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Top 10 Effective Tricks to Transform Your Normal Meetings Into Smart Meetings

smart meetings

Long before the onset of the ongoing global pandemic, dispersed teams were slowly becoming common in the workplace. The online meeting in the age of the pandemic is now a staple. Unfortunately, some of these virtual meetings are more unproductive than their traditional meeting counterparts.

Collaboration has a great advantage in the workplace, but it is not an easily achievable attribute amongst dispersed teams and their virtual meetings. The speedy chat by the water cooler has evolved into 30-minute video meeting on an online meeting platform.

Work hours have been lost to awkward video chats with data showing a massive increase in the use of virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. By the end of March, Microsoft teams had accumulated over  2.7 billion minutes of use while Zoom downloads had blown up by 1330%

It is not unusual to have these gawky meetings go out of hand as familiar sounds of “your screen was frozen for a minute, kindly repeat your point” or “kindly turn on your mic” bring the meeting to a standstill.

Zoom fatigue has now become a new phenomenon, eating away at dispersed team’s sanity and ensuring the meeting productivity stays at an all-time low. Did you know that once distracted, the human brain requires 23 minutes to get its focus mojo back? This data point is a good explanation of why the 30-minute online meeting is often extremely unproductive. 


Why you need to have smart meetings

There are nevertheless many advantages to online meetings amongst dispersed teams. When workers in diverse locations, separated by time and space collaborate, they can develop products, services, and information faster, cheaply, and more efficiently.

By distributing employees, businesses become more agile in production and customer requests management. The virtual collaboration will also enhance key stakeholder involvement in a business’s decisions and work processes.

When smart meetings become a norm, both the employee and stakeholder will experience more satisfaction and an improvement in the quality of work.


Ten of the best tips on how to hold smart meetings

1. Have a meeting facilitator

AIRA

Most normal meetings are not collaborative because most professionals do not have basic meeting management information. In a physical meeting room, however, this shortcoming is surmountable. The meeting’s members will fumble, stumble, and will eventually make the meeting work.

An online meeting is less forgiving. When you have a variety of professionals in diverse time zones and geographies, a few hitches can throw the whole meeting into disarray. You can put an end to awkward silences and sudden bursts of speech with a meeting facilitator.

The facilitator will put an end to the free-for-all environment, ending discussions that hijack and that throw the agenda out of the window. The smart meeting facilitator will develop the meeting’s agenda and ensure that every member has an opportunity to contribute.

They will keep every participant from going off-topic and ensure that all meeting notes are taken, shared, and followed up after the meeting. Aira is a virtual meeting assistant that intelligently takes meeting notes and shares them with meeting participants.

She will turn your normal meetings into smart meetings via her state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. This virtual meeting assistant will join your online meetings, transcribe the meeting’s dialogue, and highlights the action points discussed.

With Aira at hand, your human facilitator can enjoy sharing and solving problems with other team members. They will not spend their meeting moments on minute writing tasks. Aira integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier, to ensure easy access to meeting documents and analytics.

2. Use participant’s names

Participants

According to research done by Wil Schuz, when individuals gather to collaborate they need to feel in control. They also require openness and inclusion. These three needs can be naturally meet in a physical meeting but are harder to meet in a virtual meeting.

The need for inclusion for instance can be met by ensuring that all participants are called by their names. This smart meetings feature will cut down on the fear of being marginalized or ignored. Most online meeting members join meetings with the sneaky suspicion that no one recognizes or knows that they are present.

Use names to foster the feeling of inclusion. Online meeting tools like Zoom will display names automatically during meetings.

3. Poll the participants

Virtual meetings could have cross-cultural elements opening up a wide door for cultural challenges. There also virtual meetings that are held across international airwaves, bringing about language and time differences to the already challenging virtual meeting mix.

Virtual work also has many personal challenges. Humans assimilate 65% of communication via their eyes by translating a speaker’s body language. Non-verbal communication helps to foster a sense of team and trust.

Most online meetings kill most non-verbal communication cues, which encourages a breakdown in the interpretation of dialogue. You can meet the meeting member’s need for inclusion by polling the group. The meeting facilitator can ensure that they speak to each person in the virtual room and ask them whether they have ideas to share or whether they agree to the agreement at the table.

Since the virtual space lacks visual cues, the facilitator needs to cue in members when it is their time to speak. Polling every person in the room will increase the feeling of control and inclusion and cut down on boredom and dozing members.

Use smart tools such as Lean Coffee Table that allow members to vote and suggest on the ongoing discussions. The tool will enhance inclusion, and enhance feelings of influence, competency, and control.

4. Timebox your meetings

Most meetings are too long, a disastrous mistake when it comes to virtual meetings. You need to schedule a meeting time and use it accordingly. Do not extend your meeting time. Try whittling down the time until you have the perfect time schedule fit.

Timeboxing helps in dedicating blocks of time to a specific meeting agenda and topic. This practice keeps the meeting productive, meeting all goals laid. Use smart time management tools such as TickTick Premium to time box your meeting’s schedule.

5. Lay down meeting rules then optimize them

meeting rules

There are many conflicting online meeting facts out there. Some say that members should mute their microphones to reduce distraction. Others say that the use of video enhances concentration, preventing distractions such as selfies or multi-tasking. 

Rules are necessary for group management but you will not know how effective they are until you test them. Smart tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, can help you test, analyze, and optimize your meeting rules.

6. Use virtual whiteboards

You can create a common visual focus to increase participation. The visual documentation of ideas will increase participation and collaboration. Visual focus can be enhanced via screen projections or virtual whiteboards. WebEx has a smart whiteboard feature that allows its users to sketch their feelings or ideas on it.

7. Allow members to chat

Short online meetings have very little time to spare for adequate inclusion procedures. Tools such as GroupMe helps dispersed teams to chat among themselves on the go. It has a video, picture, and emoji feature as well as location sharing.

8. Have a technology guru at hand

Many businesses are grappling with the implementation of an effective virtual workplace. These companies are holding meetings without a plan in the hope that they will reap the benefits and opportunities of collaboration.

Unfortunately, all that they are gleaning are the pitfalls of unproductive meetings. The online meeting is very dependent on technology. Most employees on the other hand lack the technological know-how required to operate these virtual tools.

 Since few users understand how to make the best use of these tools, the technology will ‘go down’ when it is needed the most. It pays to have a technology guru to handle your distracting technology glitches and reduce delays.

9. Inspire joy!

inspire joy

There is never a dull meeting in smart meetings. Eliminate any boredom by marking events to enhance satisfaction amongst participants. Some businesses will for instance call for a virtual candle lighting session to inspire joy and contemplation.

Since online meetings do not have organic socialization, encourage non-work activity, and catch up sessions after the meeting. Let them introduce their babies or fur babies or sing Baby Shark. They can utilize GroupMe to enhance direct messaging and coordinate private chats across diverse device platforms.

10. Make the meeting proceedings actionable

Use tools such as Aira to share meeting notes afterward and to ensure that all deliberations are followed up on. Aira will share your meeting notes and transcriptions via email to all team members. You can also upload your meeting documents to Google Drive to enhance real-time document sharing and collaboration.


Conclusion

Smart meetings are productive and enjoyable and are a formidable part of a business’s growth strategy. Use these tips above to create smart meetings that enhance collaboration, productivity, and feelings of inclusion amongst members.

The Top 5 Traits Of Applied Conversational AI

applied conversational ai

Conversational artificial intelligence technology is still in its fledgling stage, but its business applications are mind-blowing. More than any other form of robotics, chatbots, a form of conversational AI have crossed the Uncanny Valley becoming more human-like than ever.

The Uncanny Valley is a mysterious region that nestles between the synthetic and natural in robotics design. Here, machines, which seem poised to supplant humans, become unappealing and unacceptable as per their level of humanness.

The phenomena coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970, hypothesizes that people develop an emotional sense of discomfort and unease when they encounter robots with an extreme mechanical composition. People prefer human likeness in robots. Watch out though; get too close to perfectly human, and the emotional uncanny valley phenomena steps in. Humans perceive such robots as eerie and discomfiting.


Applied Conversational AIs are comfortably human

The debate about Masahiro Mori’s hypothesis is still raging on, and pundits believe that the bridge across this sentimental rift is made of bots with features that are indistinguishable from humans. Conversational AIs from hobbyists and legacy businesses are building this bridge perfectly.

As an illustration, a few years ago, employees had to put down their names on a schedule on a conference room wall when reserving their places for a meeting. The internet era came by and made scheduling much easier with the digital calendar, allowing meeting members to automatically reserve their seats from the comfort of their desks. Collaboration also became easier across all meeting participants.

Today, with conversational AIs like Aira, you do not need to open any application to pre-engage yourself in a meeting. Virtual meeting assistants like Aira will give you a quick wake up and inquire about your availability for a meeting on a particular Thursday afternoon. The AI will search your company’s database for meeting procedures and processes and share them with employees that require the data.

This technology saves meeting preparation time and energy increasing productivity, collaboration, and smoothens the workflow. The meeting companion Aira for instance can intelligently join your online conferencing meetings, write meeting notes, and transcribe the meeting dialogue for future use.

She will highlight all your key points and share these notes with your meeting members. She integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier and can supply the analytics of your meetings for optimization. The best applied conversational AI have traits such as;


1. Truly conversational

Truly Conversational

Source

Intelligent dialogue is a vital component for any AI and machine-learning platform purposing to stay clear of the Uncanny Valley. Research in dialogue and its patterns is central to the new generation of AI agents. The day’s conversational AI can carry conversations with its users across a wide range of topics.

They can chat with users just as well as people talk to each other and are therefore easy to use an enjoyable as well. Consequently, you can use them for more than song requests or scheduling appointments. They have engaging and coherent responses, can reason, and understand some nuances in conversations.

For this reason, conversational AIs have become crucial to customer experience improvement. Data shows that over 64% of businesses use them to offer personalized customer experience. Close to 70% of chatbot users report positive experiences and half of all millennials that have not encountered conversational AIs, are yearning to use them.

Genuinely conversational AIs are a big hit with this generation of customers because unlike emails, SMS texts, or calls, chatbots can provide instant gratification, a feature that most millennials crave for in customer service. They would rather ask Google or Alexa to read them a manual than asking service personnel for guidance over the phone.

Millennials love chatbots also because they can engage with them in the casual chat tones that they prefer. Consequently, over 83% of consumers say that chatbots are ‘very helpful’ and would make them their primary channels of contacting support.

It is therefore clear that in the future, the customer will seek the services of conversational AIs more than any other customer service process. Some of the notable weaknesses of open domain conversational AIs are their low aptitudes of consistency, empathy, specificity, understanding, and knowledgeability.

Consequently, there is a wide chasm between an intelligent conversation with a bot and a chatbot question answering service. The best AIs are humanlike in conversation understanding user intent and answering questions without ambiguity.

They can use machine-learning technology to learn more about the user and store the information learned for future personalization or context purposes. The best conversational AIs for multinationals are not only deeply conversational but also multi-lingual.


2. Hybrid models

Hybrid models

Source

Have you ever wondered how chatbots work? Well, here is a compressed low-down on the history of the conversational AI and why the hybrid AI is the ideal conversational AI. The history of chatbot technology is decades old, with the 1950 Turing Test laying the first block laid towards the development of conversational AIs.

More than a decade later, ELIZA by MIT’s Joseph Weizenbaum came by, utilizing natural language processing features for speech capabilities. All that ELIZA had to do was substitute people’s words into scripts, and then feed the scripts back to people to hold a conversation.

One of the most outstanding chatbots of the past is Elbot, whose cheekiness, wit, and sarcasm in 2000 came to the fore via the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Since then, conversational AIs like Mitsiku and IBM Watson has been born. Nonetheless, few of these chatbots have had more popularity than the hybrid Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, and Facebook Chatbots, that all came into the market in the last decade.

Conversational AIs in the past were either machine learning models or purely linguistic. Purely linguistic bots like ELIZA need human conversations to create speech, responses, and rules. Understanding human language is a complex task for machines because conversations have nuances and subtleties that are difficult to recreate artificially.

This is the reason why hybrid AIs utilizes artificial intelligence and machine as well to mimic human abilities. AI and machine learning conversational bots harness massive amounts of training data curated for their learning. A hybrid AI and linguistic bots use natural language processing, understanding, and generation to deliver not only personalized experiences but also apt pre-scripted responses.

These hybrid chatbots can utilize your back-end systems, data repositories, and third party databases to create responses. These AIs are therefore optimizable and will deliver the perfect personality and response as per your business’s objectives.


3. Cross-platform capability

Cross-platform capabilityCross-platform capability

The best conversational AIs should prioritize your business’s opportunities, goals, strategy, and vision. The AI should demonstrate value and minimize risk by working within your ecosystem. Data shows that by 2024, the conversational AI will redefine the user experience, becoming the new customer touchpoint in the place of the website.

The technology will operate over 50% of the customer touches augmenting it with speech, computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and computer vision. These bots will infiltrate every aspect of day-to-day and business life. Consequently, these tools have to easily integrate with your existing business framework and any other future devices and technology.

By utilizing AIs that can integrate with your business systems, you will save your business the costs of adopting new systems for AI use. The technology in use should support all its users across devices seamlessly to increase user engagement and satisfaction. Intelligent meeting assistants like Aira for instance, integrate with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier.


4. Analytics and data ownership features

Analytics and data ownership features

Do you know that by 2020, over 70% of all white collars employees will be in constant contact with a conversational AI? In two years, between 75% to 90% of all customer queries will be in the hands of customer service chatbots.  Consequently, different business sectors like banking are utilizing chatbots like Widiba for customer service improvement.

Automotive businesses like Škoda, utilize Laura the AI to enhance the customer journey. The amount of data that these service bots can collect over time is unfathomable. The information that they collect is also invaluable for business.

The data collected by these bots can be analyzed for actionable business insights. Your conversational AI of choice should, therefore, offer data protection, ownership, and analytics as part of the package.


5. Enterprise-level AIs

Enterprise-level AIs

Too often business purchase technology devoid of enterprise features. Most open-source conversational AIs rarely have the needs of business enterprises in mind. As an illustration, you will not find any user role management features or version control in non-enterprise chatbots.

There are no collaboration options or development and integration tools. Like Aira that has a robust system of service upgrades for productivity enhancement, choose AI tools that offer control and other robust business options, plus a proven success model.


Conclusion

Some other very useful traits of the best AI tools include personalization for recommendations and accuracy and control to prevent misuse or abuse of tools. Use conversational AIs also that offer brand differentiation features, to enhance visual brand personality and identity. The best AI tools utilize proven technology and have real-life applications.

How To Conduct The Most Productive Online Sales Meeting With Aira

online sales meetings

Having a productive online sales meeting is vital for generating sales. This is especially so now, where the isolation-related stress wrought on by the COVID19 pandemic can make it is difficult for salespeople to feel excited about work.

In this article, we will discuss how AIRA can help your team remain productive during their online sales meetings. AIRA is an AI-enabled meeting tool that works by making meetings efficient. With prior planning and stress-free preparation, salespeople can begin looking forward to their online sales meetings and also be productive while in attendance. We will show you to make this happen with AIRA.


What are the prerequisites for a productive meeting?

Before we go into how AIRA can help make your online sales meetings productive, let’s first consider the makings of a successful meeting. What do you need to have a productive meeting?

An agenda

A meeting agenda tells participants what to expect from a meeting. That is:

  • Why they are meeting. e.g, what will they discuss? You can arrange this in topics, designate speakers and allot them time so that they prepare ahead of time
  • The expected outcome of the meeting

Always send your meeting invites a few days prior, and call attention to any preparation by key speakers.

A meeting agenda sets the tone of any meeting. The great thing about AIRA is that because it assigns action points after the meeting, it sets the tone for future meetings, ensuring that action-tracking becomes a continuous agenda until goals are accomplished. In addition, AIRA’s keywords feature ensures that future meetings can be grouped around a specific action or task.

Adding Value

A meeting should add value to its participants by:

  • Prov.iding information that makes goal achievement possible or easier
  • Training
  • For instance, market share, competitor activities, market trends, new opportunities

Team participation

People own the results of a meeting when they participate actively. A high level of participation begins with inviting the relevant people to a meeting.

Consistency

Meeting recurrence should be kept regularly to ensure that sales performance is analyzed constantly. Recurrences block off certain days or hours of the week. This keeps your team on a routine and gives them a strict timeframe within which to complete tasks.

As Aira is AI, it can quickly analyze people’s calendars and then select a meeting time that suits everyone. This ensures a higher level of attendance.


The benefits of using AIRA for conducting productive online sales meetings

AIRA

Stress-free operation

A survey conducted among 1000 workers across 4 European countries found that 90% of employees show signs of stress when faced with new or troublesome technology during meetings.

Employees also waste a lot of time troubleshooting, prior or during the meeting, either:

  • Trying to fix the problem (66%)
  • Coordinating with IT support to fix the problem (50%)
  • Preparing handouts as plan B (50%)
  • 15% of those surveyed even said that they postpone meetings until the technical problem can be resolved.

As remote working became the new normal for everyone, people have had to learn technology almost overnight and use it to run every aspect of the business. In addition to the stress of facing possible job cuts, due to shrining business prospects, having technology that is hard to understand and operate can push workers to the edge.

AIRA is pretty much plugged and play, and this ensures stress-free meetings in the following ways:

It’s easy to set up and use

Anyone can use Aira, even with little to no technical know-how. It’s also very integrative, and most of these processes are automatic and require little to no setup.

Some characteristics that denote AIRA’s ease of use include:

  • It integrates with your calendar, so you don’t need to do that yourself
  • Its interface is intuitive, hence user-friendly
  • It integrates well with meeting room equipment

Salespeople can use Aira while on the move, by dialing in from their mobile phones

Ensuring meeting relevance

One of the biggest time wasters for employees in any organization is attending meetings that aren’t necessary or relevant. Additionally, once in the meeting room, it is easy to get diverted and have meetings that aren’t productive. To ensure meeting relevance, Aira:

  • Invites the right people
  • Sets meeting goals and objectives beforehand
  • Keeps track of meeting time and ensures that you get the most from your allotted time
  • Records and transcribes meeting action points, which keeps subsequent meetings on the topic
  • Makes use of keywords so that salespeople and other team members can follow up based on topics that are most relevant to them

 

Voice AI leaves attendants free to concentrate on meeting agenda

Taking meeting notes can waste time during meetings if people have to pause to accommodate the slower speed of manual note-taking. Participants also have to contend with interruptions when asked to rephrase or restate a point. All these factors can cause meeting participants to lose concentration and deviate from the meeting agenda.

With AIRA, meeting attendants don’t have to worry about missing a point. This is because AIRA automatically records meeting notes, and then transcribes them.

In addition, eliminating note-taking tasks means that meeting participants can concentrate on developing ideas and furthering the meeting agenda.

Reduce monotonous tasks

Imagine if you have to schedule meetings every week and each time, your tools fail. You would then have to spend a lot of time on manual meeting management and this would leave you little time to be productive in other areas.

One study found that an organization can lose up to 47,000 hours of total employee time per year, just on meeting scheduling.

Hubspot study on employee productivity

Meeting management can interfere with employee productivity (source: Hubspot)

When meeting organization and management becomes routine, having an AI tool such as Aira to handle such tasks leaves you free to focus on other important matters.


Final words

Meeting tools should enhance how you conduct meetings by improving attention, enhancing collaboration and promoting accountability. Aira does this and more, by taking the stress out of meeting management to guarantee productive online sales meetings.

With These 5 Ways AIRA Makes Your Sales Meeting Successful

sales meeting

Sales are the lifeline of any business. Consequently, businesses are always searching for the best sales-boosting techniques. When sales are stagnating and the sales performance needs improvement, the sales manager needs to optimize their organization’s sales pipeline.

The most practical method of improving a sales pipeline is through a thorough review of the sales processes. The sales manager needs to examine all the sales undertakings from the sales admin and perform the necessary follow up.

Consequently, 72% of all successful sales managers will hold their sales pipeline review meetings a few times each month. Why? Over 63% of them feel that there is a lot of improvement in legroom in sales pipeline management.

Beyond sales channel shortcomings, sales managers are also, facing massive sales forecast accuracy challenges. The executive is under immense pressure to locate the heartbeat of their brands and their win rates. It is only 46.9% of all forecasted deals that close in a win and on time due to the immense collaboration efforts required to make a stellar sales prediction.


Why businesses need sales meetings

Such processes require a team effort between the revenue, product mix, sales, and marketing executives. Since board members and shareholders do not like surprises but appreciate well a well-managed and controlled sales performance, collaboration meetings between executives that highlight any sales challenges are a necessity.

Such meetings allow an analysis of forecast accuracy in detail, which will bring forth the business’s negotiating, personnel, or sales problem. When the sales teams deal with these snags, the company will have better forecast accuracy outcomes.

Sales meetings are therefore necessary for businesses that need to improve their revenue collection and forecast processes. Some benefits of productive sales meetings include;

  • Improved sales processes
  • Better sales forecast results
  • Ample sales strategies analysis opportunities
  • Enhanced sales resource allocation and management
  • Efficient progress reviews
  • Better mapping of sales targets

5 ways Aira makes your sales meeting more effective

While sales meetings are paramount for the improvement of sales strategies, it is only 53% of company employees that term them as productive. Many account executives and sales reps cite lack of engagement, meeting mismanagement, and a lack of agenda as challenges to a productive sales meeting. Fortunately, we are now living in a digital and connected world, meaning that sales teams have access to massive sales improvement data. They are not only finding it easier to obtain sales channel improvement information but are also now more accountable for the progress, follow-up, and results of the steps taken.

The use of AI meeting tools can also assist in the implementation of productive sales meeting practices. Virtual meeting assistant tools like Aira are powered by artificial intelligence technology and are the perfect sales meeting assistants.

Aira will step in into your sales meeting, make notes, and share them with the rest of the sales team for follow up, enhancing collaboration between all the stakeholders. This state of the art AI tool can join web conferencing calls and transcribe all the dialogue between members, highlighting every key action for future follow up.

Some of Aira’s most useful features include her ability to schedule meetings and synchronize all your schedules with Google Mail or Microsoft 365. She also integrates perfectly with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier.

At the end of each meeting, Aira will also provide the meeting chairperson with the meeting’s analytics and highlight areas that require improvement to ensure that your meeting’s agenda is optimized. Some of the challenges that Aira can streamline in sales meetings include;

1. Meeting scheduling

aira meeting scheduling

Many challenges face the meeting convener which include time, technology, venue, and convenience restrictions. As an illustration, when scheduling meetings you have to ensure that the meeting time is perfectly slotted such that the members are undistracted before the commencement of the meeting.

The meeting time has to be convenient for every attendee to ensure that every member stays put until the final topic has is wrapped up. Scheduling the perfect meeting time can be a challenge for sales teams that tend to veer off the agenda.

The AI meeting can solve this challenge. Feed Aira with your meeting’s agenda and topics and she will distribute the meeting time adequately to ensure that it complements the rhythm of your office.

She will contact every meeting participant beforehand to gauge his or her availability and to understand what the best meeting hours are. She will handle all the cancellations, rescheduling, and communication duties to ensure that all decision-makers arrive at the meeting ready to give it their full attention.

AI tools can additionally schedule a time for technical challenge troubleshooting and share all the required meeting passwords and links with all participants in advance, should you decide to hold an online meeting.

You can, for instance, use an AI tool to research and share informational videos that educate all members beforehand on the use of new meeting technology. This ensures that all prior app downloads are made and that all participants are familiar with technology to ensure that the meeting flows smoothly.

2. Taking meeting notes

The manual taking of meeting notes is one of the most tedious bits of a sales meeting. The sales pipeline or forecast improvement meeting will have tons of data to consider and mull over. Topics might switch without warning and a discussion with more than one participant will turn into a highly convoluted discussion.

Topics about lead follow-up, lead generation, and monitoring will have tons of numerical data accompanying it, which makes it challenging to take note of manually. The minute-taker is therefore often in a difficult situation, where they have to personally gauge what are the most pertinent issues to take note of in a meeting.

This situation could force them to expunge some discussions that are irrelevant to the agenda since they cannot transcribe the full meeting discussions by hand. When a minute taker is also part of the meeting and has knowledge that will enhance the discussion, minute taking will curtail their contribution.

Thirdly, manual minute writing can also be very difficult to manage when a meeting is poorly chaired. If the moderator cannot steer the meeting towards objectivity and productivity, the minute taker will need to keep cueing the chair to take control of the meeting, and mute side conversations. This makes the minute writer’s task even more challenging.

AI meeting assistants like Aira can ease the sales meeting minute-taking process. Aira has AI-powered note-making and listening features that will automatically take fantastic meeting notes. You can rely on Aira to take your notes and leave all participants free to deeply share on the agenda.

This virtual meeting assistant will transcribe all the meeting’s dialogue to ensure that all the critical topic deliberations are saved for future reference. She will also analyze the engagement and behavior of your participants to highlight areas that need communication improvement steps in the future.

Best of all, unlike manual minute takers that ran out of paper, Aira will keep writing until the meeting is adjourned.

3. Increasing meeting engagement

One major source of boredom in sales meetings is a lack of diversity in presenters and media. No one wants to listen in to numbers from the same manager for the umpteenth time. Sales meetings can also become less engaging over time. If all you have at hand are plain printed text and numbers as handouts, the meeting will have the aura of classroom boredom, especially if the topic is repetitive.

You can utilize AI tools to add interactive content and data to your meetings. This strategy will table your topic engagingly and uniquely. Use AI tools to add worksheets or polls to your meting and increase collaboration. Assign revolving meeting host duties via Aira also to add some energy and freshness to your meetings.

4. Increasing the meeting’s actionability

Increasing meeting actionability

If you have ever attended a meeting and wondered what its agenda was, then you were invited to an ill-prepared meeting. The sales meeting’s agenda was either nonexistent or weak meaning that the conversions were also pointless.

Unproductive meetings are a huge expense to a company. The average employee will attend close to 62 meetings each month, meaning that they will spend close to 40% of their work hours in meetings. To ensure that this time is utilized most profitability, these meetings have to be deeply researched and prepared in advance.

Aira will not only handle the meeting’s scheduling task but will help you set your meeting’s agenda. She will quickly provide access to old meeting notes and deliberations to help your design an agenda. She will also share the agenda and topics with all participants beforehand to ensure a productive sales meeting from prepared participants.

5. Keeping the meeting on track

One common meeting complaint is that they eat up too much work time. An employee that has to attend to their deadlines, quotas, and calls will appreciate Aira’s ability to organize and streamline the progress of your sales meeting.

AI tools can monitor time limits to ensure equal participation for all members. For online meetings, she will also make room for comments, reactions, and questions to ensure that the meeting is not distracted by side discussions.


Conclusion

Aira is the to-go-to meeting companion for sales teams, managers, and functions. Delegate your meeting task to her capable AI ability and she will ensure top-notch productivity in your sales meetings, by enhancing collaboration, engagement, and actionability.

Now Generate Precise AI Meeting Notes With Aira Like A Pro

AI Meeting Notes

AIRA is a voice AI platform that records meetings and automatically transcribes them.

  • This saves times spent taking minutes
  • Opens your time so you can do other things that require your attention currently
  • Makes it possible for you to go through notes later and action them
  • The transcriptions are stored in one place so you can access, refer and analyze them easier

Generating precise meeting notes begins with joining the right meeting. The beauty of AIRA in accomplishing precision is in the simple approach on which the app’s workflow is based. The whole process, from app installation to meeting attendance, minute taking, and finally sending out emails, is designed to guide AIRA to give accurate results. For instance:

  • Calendar auto-sync: Assuming it’s your first time to log into AIRA, it will sync with your calendar and show you all the details of every meeting you have on that day. If you have a meeting or meetings on any day, those meetings reflect within AIRA. This process happens automatically, hence eliminates errors.
  • Auto join: Once you have turned the auto-join function on, Aira will autojoin each meeting at the appointed time. AIRA then attends meetings on your behalf if you can’t, takes meeting notes for you whether or not you are present for a meeting, and then ensures you get the notes from that meeting via mail.
  • AIRA keeps both the recording and the transcript of the meeting for your reference, and all this information is saved in one place. In addition, keywords are generated to make it easier to refer to points of interest. This gives you multiple resources to refer to, should you want to fact check something that was said during the meeting.

With that said, to further understand how AIRA generates precise AI meeting notes, we have to dissect how AI apps work.

The machine learning process for ensuring voice AI accuracy for AI meeting notes

AIRA is an AI voice assistant app, meaning that it works by automatically recognizing speech.

AI voice apps are programmed through a machine learning process, whereby they are trained and tested on their ability to recognize phonemes (a unit of human speech measurement).

The training process usually involves using transcripts from earlier recorded speech to better gauge how well the AI links the spoken word and the transcribed text. This process guarantees highly accurate and precise transcriptions.

Some AI applications also use word decoding, whereby full words are used in the training process. However, Automatic speech recognition is the end goal of any voice AI, regardless of the software used.

The training process  for AI voice apps follows these general steps:

  • Audio is captured through a microphone
  • The waveforms are then put through a 3-step acoustic analysis process, that involves:
  • Acoustic modeling. This analyzes phonemes and the words formed when those phonemes are complete
  • Pronunciation modeling. This analyzes pronunciations and other aspects such as accents that cause variabilities in speech
  • Language modeling. This involves contextual analysis
  • The data from the acoustic analysis is then decoded into text

This entire analysis is carried out by AI to eliminate errors.  Furthermore, as machine learning involves repetitive training processes, any AI voice app that goes through this rigorous creation process guarantees more accurate voice recognition results.

We have already mentioned above that speech to text involves decoding the data from the acoustic analysis. This process as well, needs to be very accurate.

Bottom line

The thinking behind voice apps is speed, convenience and efficiency. But as you strive to bring these qualities to your business, the voice app company you choose to partner with is just as crucially important.

Minutes represent important discussions and decisions for your company. They are how you conduct business. If you cannot trust your AI meeting note-taking app to do a good job, this could cost you your business. A parting note from us, therefore, is that you sign up for a demo of AIRA and experience a whole new easy and efficient way to conduct meetings.

Why AIRA Is The Best Meeting Minutes App For You

best meeting minutes app

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.

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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

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

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.

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3. Join all meetings: In-person, virtually, on the move

Aira joins online meeting

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

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.


7. Support

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.


What next?

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.

Now Watch How AIRA Works!

How AI Machine Learning Helps You to Have Progressive Online Meetings

ai machine learning helps online meetings

Innovations in Artificial intelligence (AI) technology have progressed so fast that it does boggle the mind, what the future holds. In a decade, we have intelligent computers that through neural learning technology can diagnose diseases, transcribe speech, or translate a language. Coupled with AI and machine learning, a computer’s smart capacity can modernize telecoms, financial, management, and healthcare industries.

The AI sector is the new frontier in industry and will be worth over $190 billion by 2025. This technology is critical to virtual assistant, predictions, surveillance, customer support, fraud detection, e-commerce, and social media applications. We use AI for image curation at Yelp and content discovery at Pinterest. Google’s neural matrix Deep Mind, powers amazing machine-learning aspects that include robust speech translation, natural language processing, prediction, and search ranking processes.

Twitter is dependent on bots for its curated timelines, while Facebook Messenger chatbots are taking the world of e-commerce by storm. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, chatbots will manage over 85% of customer service needs. 


Why office meetings need AI tools support

One business sector that needs AI tools support is office meetings. Workers often associate meetings with time wastage, spending that time sending emails or dozing off. A study by Fortune shows that most employees will send at least three emails during a 30-minute long meeting! They complain that these conclaves are too long and unproductive. 

Most meeting chairpersons also do not prepare for meetings, wasting the participant’s time with an agenda-less gathering. Video chat meetings might be time-limited but they do have their complaints as well. Did you know that 43% of attendees on a conference call spend some of that time on social media? A large 65% of them will spend that time on other work related tasks.

Meetings seem to bring out the worst in workers! Participants of the ongoing global video meeting wave are up in arms over Zoom meetings. They have described them as extremely tiring. Why? Between freezing screens, and staring faces, focus during video calls is a challenge. Processing the tone, pitch, and non-verbal cues during a video call meeting is harder than it is in a traditional meeting setup.

Online meetings are shorter but their attendants have to dispense more energy studying the body language of their meeting partners, which drains them and creates a dissonance of conflicting emotions. Add minute writing to this painful set-up and the person in charge of minute taking will not have any opportunity to make valuable contributions or engage with other meeting attendants.


Reasons why artificial intelligence is an online meetings game changer

1. You can delegate some pre-meeting tasks to the AI meeting tool

AIRA

Meetings are essential to meeting business objectives and promoting positive company culture. They encourage teamwork, and every business owner should encourage mechanics that promote meetings, making them a source of productivity rather than a distraction. In the office set up, you can delegate your minute writing tasks to personal meeting assistants like AIRA.

AIRA will join web conferencing calls, record all the meetings proceedings, and transcribe all data on your behalf. She will keep track of all your online meetings and notes. Your favorite meeting companion will jolt down all meeting records, share them with all the meeting participants, and provide meeting analytics to help you optimize your processes. AI meeting tools can for instance;

  • Handle all the mundane but time-consuming tasks such as joining the online meetings, adding people to video calls, and calling all meeting participants prior to the meeting.
  • Identify meeting participants and usher them to the meeting room. With AI meeting bots at hand, you will have fewer online meetings where participants log in and hardly know half of the faces on their screens.
  • The AI tool will also connect your meetings to your company’s digital knowledge assets, to assist in the setting of an agenda as well as the organization of meeting notes. 


2. The AI tool will also make your meeting more productive

You probably have been in a meeting where one participant forgot to mute their microphone and every participant had to listen in to a transcription of their doctoral thesis. Some meetings also go on for too long as each person gets their stand-up moment to discuss business matters. Such talkfests often go beyond the 90-minute meeting mark. In a disorganized meeting, you will have a large number of presenters going off-track.

Meetings are often unproductive because its convener did not do their homework. Hopping people onto an online conference room, when you have not stated the meeting’s purpose is a recipe for disaster. There should be a detailed and thoughtful agenda that should encompass the subject of the meeting, the subject’s topics, and the people responsible for each topic discussion.

The leader should highlight the time allotment for each presenter, write down each question beforehand, and set down the meeting’s expectations. Knowing when and where to mute sound during online meetings is a grey and highly contentious area. It needs definitive guidance because workers are spending more time than ever before in remote work video meetings.

Consequently, you will have meetings where some participant disrupts the ongoings with a joke (which will be more annoying than funny) or there will be background noises from barking dogs, construction, or happy children.

Some of the attendants may also be interrupted and have to put the meeting on hold to go deal with real-life issues. Often they will do so, and leave the microphone on. According to Zapier, there might not be a need to mute microphones in a small meeting with five or fewer participants. Since video conferencing software can only show a few faces on the screen at the same time, you can only read essential non-verbal cues from the visible faces.

In the absence of these non-verbal cues, an attendant might be tempted to talk out of turn, especially when the video begins to lag. A larger online meetings need to have an automated system that mutes all other sources of sound and leaves the presenter’s sound on.

Can you imagine the cacophony of sounds that can arise from the microphones of 200 or more online meeting participant’s backgrounds? How can AI and machine learning tools fix these challenges and make your meetings distraction less and productive?

  • AI meeting assistants can automatically mute microphones of meeting members and only enable a presenter’s microphone. The AI tool can also perform selective muting by detecting noises such as barking dogs, keyboard tapping, then alerting, and requesting the offending party to mute their mic.
  • AI meeting assistants can also use facial recognition to put names to faces. This feature can be very useful in online meetings that have multiple participants in them, making identification easier.
  • The AI can also supply each participant’s designation, work history, and contact information to any member that requires it, to ensure that all members spend less time asking or digging for information during meetings.
  • These tools are also maturing and acquiring situational context knowledge. Consequently, they will automatically know about the agenda in question and make better and more accurate meeting notes than human minute writers can.
  • They will also table useful documentation such as financial projections or analyst reports at a moment’s notice. AI tools will also supply past meeting notes, deliberations, conclusions, and action points to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly.
  • Since intelligent bots will be taking notes and transcribing all discussions on your behalf, you will have more time on your hands to focus on the meeting and to share your brilliant ideas with the rest of the team.
  • Voice interaction with an AI tool will free your mind and hands, making the tiresome video conferencing sessions less of a hassle. An AI assistant like AIRA will become part of your work team reliving you of mundane and routine team chores and making your meetings better and enhance growth.


3. Handling after-meeting chores

Your artificial intelligence and machine learning meeting tool of choice will automatically gather information on your behalf ensuring that all meeting members stay focused during the meeting. The tools will do away with haphazardly done or hand-scrawled notes. Some of their after-meeting benefits include;

  • Sharing meeting transcripts to all members that highlight all action points
  • Fostering camaraderie, trust, and collaboration, by enabling the sharing of a meme or two, business files, and meeting records.


Conclusion

AI machine learning helps online meetings to be more productive and more efficient in delivering positive results. AI machine learning technology benefits for personal and office use are endless. Virtual personal assistants like Alexa or Google Now can set up your schedule and remind you of items on it on time. Siri is a fantastic personal assistant and is particularly useful during travel.

She can check the weather, your flight information, find your lost luggage, and grab that great parking spot for you. AI meeting assistants like AIRA or Hendrix will also bring your office workers closer allowing focused interactions that enhance productivity during meetings.

Get Ready To Create Automated Meeting Minutes Using A Virtual Assistant

Best Meeting Minutes

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?

Source

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

AIRA

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


Conclusion

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.

How to Effectively Write Minutes of Meeting Using a Virtual Assistant

write minutes of meeting

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?

Image credits: Unsplash.com

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;

  1. 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.
  2. Improving communication and collaboration between employees. The VA will keep each member updated on any conclusions and alterations.
  3. 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

AIRA

When the VA is taking minutes, they will need tools such as WebEx, GoToMeetingSkype, 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.


Post-meeting duties

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


Conclusion

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. 

Now Empower Your Action Item List With AI

action item list with ai

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

  • Complex
  • 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:


1. Automation

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.


Conclusion

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.

How AIRA Works

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.

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