
We are all human and despite best intentions, employees will drop the ball every now and again if meeting action items isn’t always top of mind. It can be difficult to stick to tasks if you don’t have the necessary tools to support you with that.
Simple, easy to use AI tools to help you stay ahead of tasks in the following ways:
One of the main ideas behind embedding AI into meetings is to eliminate the mundane, allowing people within organizations to channel their energy towards creating meaningful output with their time.
By automating meeting management with AI tools, we see:
Better collaboration workflows
Better and smarter transmission of information
Improved attention, more brainstorming and meaningful conversations
A better user experience
Tae away repetitive tasks. Automation leaves managers with enough time on their hands to manage parts that require the human touch.
Automation also reduces errors.
2. Risk management
Some tasks are interdependent. As well, despite your best planning, tasks are often susceptible to external changes, some of which are unpredictable or beyond your control. This introduces an element or risk, and as you may well know, human brains cannot always assess risk with certainty, especially when there are many probabilities involved. Knowing the possible existence of risks makes it easy for you to anticipate and manage them.
Tools that have AI capabilities learn from historical data to estimate or predict the likelihood of completing tasks on time. A tool like Aptage, for instance, has such capabilities and can actually identify possible sources of risks. Integrative capabilities with common project management tools like Trello or Microsoft project, analytics power tools like Salesforce or PowerBI, and CRM like Zapier, make AI-based meeting managers a valuable addition to your technology stack as they essentially give you the power to manage everything from one platform.
3. Time management
Action point management and achievement is all about:
Ensuring that goals are clear, and everyone knows what they are supposed to do
Ensuring that tasks are smoothly moving towards their completion dates
Coordinating between teams
AI-powered scheduling bots can assist managers to not just schedule meetings but to also manage their time around task completion.
4. Reminders and data management
Data shared in meetings can be difficult to manage. Some possible scenarios around data management include:
Some documents need collaborative work, making version management important
Some files need approval at certain milestone points
Team members also need reports on updates done on current documents.
Old documents need to be archived and/or retrieved
With AI bots, you can track meeting documentation and issue alerts if files or data isn’t updated as per schedule.
The days of playing scribe in meetings are over, thanks to AI-powered meeting management tools. Moving from desk to desk to follow up on action item progress should also be a thing of the past. There is a lot more efficiency to be gained from simply using AI to improve meetings. Tools like Aira are so simple to generate action item list with ai that even for those who aren’t technology-savvy, it’s simply a matter of plug and play.
Paul Axtell, Author of Meetings Matter, summarizes the importance of meetings in these words, “Meetings are really just a series of conversations — an opportunity to clarify issues, set direction, sharpen focus, and move objectives forward. To maximize their impact, you need to actively design the conversation.” The power to design and steer your conversations today lies with AI.
Stellar meeting minutes are a sign of a professional and well-run company. Minutes are crucial to a firm and can act as a form of legal protection for enterprises. Auditors, the courts, and the taxman all take them as direct representations of the actions of a board or leadership. If it is not in the minutes, then it did not happen!
These notes also give structure, drive action, and act as an accountability tool for employees. It is not much of a stretch, however, to say that the last thing any staff wants to do at a meeting is to become the designated minute taker. Indeed, many secretaries, trained in the art of it, often struggle with minute-taking before they eventually get the hang of it.
The task of taking minutes is also weighed down by certain tenure, gender, and experience stereotypes. Corporations that do not have a secretary free for minute taking in meetings, often have to delegate the charge to an employee.
An organization that ignores the prevalent stigma attached to the minute-taking process could unknowingly assign the task to female-only employees. Besides gender stereotypes, minute taking is often viewed as a chore for the least skilled or the most junior employee in the meeting.
There are companies, however, that eliminate these unsavory associations with minute taking by forming a minute writing template for their forums.
Expert minute writing tips for the aspiring leader
Employers today prize accuracy in minute taking more than ever before. Business meetings that involve discussions directly affecting the careers of workers or involving millions of dollars’ worth of decisions require effective minute takers.
The tips below can help you master the art of minute writing while enjoying it, and boosting your value in the ranks of your organization. Master them and become the most coveted player in the team.
1. Pre-meeting preparation
Do you know that over 60% to 70% of your tasks as a minute writer should be accomplished before the meeting’s kick-off? All work done during prep stages sets the mood and the foundation of success in the meeting room.
The best minute writers spend hours in advance preparing for a meeting. They will approach the CEO or board chair and together set the meeting’s agenda and templates.
2. Choosing the right technology
Novel technology is drastically streamlining official notetaking, freeing up secretaries to pursue other responsibilities. Utilizing technology can help you capture data more accurately and faster than manual notetaking can. At the very least, most minute takers type in minutes onto their laptops, eliminating the need for shorthand notes.
You can also take advantage of video or audio recordings as your back up plan. The traditional notebook method can be satisfactory but highly insecure. Paper documents can easily vanish in between your home and the office.
Reinforce your loose-leaf and notebook minutes with advanced tools. Report all visual or audio tools utilized in meetings beforehand and seek permission. Additionally, you can take advantage of minute taking software that has features such as easy writing solutions and recording functionality.
These tools also have collaboration features and easily integrate with different devices.
An artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistant like AIRA is a one-man minute taking army. It dials into your meetings, takes notes, and classifies the minutes taken in the right format.
The minute writer should arrive earlier than everyone else on the D-day for setup and equipment function check. Have enough extension cords, batteries, and any other required accessories. Test the sound levels of equipment and ensure that the lighting is just right.
3. Review past minutes and set the agenda
A meeting agenda outlines the topics to be discussed. Additionally, it has the topic’s supporting documents, names of attendees, and recalls the deliberations made in the last meeting. For this reason, a good minute taker should perform a background study before the meeting. You should also study the characteristics of the past minutes made, the amount of detail involved, and the phraseology, to guide you on the best approach.
Without an agenda, the meeting can quickly lose its focus, incorporating discussions that waste time. Unfortunately, data shows that 63% of all meetings have been held in the absence of an agenda. It is not surprising, therefore, that 47% of all workers feel that meetings are the most time-wasting activity in the workplace.
The problem here is not the meetings, but that the meeting is ill-prepared and ran. By setting an agenda in collaboration with the chairperson, project manager, or CEO, everyone gets on the same page eliminating the cycle of pointless meetings.
4. Minute writing tips
While pre-planning will take care of a large bulk of your minute taking work, the task fulfilled during the meeting is the most critical. Some of the most important rules of minute taking revolve around the elimination of destructive elements.
Some best practices that you can hone include eliminating content that, if reviewed later, will not matter at all. The ability to summarize is also of utmost importance. Avoid word for word re-writing of dialogues, and ignore content such as emotions, or arguments that steer conversations away from the agenda.
Alternatively, use meeting templates to enhance focus and to speed up your minute writing tasks. There are varieties of minute templates out there, each designed to suit a different type of meeting. For informal meetings, use templates that work well for one on one meetings, brainstorming sessions, or team huddle meetings.
Formal meetings templates, on the other hand, are perfect for the board, AGMs, safety, issue resolution, or quarterly meetings. Meeting templates have assigned spaces for content such as:
Time and date
Samples of meeting minute templates that will speed up your minute writing process
Hendrix Informal Meeting Template 4
If you love to color-code your notes, then this template will work perfectly for that brainstorming session. It has a bit of a formal feel to it, thanks to its table-based design. Your meeting’s notes will look very organized. Its visual appeal, nevertheless, keeps the notes free and airy, which is perfect for the visual professional.
Evernote meeting minutes templates
List and note makers love Evernote. You can take all sorts of notes from this formidable application. Its templates library is rich in both meeting minutes and agenda templates. The software, therefore, has your back in both the pre-meeting and meeting stages of the process. You can access various meeting templates from Evernote Support.
Simply click view, log into Evernote and your template of choice will pop into your note. To get started, delete the template’s instructions. Evernote’s Meeting Agenda (Standard) template has both action and agenda spots organized in a simple, but clean table format.
This informal meeting template provides checkboxes for all items that have been deliberated to completion. You can use the Meeting Agenda template in small or medium-sized informal meetings such as weekly or team updates meetings. The beauty of Evernote templates is that they can be shared directly with all meeting attendees who have the app on their devices.
Google Docs meeting minutes templates
Google Docs is a fantastic and free alternative for Microsoft Word. Its zero-dollar price tag is not the only reason why businesses adore it. One good advantage of Google Docs is that all its files are Word compatible, though they may lack a few word processing features. Google Docs has meeting minute templates that you can access from your Google Docs account.
Log in, launch a new document, then use the ‘More’ arrow to access hidden tab options. Scroll to the Work tab and choose a meeting note template of choice. Your Google Doc template will be cloud-hosted keeping your notes secure.
The app’s Annual Board Meeting template is perfect for formal meetings though it has a casual look to it. It has multiple sections for action items, next meeting details, notes, attendees and agenda.
Adobe Spark meeting minute templates
Adobe Spark meeting templates are perfect for the creative industry’s informal meetings, whose notes need to be taken online. The free templates have a text summary and have spots for branded themes and elements.
You can also add video, hyperlinks, photos, and calls to action to these creative templates. The Spark Page meeting template is perfect for your kickball team or community service club meeting and can be sent to all attendees in seconds.
Access these templates from the Adobe Spark page then use the application’s intuitive user interface to customize them.
Office 365 meeting minutes templates
Microsoft Word has over the years been the go-to source of business templates. The platform has a variety of Meeting Minutes saved under its templates section. You can access different formal and informal minutes templates to suit any forum or conference.
You can alternatively access more templates from the Microsoft Office site. Download or edit the Meeting notes template on the site. This is perfect for formal meetings and has slots to jolt down the meeting’s date, attendees, announcements, discussions, and round table deliberations.
The benefits of an AI-powered meeting assistant
Jotting down notes during a meeting can be a strong leadership trait. Still, it is an undeniable inconvenience since your concentration will at one time or the other be drawn away from the meeting. Formal meetings do require the full attention of everyone on board.
Fortunately, AI-powered virtual assistants can eliminate the need to physically write down notes. These fantastic meeting administrators record conversations, allowing you to watch live transcriptions of the on-goings. With the AI-powered bot, you can edit the transcripts where necessary, flagging action items, important decisions, and notes.
AIRA is hands down the best virtual meeting assistant you will meet. The tool integrates perfectly with both Office 365 and GoogleMail. AIRA will alleviate the common issues associated with minute taking by automatically detecting the details of your meetings from your calendar and dialing herself in to take notes.
Your virtual meeting assistant is designed to identify the meeting’s action items, create summaries, and make a meeting’s keyword analysis. AIRA will not only save you from the difficult job of typing in notes but will also automatically send the finished meeting notes to all participants via email or WhatsApp.
Since she is cloud-based, you do not have to worry about backup copies or print outs as security. All the notes taken by AIRA are stored in a well-maintained cloud server. AIRA will also send you the analytics of your meetings for actionable insights and progress reporting.
We are now living in an age where virtual meetings are taking over from the traditional meeting format. Meetings are essential to businesses, and technology is evolving to accommodate them. The need for virtual meeting assistants is, therefore, bound to grow as more meetings take place in the cloud.
AI-powered minute takers will eliminate the need to have an extra hand in a meeting whose main purpose is to jot down proceedings. They will also unfetter the person in charge of writing minutes from notes taking, and allow them to pay more attention to their peers.
AI-powered meeting assistants such as AIRA and Zoom are 100% more accurate and reliable. Their organization skills and presence are totally disrupting the modern meeting as you know it.