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10 Note Taking Mistakes You Really Need To Stop At Work

note taking

Bill Gates and Richard Branson are avid note takers. These self-made billionaires are often surprised that most business leaders do not take notes. Richard Branson has, for instance, noted that 99% of business executives hardly jolt down critical business insights.

The English business investor and magnate credit his ten-figure fortune to random moments scribbled on notebooks.

Bill Gates is a computer genius but he at times turns to trusty paper and pen for his notes. Truth be told; note taking is an important business process, but it is difficult. 

You can however make your note writing process much more manageable. First, have fantastic meeting notes transcription software by your side.

Artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistants like Aira will record all of your business conversations for future reference. Second, avoid these note taking mistakes below.


1. Using the wrong minute taking method

In school, you had to write your notes down, because as the lecturer said, that the content could feature in your exams. At work, you will not face such threats. Most bosses do not ask their employees to jot down notes.

For this reason, the transition from the school environment to the workplace makes the art of note taking dormant. Most office workers never get to learn the difference between office and history class note taking. 

As an illustration, students jot down notes verbatim for retention and revision purposes. At work, come up with a manageable style of taking business notes. You can use lists, mind maps, or short phrases with breadcrumbs in them.

Note specific important factors like resources, tools, figures, or names. Use transcription tools like Aira to record long discussions and use your hands to jolt down what matters the most.

Aira
Aira – Your Personal AI Meeting Assistant

2. Not knowing when to take business notes

While poor note taking is not a reason to face the sack, skipping notes can adversely affect your career. Constantly emailing colleagues and bosses for clarification on issues discussed in a meeting could hurt your work relationships and productivity.

Fortunately, you do not have to take notes in every work function. The most critical occasions are during one on one, client, or mentors meetings and during, big business conversations.

3. Not understanding why you are part of the conversation

Whenever you are in a business conversation or meeting that calls for note taking, you need to be clear of its objectives.

You also need to understand what your contribution is to the meeting and what value you are deriving from the meetup. Such clarity will lean your note taking towards development and learning topics.

4. Writing without listening

Taking business notes is a show of respect for the person taking. Writing notes shows them that what they are saying is crucial. Unfortunately, the balancing act between listening and writing can impede note taking.

You cannot write good notes if you do not understand the total concept and context of an issue. Listen, reflect, filter your thoughts, and jolt down key items.

5. Failing to specify your topics

Billionaire Richard Branson says that not all ideas count, but they are all noteworthy. Nevertheless, in a bid to capture inspiration, you could forget to cluster your notes. Such write-ups can be very difficult to comprehend later. Ensure that your note-taking process has a splendid structure.

6. Worrying about style and grammar

When writing personal notes, avoid fixating on style, grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Such worries will only distract you from the conversation. Keep writing and develop a personal note taking system as you practice.

Image Source: pexels.com

7. Not writing concise points

As mentioned, lists, mind maps, and short phrases make the best business notes. Here you can jolt down single words or sentences. Use numbered lists and bullets for flow and organization. If necessary, connect ideas using lines to lessen the need for explanatory sentences.

8. Not underlining the most important points

If you are taking tons of notes, you need a highlighting system that zeroes in the most critical points. Underline, circle, highlight, or use indentation to add emphasis and structure to your notes.

9. Panicking when you miss a point

Remember, note taking shows the speaker you are attentive to their words. It also shows that you care about your job. If you miss a part of the discussion, stay calm. Ask the presenter to reiterate the point. Besides, you can ask your colleagues after the event and add on to your notes.

10. Failing to organize your notes for later use

Most note takers have organization challenges. They might take fantastic notes but will store them so poorly that they cannot use them later when they need them. One important benefit of note taking is its ability to cement the ideas heard. Revisit your notes for this benefit to seep in. Invest in a good notebook. If you are writing on random sheets, keep them all in one location for easy future review.


Conclusion

Note taking creates not only better work relationships and increase productivity, but it shows respect in meetings. Notes will make you smarter, giving you new ideas, connections, and innovations.

Taking notes is a subtle yet potent pathway to success in the workplace. Eliminate the note taking mistakes above and enjoy the benefits of workplace note taking.

How Aira Help With Business Internal Communications Problems

internal communications

Effective internal communications. This is the one thing that any company needs to thrive and succeed. For teams to work well together, effective and clear communication needs to happen from the top down, from the bottom up, and horizontally. However, clear and concise communication isn’t always possible. Often, information flow can be interrupted for reasons as varied as:

  • Assuming that everyone knows what is going on within the company. For example, the marketing team might assume that just because an advert is running in the public media, everyone in the company is well informed about it.
  • Misinterpretation of messages. This can result from second-hand information, language barriers, loss attention during meetings, or apprehension about seeking clarity. If employees act on bad information, this could cost your company its reputation, customers, and money. You can easily prevent this from happening with an AI meeting tool like Aira.
  • Lack of team cohesion. This is often the case with teams that work in silos. For example, the sales process should involve marketing, sales and customer service teams. But, if none of these teams have visibility in what the other does, this can lead to communication breakdown.

If not checked, lack of proper internal communication can result in:

  • Employee resentment, with individuals feeling no compulsion to “go the extra mile”
  • Lack of team coordination, which in turn leads to
  • Duplication of responsibilities and tasks
  • Teams and individuals can be left out of important processes and projects
  • Burn out
  • Wastage of company resources
  • Poor company image
  • Loss of customers
  • Loss of revenue because of missed opportunities

Video: How AIRA Takes Care Of Your Business Internal Communications (Part 1-4)


How can you use AIRA to improve internal communications?

Improve your online meetings through better record keeping

Majority of internal communication in most companies is now being done online. This also includes other meeting management tasks such as organizing meetings, setting timelines for completion of different tasks, and sending minutes of meetings.

Given this, how can you track notes and action items for each, and every meeting held online?

The answer is simple: AIRA.

AIRA is an AI based assistant that

  • Makes employees’ lives simpler
  • Improves your selling process and actually results in more sales
  • Makes customer handling easier

AIRA does this by solving common communication problems that a company faces. Anyone who is present in a meeting can benefit in the following ways:

  • Track just about any meeting on your list
  • Click on notes and you would know what the meeting was all about
  • AIRA keeps a record of all online meetings and you can access them with just one click

Handling customer requirements

Every customer is unique and expects customized solutions to cater to their needs. To guarantee they get the most value for money, customers often revise their set of requirements. This can pose a challenge to a business analyst, especially one who is handling a large customer data base.  

Business analysts need to keep track of every customers’ needs without making mistakes with every revision.

AIRA makes this possible, as it allows you to easily track, through voice recordings or transcripts, all the requirements and changes that a customer has asked for. This will help you meet your customers’ requirements and consequently, keep your customers delighted. Company directors and product leaders will also find AIRA quite useful for this reason.

Product planning

Product managers, developers and executives need to ensure that teams pursue the company’s vision by:

  • Reaching goals
  • Executing on projects
  • Conducting smart evaluations of processes and products

Product managers for instance, need systematic records to make plans and fix accountabilities for execution. Without such records, tracking progress can pose a huge challenge.

How can managers use Aira to keep track of every task and make their team members accountable?

  • The AI based assistant keeps transcripts of meetings. This provides a reference point for all project meetings
  • The action item lists within Aira help product leaders, developers/executives to keep track of progress made by each individual

 

Sharing meeting notes

With online meetings becoming the new normal, it’s posing a huge challenge to individuals who might need to attend multiple meetings. Some meetings might even happen simultaneously, making it nearly impossible for you to attend all of them.

How then, can get the outcome of meetings, without attending them?

Use AIRA for one click sharing of notes/summary while keeping everyone updated, so that no one misses on important decisions or plans made during the meeting.


Conclusion

Most companies don’t usually think of a internal communications budget. Yet taking steps to improve internal communication is key to improving team performance and boosting revenue growth. A study by Towers Watson found that companies that take steps to improve internal communication experience 47% higher shareholder returns. So, ask yourself:

Do you want to build strong and productive bonds with your employees?

Do you want your employees to be comfortable expressing ideas that will help build your business?

Do you want fulfilled customers who aren’t just happy to do business with you but also refer you to others?

If yes, then start by improving your internal communications processes. Communication within your workplace will build more teamwork, create transparency and lead to better collaboration. But you cannot achieve such level of efficiency manually.

Try out AIRA.

10 Traits Of Best AI Meeting Assistant Explained

best ai meeting assistant

The age of the super AI assistants is here. Perceptive business owners are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to solve professional challenges. Machine learning mechanisms now monitor service quality and augment automation decisions. In medicine, they are augmenting medical diagnoses while in manufacturing they replicate designs.

The average office dweller is also enjoying the magic of AI development. They are not only benefitting from top-notch and personalized email management, but AI meeting assistants as well. For this reason enterprise, adoption of AI tools has grown by 270% in less than four years as per Gartner data.

AI virtual tools are lessening, meeting frustration for employees, interpreting, recording, and transcribing speech. They are the perfect meeting minute takers. Some of the traits of the best ai meeting assistant includes:

1. Meeting scheduling

aira ai meeting assistant

One of the best traits of a virtual meeting assistant platform like Aira is her meeting scheduling capability. Aira will record, transcribe, and analyze your meetings. This fantastic AI-powered technology will also automate your business’s meeting scheduling on your behalf. Her machine learning and artificial intelligence capability will analyze your workers’ productivity patterns for nuances of timing preferences.

In doing so, she can distribute events effectively. Her meeting scheduling action will have a minimal impact on your team’s deep work. Aira saves your employees from minute taking and distribution woes. She informs all stakeholders of the meeting event too.

2. Automatic time monitoring

AI tools are proficient at automatic time tracking. This trait of AI meeting assistant technology captures your employees’ time data into timesheets. This characteristic creates a culture of honest hours at work. As a result, your meetings will be more productive as employees review time use on the AI tool’s interface. The best platforms offer an interruption and timer free time tracking feature. This way, meetings remain distraction-free.

3. Meeting documentation

AI meeting assistants have speech recognition features that process all information during meetings. They will register all decisions and actions and highlight every speaker’s core duties. Afterward, the tool will store all meeting notes centrally for sharing and follow-up purposes.

4. Company data sharing

Meeting preparation takes up a massive amount of office time from the meeting’s organizer. They will need to dig up company documents, artifacts, past minutes, reports, or old emails. This groundwork makes meetings a success.

These AI platforms can manage files across different work frameworks during this preparatory stage. All knowledge will be within reach, saving up time and employee time.

5. Meeting analytics

Rapid improvements in AI technology have led to the creation of analytics-driven tools that detect patterns in data. Using machine-learning algorithms, they can observe user behavior and adapt to it. Consequently, this technology has become key in optimizing industrial operations. AI virtual assistants can analyze your meetings and suggest optimization improvements to enhance productivity.

6. Contract analysis

Business contracts can be intimidating. Fortunately, intelligent meeting assistant tools can analyze the legal jargon on your behalf. This action will help identify risks, requirements, and opportunities.

7. Email management

Do you know that the average cube dweller receives 121 emails each day? These missives convey event invitations, content, or deals messages. To gauge just how important all this mail is, click on them and study the content. Popping email notifications can be an enormous distraction in the workplace.

With them constantly vying for your employees’ attention, they will have a harder time accomplishing their tasks. Worse is that, once they drive your mind to distraction, it will take close to 23 minutes to get back on track. An AI assistant platform can manage your inbox.

It will study your preferences and patterns, then offer personalized help on your email flow. This will kill email hyperresponsiveness. This phenomenon chops down office hours into little slots of productive time because of distractions.

8. Expense and payment auditing

Finance teams can leverage AI meeting assistants to audit invoices. They can also use them to analyze expenses before initiating payments. This will cut down on team spending and optimize their processes. Since intelligent platforms integrate with other back-office technology, they will not disrupt the existing processes.

9. HR processes

Intelligent platforms can analyze millions of job postings and zero in on suitable matches. They will serve you with the best match for your workplace. They can also re-target older applicants and schedule meetings.

10. Meeting room experience enhancement

Beyond highlighting action items, the AI tool can also increase meeting effectiveness. As an illustration, some platforms have a background replacement feature. Others can suppress background noise and offer real-time meeting transcription.

Conclusion

The ultimate luxury in business is an assistant at hand who anticipates your needs. They will take action on your behalf where necessary and listen for your calls. The AI meeting assistant is a perfect, affordable, all rounded, and more efficient personal assistant.

These platforms can perform a variety of functions and can be omnipresent in every corner of your business. The useful traits of the best AI meeting assistant will enhance your bottom-line and increase productivity amongst all your teams.

10 Productivity Software You Should Start Using Now

productivity software

How do you know you are being productive? Is it:

  • When you are getting work done?
  • When your life is organized?
  • When meetings and other collaborative projects are progressing without a hitch?

If you identify with any of the above, you know that Productivity is not a concept unique to the workplace but is also important to aspects of your personal life.

In this article, we will look at 10 productivity software that will help you to become more productive in your work and personal life. these apps will help you do the following:

  • Create better workflows
  • Work smarter by e. g, automating repetitive tasks
  • Become more organized by for example managing your inbox
  • Hold efficient meetings. Example, by automating note taking and minute taking with AIRA
  • Achieve your goals: for example
  • Time savings
  • Finish your project in time
  • Perform better at work so that you can get promoted
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Improve work output, e.g, revenue

Read on below to learn about tools you can use to start being productive starting now.

10 Productivity Software to Try Out:

1. Dragon Naturally Speaking

dragon

Dictating can sometimes be easier than typing, especially if you’ve been working at your desk endlessly. The longer you type, the more your speed dwindles, your accuracy goes down, you become fidgety and eventually lose focus. Thankfully, Dragon naturally speaking allows you to switch to your new tempo of work by dictating to your device. This ensures you can keep working instead of abandoning your project because of fatigue.

The different editions that the software comes in make it an ideal tool for working on topics from practically any industry. For instance, the dragon home is ideal for dictating general content. There’s also dragon legal, dragon law enforcement, among others.

At $150, dragon naturally speaking maybe a little on the costly side, but it really is value for money, considering it’s very accurate.

Price

Dragon Home: $150

Other editions: Contact Nuance team

2. AIRA

Aira

Business cannot be conducted without meetings. A lot of times though, meetings can waste time if:

  • They take too long
  • Minute and note taking are done manually
  • They are disorderly
  • Agenda items are not clear
  • They are irrelevant to attendees

That is where Aira comes in. Aira is an ai meeting assistant that creates efficiency in meetings by automating:

  • Minute taking
  • Meeting scheduling (including checking for meeting overlaps)
  • Following up on action items
  • Document sharing and storage

Aira analytics tracks meeting performance. In addition, the keywords feature helps attendees and other team members to scan through meeting notes quicker and find what is relevant to them.

Pricingcontact team Aira

3. Evernote

evernote

Note-taking is an essential part of most professionals’ and students’ lives. That’s why Evernote makes this list. Whatever the nature of your project, you can use Evernote to

  • Jot down ideas
  • Curate content during the research phase of your work

Evernote records written audio or image content. You can also sketch with the app or upload PDFs. The app not only searches your saved content by word, but also by image. This means that any search will return the corresponding text and image content that you have saved. With the paid subscriptions, you can also search PDFs.

Although Evernote is mostly for boosting personal productivity, you can also use it to collaborate on projects that involve note sharing and editing.

Pricing

Basic: Free

Premium: $7.99/month

Business: $14.99/user/month

4. IFTTT

ifttt

There are simply too many things going on in our daily work and personal lives, that you cannot keep track of all of them. But, fear not, because IFTTT (If this, then that), can automatically update you whenever things that you’re interested in, happen, either online, or locally on your devices.

For instance, if you need to keep track of brand activities on Facebook, you can tell IFTTT “if someone mentions my brand online, then email me their comments. “

Although you may consider some tasks as mundane, they still contribute to your overall success. IFTTT is really good at handling mundane tasks. For instance, sending meeting reminders is a time consuming, mundane task. But attending meetings is important. So, let IFTTT handle your reminders while you do other productive work.

PricingContact the sales team

5. Sane Box

sane box

Email organization is a key part of productivity. It’s quite likely that most of the emails you receive aren’t all-important. Even if they are, they aren’t all high priority. That’s where the Sane Box comes in. Sane box organizes your mailbox by automatically moving unimportant emails from your inbox into new folders.

Sane box decides on email importance levels in the following ways:

  • All emails from contacts that aren’t in your address book are treated as cold calls
  • It learns. You have to give sane box feedback so that in future, it knows how to treat the emails you receive

If you usually get lots of emails daily, this is one app to try out.

Pricing

Snack: $59/year

Lunch: $99/year

Dinner: $299/year

6. Strict Workflow

strict workflow

Focus (or lack of it), is a key issue for most people. A lot of people out there (perhaps including you) cannot work on a project for extended periods of time. For some, this focus period can be as short as a few minutes. That is why the Pomodoro technique was invented. So that for 25 minutes, you can focus on nothing, but work, and you only get to rest for a few minutes once your 25 minutes are up.

Strict workflow enforces the Pomodoro technique. Say you need to work on your project for 4 hours, what you do is divide that time into 25-minute sessions. This increases productivity because it’s a reward-based system. That is, work then claim your reward.

The strict workflow works as a browser plugin.

PricingFree

7. X1 Search

x1

Some people are tidy. They know their files and folders by name date and number (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration there), but you get the point. Some people can find everything on their laptop quite easily.

But, if you struggle with the personal organization on your computer, you might need a tool like X1 Search. It’s a tool that finds files in your document folders, archives, mailboxes, calendars, SharePoint.

Although in the end, we’d recommend a tool that helps you tidy up your desktop, in the meantime, use X1 search to easily navigate through your messy storage system.

Pricing

Free: 14 day trial period

Single user: $96/license

Enterprise: Contact the team

8. G Suite for business

GSuite

It’s not always possible to be at your desk working on your desktop. But you’ll always have your phone on you. That’s why G Suite is every android phone owner’s dream come true. Whether you’re on your commute, on a business trip or just relaxing on the couch, you can use G Suite to continue working on your projects.

Some important features in G Suite include:

  • Video and audio conferencing
  • Gmail
  • Collaborative tools including Google sheets and Google docs
  • Shared calendars
  • Autosave and auto-sync

G Suite pricing starts at $6/person monthly. But if you are on the move a lot, it is well worth your while because your teams don’t need to be grounded when not in the office.

Pricing

Basic: $6/user/month

Business: $12/user/month

Enterprise: $25/user/month

9. Prezi

Prezi

A lot of professionals often have to put on elaborate presentations for their customers, but they don’t like the process of putting together a slide deck.

  • For one, standard presentations take too long to complete
  • In addition, a standard slide deck just doesn’t capture ideas so well because the formats just don’t seem to fit

If you have the same problem, you should give Prezi a go.

With Prezi, you can work on your projects on a digital whiteboard. Then, you film the content on the board and record a film of that content. You can also choose from a wide variety of templates to suit your presentation requirements.

Pricing

Free: 14-day trial

Standard: $5/month

Plus: $15/month

Premium: $59/month

10. Apple iWork

iWork

iWork is to Mac OS users what Gsuite is to Android users. The app allows anyone with an iPad or iPhone to keep working on the go. iWork does that with the following features:

  • A document editor
  • A spreadsheet tool
  • For creating presentations

PriceiWork is free and can work as an app on your iPhone. If you have an iCloud account, you can also use the web app for free.

Conclusion

These tools are just a small percentage of all the productivity tools available online. We encourage you to try them out to address any personal and work productivity issues you may have. Most of them have a trial period, so, make use of that to get better acquainted with the apps before paying.

11 Secrets To A Successful Sales Meeting Unleashed

successful sales meeting

Do you run a productive and successful sales meeting everytime? If your answer is yes, then congratulations! You are one of the few sales professionals who have honed and mastered a skill crucial to selling effectively.

In most organizations, sales meetings waste a salesperson’s time and quite frankly, deliver very little value. While we appreciate that sales teams need to dedicate some of their time to meet their managers, if those meetings aren’t helping the bottom line, they are a waste of time.

A meeting that wastes a salesperson’s time is more likely to demotivate that person. On the other hand, if your sales meetings can deliver value, you will increase your team’s productivity. This is where meeting tools come in. A meeting tool like Aira has built-in analytics, from which you can draw insights into meeting performance. This article, however, is not about meeting tools, but simple behavioral adjustments that once implemented will shape how your salespeople view sales meetings. More on that below.


The secrets of running a successful sales meeting

1.     Limit your meeting to one agenda item

You can cover many issues in a meeting agenda. But time is money for salespeople so instead of addressing multiple issues, focus one crucial agenda item. Discussions centered around one area has several advantages:

  • You can dig deep into that issue or topic, and understand it
  • That item becomes the metric that matters for that week
  • Your team will remain focused on the subject discussed

2.     Send out the meeting agenda way before the meeting date

Do you want your salespeople to be well prepared for your meetings? If yes, make use of your AI meeting assistant to send out the agenda well ahead of time. Make your agenda items actionable.

3.     Keep time

keep time

Do you want your team to respect your meetings? Do you want to create a sense of urgency throughout the workweek? Then lead by example by sticking to your meeting timelines. Keep time, and you give your salespeople a template of how they should handle their customers’ time.

We also mentioned earlier that time is money. Keeping time tells your salespeople that you value their time.

4.     Keep your meetings to under one hour

Another important aspect of time is meeting length. 36% of meeting attendants lose attention when attending any meeting that lasts more than 45 minutes. So, to make the most out of your meeting session,

5.     Make meetings relevant and pertinent

People tend to drift during a meeting if they notice that the meeting items don’t concern them.

Let’s assume you have 4 salespeople, each representing a region. If you want to have productive discussions with them, schedule a meeting with each one. This might seem redundant but look at it this way: whenever someone is giving an update on their region, the other three are likely to check out of the meeting because that region does not affect their performance.

In addition, if there’s an issue that has to do with one person, follow up with that person after the meeting.

6.     Encourage discussion

Your salespeople, not you, are the ones facing customers. They are also the ones who have to deal with challenges in the field. So, they want you to hear them as much as you want them to listen to you.

Turn your meeting into a forum for discussion, where issues are tabled, discussed and action taken immediately.

7.     Updates do not warrant a meeting

We cannot stress this enough: meetings centered around updates have little to no value to a salesperson. Some things can be addressed on email. Learn to identify such matters so that you don’t hold unnecessary meetings.

8.     Recognize and reward performance

recognize and reward

There is nothing more motivating for a salesperson (besides the commissions of course), than recognition. Therefore, whenever you hold a meeting, recognize, congratulate and reward your top performers. The following happens when you reward salespeople regularly:

  • You set the pace for your salespeople every week. Everyone will try to hit their targets so that they can shine during the next meeting
  • The end result is that you are more likely to hit your monthly target by remaining focused week on week
  • Your meetings become something that salespeople look forward to attending

9.     Turn meetings into a performance improvement platform

As you hold more meetings, you will start to notice performance trends. Some of those trends may indicate areas that need improvement.

You don’t need to wait for your next training workshop to address key performance issues. Instead, use your sales meetings to deliver bite-sized training sessions that will help your teams to start changing their results immediately.

10.  Make your sales team feel like a part of the company

Since majority of salespeople spend most of their time in the field, one of the times they get to interact with the company is during meetings. Take it upon yourself to give them a positive experience during these rare moments. They should feel like insiders and know that their contribution is not only appreciated, but also shapes growth. In a word, offer motivation.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, have the company head attend a meeting and reward individuals by name. Or, do something as simple as offering refreshments during meetings.

11.  Agree on next steps

You expect your salespeople to leave their customers with clarity on what the next steps will be, right? The same should go for meetings. After every meeting, each person’s responsibility should be very clear. Send meeting notes and action items Immediately after the meeting. You can do this very easily with AIRA.


Conclusion

Yes, improving your sales meetings is as simple as implementing all or some of these 11 points. As you implement these tips,

  • Ask your team for feedback. A simple question like this will suffice, “Hey, how do you think today’s meeting went and what can we do to improve the next meeting?”
  • Use AIRA analytics to track meeting performance trends

That’s it! Happy meeting!

Resolved – 5 Biggest Challenges of Working from Home

challenges of working from home

Amongst the many benefits of the new ‘working from home’ normal is a positive impact on the sustainability of a myriad of initiatives. Economic growth has, in the past, exacted a heavy toll on climate change, sustainable urban living, and responsible consumption.

This drastic reduction of employee and employer carbon footprint has led to a remarkable improvement in intra-city congestion and pollution. Remote work is a sustainable economic growth feature and is the future of the labor landscape. Despite all its benefits, working from home has unique challenges as well. Some of these challenges include:

1. Coordination and communication challenges

According to David Heinemeier and Jason Friend, the founders of Basecamp, communication is foundational to the success of a remote working team.

The authors of REMOTE: Office Not Required, say that bad blood can easily develop between work from home teams when the bulk of their communication takes place through email. This set up will quickly snowball small blunders into full-blown melodramas if they are not quickly nipped in the bud.

Fortunately, a whole industry sprung up around team collaboration tools that make it easier for employees to communicate effectively. Aira, for instance, is a meeting assistant that automatically records and transcribes meeting dialogue.

This robust voice AI platform will save all your meeting notes in one location. She will also help all remote working teams keep track of all online meetings deliberations. Aira doubles team productivity, info sharing efficiency, and multiplies sales increase. Team collaboration tools ensure that no member of the team feels left out of the loop.

2. Distractions

Source
Professor Robert Kelly’s BBC interview that earned him the title of ‘BBC Dad” is a perfect example of how distracting the work from home environment is.

In the 2017 live interview with the British news channel, the professor’s two children made a comical entrance to his home office as he talked about the ouster of Park Geun-Hye of South Korea. Parents working from home watched in amusement as Kelly kept composure during the brief scene, keeping the show running.

Most parents can relate to the live TV blooper because they all struggle to maintain a work and home life balance when they have work near their children. One of the major reasons some employees embrace working from an office is to build a firm barrier between their home and work life. To work successfully from home with fewer distractions, you need a designated work spot, devoid of all disturbances.

Have some noise-canceling headphones to eliminate auditory distractions. Set up firm rules with your family and politely ask them to behave as if you were away at work when you are at work from home.

3. Time management

Employers have the innate fear the remote work employees will slack off in the absence of oversight. Most times, the opposite is the reality.

Most work from home employees will overwork because they find it harder to switch off. Surrounded by all the tools needed to put in extra work, they will have a harder time drawing the line. This challenge becomes even more complex when you are working for yourself.

Every remote worker needs to establish a work schedule that keeps them from overworking or slacking off. This rota will keep you productive and give you ample time to be with family and friends. Use tools such as an AI meeting assistant, Trello,  Asana, and Evernote to schedule, manage time and tasks, and organize your work hours.

4. Lack of social interaction

social interaction

Co-workers are often an employee’s main social circle if they do not have a close family. If you are working from home, isolation can be a challenge if you spend days by yourself. To lessen the feeling of being a hermit, have social breaks in your work schedule.

Go out for lunch with friends or grab yourself a snack from a friendly food shack attendant down the street. Take your computer with you to a co-working space occasionally, or work from a coffee shop and enjoy the social environment. Join local organizations and groups for meet-ups and recreation.

5. Technology hiccups

Challenges such as internet outages can make remote work a problem. You do not want your connection or computer to crash right in the middle of an important zoom meeting. To avoid such inconveniences and for your peace of mind, have a backup plan. You can, for instance, a mobile hotspot device for an alternative internet connection and a backup tablet or laptop at hand.

Conclusion

Ditching the daily commute, working from anywhere in the world, and a flexible work schedule are some advantages of working from home. The challenges above, however, can make remote work unproductive if you do not use them to create structure, routine, and discipline.

10 Tips to Run Great Virtual Meetings

virtual meetings

Virtual meetings are becoming more acceptable. Ever since countries started locking down their borders due to the threat of covid19, companies have had to embrace the idea of conducting their operations digitally. Virtual meetings are now the order of the day, and we have many innovative tools rising to meet this demand. Whether you want to hold a team meeting, pitch a customer, conduct a demo, host a training session, or even run an industry conference, an AI-led tool like Aira is a worthwhile asset to have.

Why virtual meetings?

It is undeniable that face to face meetings introduce the human touch to doing business. Virtual meetings have been evolving towards providing the same experience, and this is evidenced by:

As such, technology is taking over the bulk of the work involved in meeting management. For instance, Aira will attend meetings for you, take meeting notes and email them. In addition, because of Aira’s integrative ability with your CRM, your meeting discussions, files, minutes and action points, become part of your entire team’s workflow.

Benefits of holding virtual meetings include:

  • Virtual meetings are inexpensive because they eliminate the cost of travel
  • You save time and energy whenever you hold your meetings virtually because you don’t need to go anywhere. Time spent on the road or up in the air, is then allocated to activities that have more strategic importance.
  • There is also the added comfort of a virtual meeting; you can hold one from anywhere. In other words, when you go virtual, you give your team the freedom to work from anywhere.

 


How can you run a great virtual meeting?

great virtual meetings

Running a successful virtual meeting requires some preparation before, during and after the meeting.

Before the-meeting

1.      Ensure video works

When choosing your conferencing tools, ensure you get one that offers an excellent video experience. Video increases engagement and interaction because participants can observe each other’s responses to discussions. Video also tells you when people start to lose attention. You can then respond appropriately, by for instance calling for a break.

2.      Send the meeting agenda in advance

This gives your team time to process what the meeting will mean to them. Participants will also:

  • Think ahead
  • Come up with ideas

Note: Before you send a meeting agenda, you need to choose a date that guarantees maximum attendance. As much as a tool like Aira can attend a meeting and send minutes of meeting when a participant is absent, having everyone “present” creates more engagement.

3.      Set the meeting tone

Do you want people to respect your meetings and take them seriously? Then set the tone. An agenda is one way to do it, but also drumming up support for key areas of discussion helps people anticipate real value coming out of the meeting.

4.      Minimize the number of meetings you hold

A great thing about sending out agenda items is that they help you gauge whether you even need a meeting in the first place. When your team and clients see the meeting agenda, they will comment and based on those comments, you can take the requisite actions.

There is no need to hold meetings if the team doesn’t agree that the issues being discussed do not hold any business value.

5.      Do your homework

A day after sending out the agenda, reach out to individual members to get their opinions. Build on that opinion or use it to bolster your own point of view. When you obtain information in advance,

  • You “sit” with that information and find the interconnectedness in opinions
  • You get to define where an idea starts and stops, or where offshoots of new ideas begin to crop up
  • You get a deeper understanding of team pain points, explore their impact, then craft solutions for them or start a whole new discussion around them
  • You can create a powerful presentation that will keep everyone gripped during your meeting.

Note: when you reach out to people individually, it shows that you value their opinion. This can only benefit your team.

 

During the meeting

The meeting has now started. You should have a good turnout if you prepared. So how do you now ensure that your meeting runs successfully?

6.      Let the team get comfortable with each other

If you are meeting with few participants, let them introduce themselves.

  • An introduction session is a great way to set the tone
  • Introductions also get people to talk about their pain points

7.      Encourage collaboration

You have already established the pain points or challenges from individual group members. Form your discussions around these challenges. Give team members an opportunity to brainstorm and generate ideas around those challenges.

This way:

  • Everyone in the team takes ownership of the problem and becomes excited to take part in solving it
  • It’s easier to gauge level of expertise and figure out how to apportion action points or group people into project teams

8.      Establish meeting rules

For instance:

  • Turn your phones off, and do not “check out” until the meeting is over.
  • Do not interrupt when someone is talking
  • Mind your language and have respect for all meeting attendants
  • Allow everyone’s input. Every participant should “raise their hand” and contribute their point of view

9.      Keep everyone engaged

A great way to keep people engaged during virtual meetings is to call on them and give them tasks to be conducted after the meeting, or occasionally direct questions at them. At certain times during the meetings, stop and randomly ask a member for their input.

After the meeting

10.   Send meeting notes

A great meeting tool takes meeting notes for you and thankfully, Aira does just that. After the meeting, Aira will automatically mail the action points or participants can simply log into the tool to access minutes and more.


Conclusion

It’s okay to allow people to disagree. This happens often in physical office settings, and you should also accommodate it in a virtual space. Before you end your meeting, allow people to have an informal discussion session where they express what they would do differently.

Happy meeting!

What Is The Right Way To Start A Meeting?

right way to start a meeting

Calls for a workplace meeting are often met with a level of murmuring and groaning rather than a “Heck yeah! Let’s do this!” While meetings often bring the best ideas to light, According to a study done by Verizon Conferencing, most heavy meeting goers have at one time or the other attended dysfunctional meetings.

Consequently, 90% of them admit to missing bits of the meeting or daydreaming when in a meeting due to flawed meeting behavior. At least 70% of them admit to bringing other tasks to these gatherings while 40% of them simply go off to the land of nod. Most meetings start very unsoundly, setting a wrong tone for the remainder of the event. Here’s the most right way to start a meeting:

Informing participants of the meeting’s purpose and outcome

Informing meeting participants

Circulate your meeting’s agenda to all participants beforehand via Aira. Aira is an AI meeting assistant that makes meeting notes and shares them with all meeting members. She is an artificial intelligence technology powered tool that can share your meeting’s agenda and past minutes before and after the meeting.

At the beginning of a meeting, your participants have two major concerns in their minds. They will want to understand right off the bat why they are in attendance and why they should care about the meeting’s agenda. Most guides will tell you that the best way to start your meeting is by reviewing your agenda, then heading straight to the agenda’s topics.

This process has its benefits but it will not highlight the benefits of the meeting. It will also not bring to light the reasons why they should count the meeting as of any importance to them. To capture the member’s attention from the word go, and also set your conference up for success, give them the answers to these two questions first.

With Aira by your side, you should, therefore, start your meeting by informing the associates of the purpose and the outcome that they should expect. You can, for instance, start with words such as “At the end of this meeting, you will all walk away with…” You can alternatively kick off the meeting with a “the intention of this meeting is…” Such words will get everyone on the same page and ensure that your meeting is a success.


Empower the meeting participants

empower meeting participants

When it comes down to it, most employees do not know how to behave in a meeting. Some want to look less weird and normal while others are intimidated by the thought of conversing with the person sitting across the table.

There are also lots of silly rules out there that may hinder the participant’s ability to collaborate with others and to display their value. Meetings provide fantastic opportunities for workers to show leadership and problem-solving skills. You should, therefore, start the meeting by shattering the ceiling of unnecessary interpersonal dynamics and secret corporate etiquette.

Get rid of all veiled social rules and the pressure to perform that makes the members edgy and panicky. Empower the delegates and allow them to understand the power that they have in a meeting room. Give them the authority over their contributions by ensuring that they do understand the level of engagement expected from them.

Empowered partners will be open to discussions and participation. Start your meeting by voicing an empowering statement like” you are our select team, chosen to vet our marketing process because you have a deep understanding of our strengths and weaknesses”.

A study done by MIT research says that the collective intelligence of a team is determined by the equal participation capacity of its members.


Restate your meeting’s ground rules

meeting's ground rules

Every business has as part of its cultures, directives that dictate how its meetings flow. Encouraging engagement is a great way to start a meeting, but you should state the boundaries as well. It is important however not to overdo the law setting at the commencement of your meeting.

You can incorporate this feature by picking one salient to the discourse at hand. As an illustration, you can ward off passive aggression by reinstating that all challenges should be addressed in the course of the meeting only and not before or after it. This will ensure more productivity and unity in collaboration.


Conclusion

If your powwow misses a strong start, its members will quickly get off track or zone out, so you must know the right way to start a meeting. If, you don’t want to chair a disorganized meeting avoid casting shadows by creating the wrong idea about your meeting. Begin your meeting with a positive note to foster efficiency. You can break the ice with a story, poignant quote, or interesting statistic then rope them further using one of the tactics above. Use meeting tools such as Aira to analyze your meeting data to ensure that optimization fosters high engagement.

The Top 7 Online Meetings Etiquette and Best Practices to Follow

online meetings etiquette

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

meeting preparation

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

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.


Conclusion

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,

The Top 10 Common Types of Business Meetings

business meetings

Business meetings often get a bad rap in the workplace despite the many benefits that they bring to a business. The reason why most meetings suck is that they are not productive at all. Most office employees deem them as boring displays of office power and politics.

There are however very many benefits of a well-run meeting. The meeting can be an effective leadership tool that strengthens relationships and enhance decision-making. Most meetings are only terrible because they are poorly organized. As an illustration, you cannot invite 20 employees for a small one on one meeting. It will be absolute chaos. This is the reason why the first step towards meeting productivity is an apt description of your meeting.

You can also make meetings more productive via technology. Artificial intelligence-based meeting companions like Aira can, for instance, write your meetings notes to ensure that all team members only show up and stay focused on problem-solving and collaboration.

Aira will dial into any meeting, highlight its action points, and share notes with all meeting members. Below are some common meeting formats in the workplace, which are very beneficial to a business as long as they are well organized and productive.


Team cadence meetings

Team cadence meetings

Team cadence meetings are held for performance reviews, and to energize a team’s connections. They can additionally assist an organization in the process of refining its business approach. This meeting will always have a fixed group of people and may occasionally have an occasional guest.

Team cadence meetings are therefore quite predictable and regular following a predictable design. Each cadence meeting often resembles the last one held and every team member knows what to expect before the meeting commences.

Consequently, a team cadence meeting does not require too much planning or extensive meeting facilitation procedures. Some examples of team cadence meetings include;

1. Weekly team meeting

Weekly meetings are a form of the business meeting whose schedule runs every week and at a designated time. The weekly meeting is vital because it will address any roadblocks, action items, or questions that may affect the next week’s business goals. Weekly meetings will run for 60 to 90 minutes tops.

2. The shift-change meeting

Shift-change or shift handover meetings are five to fifteen minutes long and are often held on a daily basis. They take place between the incoming staff and a tired group of employees eager to take a break.

The incoming staff has a very small window of time to engage with the other team, so this meeting requires an enforced meeting time and a lot of focus.

3. The Daily Huddle

The daily huddle is a five to fifteen minutes long meeting also known as a daily scrum or stands up. This short meeting occurs on a daily basis and its purpose is to inform and align the team on the day’s tasks.

4. Monthly meeting

The monthly management meeting can be a full or half-day affair that involves the business’s frontline, middle, and senior managers. The purpose of the monthly meeting is to ensure that all leaders take the time off to collaborate and learn from each other while addressing some larger business challenges.


Progress checks

Progress checks

Progress checks are held to nurture mutual accountability and project momentum. These structured business meetings will be led by an account or project manager to reassure or inform the employees that all business objectives are on track. Some of the most common progress checks at the workplace include;

5. The project’s status business meeting

Project status meeting members should be adequately prepared for the meeting beforehand to ensure productivity. All data should be collected in advance so that all questions can have answers. This meeting needs predefined objectives.

6. The client check-in

Client check-in meetings help businesses to enhance their relationships and partnerships with their customers. They should are meant to build trust by reassuring your clients that all partnerships are running smoothly. The meeting leader should have all the reports and metrics required at hand to demonstrate the value of their company to the client.


One on ones

One on ones meeting

One on one meetings are geared towards personal and career development. They also nurture relationship maintenance and individual accountability. Some good examples of one on one meeting include;

7. Manager and employee one-on-one

This meeting will have two parties with a familiar work relationship. They are very conversational but address a specific topic.

8. Mentorship meetings

Mentorship meetings are not as rigid as progress checks or team cadence meetings. They are held for education purposes and to help nurture talent in the business.


Action review meetings

Action review meetings

These are held to develop business confidence and to gain insight into business development objectives. Action review business meetings can help generate recommendations for change. Some of the most commonly held action review meetings include;

9. Agile retro perspectives

The meetings are time-boxed and have a very strict agenda. Through them, teams can develop and solve any challenges and are often by a team member. They are highly engaging and very professional.

10. Win/loss sales review meetings

These are very ritualistic business meetings and are a continuous learning tool. They are more forgiving towards surprises and often build very strong teams.


Conclusion

Governance cadence, conflict resolution, idea generation, planning, problem-solving, and workshops are other common business meetings that you can hold to enhance business growth. Ensure that they are properly planned and take advantage of meeting tools to enhance their productivity.

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