Online meetings have become more commonplace as more people work from home. Offices are making a transition to the virtual world making video conferencing an integral part of the business environment. The rise of virtual meetings has been a slow but steady journey. They were at first vital to disparate team meetings as employees in multiple geographic locations began to share teams.
This movement has culminated in a global movement towards video conferencing as the global pandemic bites necessitating social distancing between workmates. Consequently, video conferencing platforms like Zoom are now home to over 200 million daily meetings. In late 2019, the platform had a low 10 million meetings.
New meeting tools that enhance productivity are also more readily available online. As an illustration, meeting tools like Aira can dial into an online meeting, take meeting notes, and transcribe all dialogue. Aira is an artificial intelligence-powered bot that frees meeting members from the arduous task of writing minute notes. She ensures that every member stays focused and productive.
The growth of online meetings
Over time, video conferencing might replace conference calls as businesses embrace the cost-effective benefit of virtual meetings. 78% of businesses today are using video conferencing for team meetings, while 58% of them hold these meetings daily. The need for video collaboration software is so high that 83% of large corporations are planning to purchase online meeting software for use.
Meetings can be very valuable when productive and effective. Nevertheless, for all their benefits, the productive virtual meeting is very elusive. It is of critical importance therefore that all stakeholders embrace the connections, technology, and the mix of video and audio to ensure consistency in productivity, as business transit to the online environment.
Below are some online meetings etiquette and best practices for employees and meeting leaders that want to make their online meetings as productive as possible.
1. A meeting leader should prepare for the meeting
An advantage of working from home is that you are free to wear your softest jammies all day. You can attend your Zoom meeting without having to dress up for success, which makes social isolation more bearable. Your meeting will however not meet its objectives if you do not keep its organization as professional as possible.
A meeting that lacks purpose will fall on its face very fast. The meeting leader should, therefore, send a meeting invite beforehand to all participants and attach the agenda. Describe all expectations and have your meeting tools ready. If possible, talk to a technology expert to ensure that all meeting tools are primed and ready for the meeting.
2. Make a meeting schedule and stick to it.
There are a few things as annoying as sitting in an empty virtual room waiting for participants to show. It is not surprising that despite the fact, the online meetings are extremely mobile the tardiest of employees will often have a reason to jump into the meeting room late.
The meeting organizer needs to ensure that every virtual meeting starts promptly. Do not give room to distractions, repetition of discussed items after excuses of “my dog ate my modem”. Such distractions will only inconvenience and annoy the participants that show up on time. Follow the agenda instead and catch all the latecomers up after the call.
3. Minimize distractions
Online meeting participants are easy to distract because they lack the physical and visual stimuli that keep the traditional meeting members engaged. It is crucial therefore that all distractions are kept out of the virtual meeting room. Silence all phones, mute all the mics of inactive members and close all apps that are not in use. Make sure that no member interrupts the meeting flow or the speaker.
4. Begin with introductions
Let the host announce every meeting member to ensure that all participants feel at home with each other. Introductions increase the awareness of each other’s responsibilities and roles and are key to a smooth meeting.
5. Be professional
Since virtual meetings, environments are more relaxed than traditional meetings, some members may be too casual and forward in their words or tone of voice. All participants should maintain their professional appearance and posture to prevent distractions and embarrassment.
6. Keep the meeting engaging
All employees should learn interpersonal dynamics that stimulate collaboration in the absence of face-to-face meetings. Remember that over 55% of human communication is expressed as non-verbal cues. Encourage the participants, therefore, to use file transfer or chat tools for side questions and conversations.
7. Observe privacy for security
Ensure that your online meetings only have the participant that need to attend it. Make your meeting private to avoid unwelcome visitors and other security risks.
Considering the online meetings etiquette, the meeting leader should wrap up the meeting effectively and use meeting tools like Aira to send out meeting notes and arrangements or the next meeting,
Economic uncertainties will always be with us; the thing is, we cannot predict when they will hit us, what shape or form they will come in, or how long they will last. In light of this, the important thing for businesses is to ensure that teams are supported and have the agility to adjust to changing working environments. You need to prepare your team to work remotely, not just now when the world has to grapple with covid19, but in the future as well.
There is a common misconception that remote work is all about conference calls. While video calls and chats are an important part of getting work done remotely, when we talk about finding tools to support remote teams, we have to look beyond conferencing. Supporting remote working is about team empowerment, and to do this, your company needs to create a tech stack that guarantees team efficiency and effectiveness regardless of their location. Your team needs to feel confident that they don’t have to be office-bound to deliver on business objectives.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 ai technology tools that will help your team stay organized, increase efficiency and collaborate better while working remotely.
Slack is best known for its “channel” approach to managing communication.
The thinking behind channels is that when running projects, it can be difficult to track communication, attachments, and tasks via email. Slack seeks to solve this problem through channels that bring teams together around a common purpose.
Slack organizes work based on projects, topic, or team. This way, anyone in your organization can find how to best contribute by being a part of a channel that supports their role.
The great thing about slack is that it can also incorporate external teams, fostering collaboration with your partners.
Other features include:
You can communicate with team members directly on the channel and get instant alignment
Save and search messages and files on slack
Save time by getting all people in one place
Achieve business-critical tasks such as: setting budgets, see budget approval, work on projects, etc.
More transparency through public channels, or increased security through private channels
Pin messages or documents that you want to call attention to
Star channels that are important to you
Integrate with other workplace tools like google drive or one drive. You can also connect to CRM tools like JIRA, Salesforce, Zendesk or own software so that you never miss important alerts and notifications
Work on the go with slack on mobile
Enterprise grid: contact the sales team
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft teams help teams to not only communicate instantly while working but also reduce email clutter.
Microsoft Teams is a remote work tool that combines powerful communication capabilities of chat, voice and video, with collaboration capabilities such as document storage and office 365 integration. It can also integrate with third-party software through extensions, making it a must-have for enterprises or large teams.
Record meetings for future reference and to keep absent members in the loop
Pause recordings to answer questions
Allow teams to join from anywhere
For educational institutions, create a virtual classroom and bring all assignments and files in one place, to collaborate virtually in real-time
Have one on one meetings or meet as a group
Keep your team connected in the following ways:
Use the chat, to have “water cooler” talks with colleagues.
Brainstorm on Microsoft whiteboard
Have team building through virtual coffees
Have fun, encourage teamwork and reward performance through teams
Microsoft teams free: $0
Microsoft 365 business basic: $5/user/mo
Microsoft 365 business standard: $12.50/user/mo
Office 365 E3: $20/user/mo
Zoom is a chat, audio and video conferencing app that has become almost synonymous with remote working. It allows people to communicate by joining a zoom meeting or zoom room. Zoom room refers to hardware that allows you to convert your conference rooms to a zoom-meeting.
Despite zoom’s popularity, incidents of “zoom bombing” have raised concerns regarding its level of security particularly for teams that need to safeguard their work. However, as team Zoom maintains that it offers AES 256-bit GCM encryption, you should contact them before purchase, to ensure that their security protocols are aligned to your organization’s requirements.
Zoom has the following features:
You can use chat during meetings without interrupting others
Hold meetings with large groups of people without compromising call quality
Record calls and distributes recordings after your meetings
Integrate with your calendar and CRM. Zoom also integrates with slack
Control your meetings with host options
Stream live on Facebook and YouTube and other proprietary software
Get meeting analytics
Business: $19.99 /mo/host
Enterprise: contact sales
4. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a calendar, task organizer, appointment setting, and meeting scheduling tool all wrapped in one. It simplifies time management by helping individuals and teams to keep busy days organized. To use google calendar, you need a google account (Gmail address).
Google Calendar has the following features:
It allows you to have a remote meeting through google hangouts
If you want to know what you have scheduled on specific days, type, or voice search “what’s my calendar” on google search. The results are private
You can sync your personal and work calendars into google calendar to get a holistic view of your day
Add colleagues’ calendars to your google calendar to enable you to organize meetings with teams. Note: you’ll need to as your colleagues’ permission before you add their calendars.
Share attachments when scheduling events
Set event reminders and notifications
Use drag and drop function to schedule meetings in no time at all
Automatically schedule events straight from your email
Track projects by adding and monitoring tasks and sub-tasks
Send daily agenda via email
Embed your calendar into your website so that your clients can book meetings with you
Google calendar can also integrate with most meeting tools including zoom, Aira, Slack, among others. You can also sync your google calendar into your iPhone calendar by enabling that function in your phone settings.
Meeting management can be quite tricky without an intelligent tool like AIRA. This state of the art AI technology meeting assistant:
Records and transcribes meetings
Highlight keywords in meeting notes to make tracking action items and topics easier. Teams can search for notes and action items based on keywords.
Organizes actions points and automatically emails them
If you have scheduling conflicts, Aira will join meetings for you
AIRA syncs with popular calendars like google calendar
Has intelligent analytics that allows you to improve future meetings and drive organizational performance
Pricing: Contact team Aira for pricing and demo
Internal systems, intranets, and printouts do not work when it comes to managing projects remotely. Remote project management is best accomplished with a tool like Asana, whose features enable teams to stay organized, communicate and get aligned.
The transition to remote work can create silos, but Asana’s design ensures that teams work and collaborate transparently.
Asana has the following capabilities that make remote project management easy and enjoyable:
Get an entire view of project timelines, to keep you on schedule for each task in real-time
Easily identify problems in task scheduling and fix dependency conflicts at project start
Give everyone visibility to get easier buy-in
Adjust aspects of the project as you go and keep everyone appraised of such changes
Import spreadsheets into asana to make project tracking simpler
Manage team workload to ensure everyone remains productive
Manage new project requests through forms, to avoid getting overwhelmed
Enterprise: Contact the team
Trello is also a great project management tool and is a great addition for teams that handle lots of internal projects, such as a software creation company. Agencies that need to work with external clients could also make their work easier with Trello, as they can give visibility of projects to their clients.
One great thing about Trello is its Kanban-based approach to project management, whereby task organization falls under lists, cards and boards.
If you are an agency or run a consultancy, you can create a Trello board, where customers can track progress in areas of interest to them.
Simply create a board and invite a team to collaborate
Add details to Trello cards, such as attachments, comments or due dates
View at a glance, progress on all your tasks
Automate to eliminate tedious tasks
Sync across all devices so your teams work from anywhere
Integrate with the tools that your team already uses
Business-class: $9.99 per user/month
Enterprise: $17.50 per user/month, on a sliding scale.
Remote work can result in diminished support for your customers.
Hubspot is a CRM software that will come in handy when you need to ensure that your customers are being contacted and given the support they need. Through HubSpot, you can create a log of your interactions with customers at different touchpoints, and in this way:
Address any red flags before they become problems
Pursue opportunities that arise during interactions with customers
With HubSpot, you can ensure that customers barely notice a lack of face to face interaction.
But HubSpot isn’t just a tool for customer support. It has powerful marketing capabilities such as lead scoring, email marketing, ad management, etcetera
You can also manage your sales organization from HubSpot by tracking deal pipelines.
In addition to offering a free subscription, HubSpot offers the following paid subscription options:
If your business model is primarily in-person, or if you have a dedicated customer service function, Zendesk will ensure your customer service team continues to offer uninterrupted support through phone, email, chat and social media.
Zendesk is easy to use and tracks customer queries through a ticketing system.
Other features include:
Analytics to track issue response, logging and resolution
A full sales suite to help your teams’ close deals. The sales suite is supported by live chat, voice, SMS, and automated email sequences that make deal closing easier.
You no doubt have a workflow in your company and to achieve your goals, that workflow has to be synergistic. That’s where Unito comes in.
All work processes, including launching a marketing campaign, lead generation, order management, holding meetings, providing customer care, etc., are all one-stop processes. As each of these processes operates within a different function in your organization, you have most likely invested in dedicated tools for each one. This, in itself, could create silos. Silos break down team synergy and transparency.
Unito helps you create complete workflows by interconnecting your various tools. This way, your remote teams can have a smooth flow of information and collaborate transparently with each other.
Business X: $225
Enterprise: Contact the team
Next steps: Explore these ai technology tools
That’s it for now! We urge you to try these tools (some of them have free trial periods that last as long as 2 weeks long), and if you find that they support your way of working, give them a go.
The tools you choose need to support what your company does and how it does it.
Do you, for instance, interact a lot? In that case, you should lean more towards investing in the best communication tools.
Is your company sales oriented? If yes, invest in tools that will empower sales capabilities.
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?
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.
A meeting should add value to its participants by:
Prov.iding information that makes goal achievement possible or easier
For instance, market share, competitor activities, market trends, new opportunities
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Aira provides users with professional transcription, summarization, and organization of official duties, thus relieving you of 85% of stress during work hours.
It helps to recall action items, data, and meeting notes. It’s reasonable to connote the meaning of AI to a science-fiction scenario or to envision a world that’s governed by robots or something similar. And from most movies and science-related stories, we limit our thoughts of this incredible gift of science to a scene of a driverless car maneuvering its way through across traffic. Aside from the characters displayed in movies, AI can also be used to perform official tasks. Currently, we created a free AI assistance known as Aira. Our team aims at creating an accessible assistant that can help you schedule an appointment with your clients. This is how it carries out its operation.
Aira is a voice AI platform that automatically records a meeting and transcribes all of it; making it easier for you to go through them in one place, thus saving you time to make the meeting notes afterward.
Aira is designed to join online meetings, in-person meetings, or conference calls.
Aira can connect to multiple meetings simultaneously. To connect, you have to make a call to your number, and it will automatically start the recording of the session.
Once the meeting is done, you receive the transcription of the meeting with action items highlighted by AIRA, making it easier for you to keep track of it and which also can be shared with other members of the teams who might have missed the meeting to keep them on the same page.
You get a dashboard in which you can see your past meetings transcribed and your forthcoming meetings. You can dive into my meetings section and can easily look up the meeting you had on a particular date or with a specific person and recall it using the transcription stored.
The three big takeouts for most TechRepublic readers
Most AI meeting assistances are built with the capability to handle communication and plan out meetings. To this effect, making more time available and eliminating unnecessary email correspondence.
Aira is a perfect example of what a narrow AI should look like since all narrow AI should be able to accomplish a specific given task.
AI meeting assistance is a perfect instance of learning from a vast amount of grouped data, and this is a significant part of most machine learning.
Adopting Aira can be an effective way to help you cut down costs and save time. So, you guess it right! The world is gradually evolving to the phase where most secretaries will go out of jobs.