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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!

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.

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.

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.

Signup for a Demo Here

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.

Try AIRA for Free

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!

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.