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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.

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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.

7 Smart Tools That Helps You Win At Taking Action Items

action items

If your workweek is filled with meetings, you no doubt agree that running effective meetings is very important. One way to guarantee this is by taking down action items and subsequently following upon them to ensure they are completed.

Meetings without effective task- or decision follow up are a waste of time. The good news is though, that there are several tools in use today that guarantee proper meeting planning, minute taking, task scheduling, and follow up of action items. We will discuss these tools below:


How to choose a tool for taking meeting action items

During a meeting, participants often get assigned tasks. The expectation is that those participants should accomplish the task after the meeting and report back on progress or upon completion, and usually by a set date. Action items are part of meeting minutes; therefore, it is difficult to use separate tools for taking minutes from tools used for action-item tracking.

Effective action items have these two characteristics:

  • They are concise and
  • They are clear

As such, when choosing a tool for taking down meeting action items, you should choose a tool that addresses the following areas:  

What

Action items aren’t just simple task reminders. Tasks should be listed in such a way to eliminate misunderstandings among all participants and the task owner.

It is also possible, with time, for participants to forget important details around a task. Therefore, the more details you can record when all participants are present, the less likely you are to experience misunderstandings later on.  When everyone exits the meeting, they should do so with a consistent message.

Why

Are you just involving your team in busywork? Is there a clear objective to your task? Note down the importance of undertaking a task. A side benefit of defining the “why” of tasks is that it helps to identify activities that are unimportant.

When

Tasks have to be completed on time to prevent backlog pileup and project derailment. As the “meeting owner” or project manager, it is your role to follow up on action items to ensure their completion. It is therefore important to choose a tool that allows you to message people, call them, schedule new deadlines, etc.

Who

This is about ownership. Anyone who is assigned an action item is responsible for ensuring its completion. 

It’s also important to establish task dependencies because sometimes, some tasks need to be accomplished before others can begin.  For instance, marketing needs to run an ad campaign. But to do this, they need a sanitized list of accounts to target. This task falls on the analyst. So, before marketing can plan their campaign, the analyst needs to work on the data to support the campaign.


That said, below are 7 smart tools that will help you win at taking action items

1. MeisterTask

As mentioned, decisions and tasks should be actionable. Meistertask is a tool for task management that integrates with MindMeister, an online meeting tool. Meistertask makes it possible for teams to collaborate and be productive.

Meistertask has the following features: 

  • Tasks and ideas that are in MindMeister can be exported to MeisterTask and assigned as action items
  • You can add due dates to tasks.
  • Create checklists and add attachments
  • It is web-based; hence remote teams can work without having to worry about software updates
  • You can access it offline
  • Access through mobile on iOS, Android,

Pricing

Basic Free
Pro $4.13
Business $10.39
Enterprise Custom


2. Meeting King

There are several ways to create and manage tasks on MeetingKing.

First, you can add new tasks from the main navigation. Second, MeetingKing has a note taking area where you write notes and save them as tasks, assign responsibilities and a due date. Third, a great feature of meeting in is that it adds action items to the agenda of follow up meetings. This prevents important tasks from falling through the cracks.

Some features that make MeetingKing a great tool for managing action items include:

  • You can add notes and images to created tasks
  • Created tasks can be emailed to task owners and also added to the meeting owner’s and task owner’s task lists
  • You can contextualize tasks for easier follow up with departments or project teams
  • View all tasks or filter tasks based on context (department, project, product, person)
  • View task status in three columns: ideas, to do, completed tasks
  • Add new ideas to the parking lot, to avoid derailing the current agenda

Monthly Pricing

Pro Single (1 User) $9.95
Pro Small (5 Users) $39.95
Pro Medium (10 Users) $64.95
Pro Large (25 Users) $124.95


3. Ntask

Ntask

Ntask is a project, team and meeting management tool all wrapped up in one. It is also great for tracking and managing issues and risks.

Some meeting management features in Ntask include:

  • Creating meetings with a clear agenda, start and end times,
  • Linking meetings to tasks
  • Decision and action follow up
  • Once you schedule a meeting on Ntask, you can give editing rights so that participants can work on meeting material, including the agenda, decisions and actions.
  • You can also send meeting reminders by email to unlimited members.
  • The free version allows users to schedule unlimited tasks.
  • Ntask has mobile versions for both Android and iOS.

Note however that you cannot do voice or video conferences on Ntask as the software doesn’t come with that feature.

Pricing

Basic Free
Premium $2.99
Business $7.99
Enterprise Custome


4. Meetin.gs

Meetin.gs

Meetin.gs is a yet another useful meeting management tool, whose integrations with other software make it an ideal tool for organizing and streamlining meetings across social media tools, CRM, address books and your calendar.

It features a notification system, an attractive and interactive interface and the ability to integrate with google hangout, skype and Microsoft Lync. Meetin.gs also has meeting management capabilities such as:

  • Collaborative management of agenda. Teams can edit meeting agenda and edit or comment on uploaded documents and other material
  • Create, assign and manage action items collaboratively
  • View your meetings and related activities in a timeline
  • Save time by importing meetings from your calendar, including participants

Meetin.gs doesn’t support voice or video.

Pricing

Monthly Subscription $12
Yearly Subscription $129


5. AIRA by Eduba

AIRA

AI is fascinating for its ability to automate everyday tasks. Now imagine AI for meetings. That is what AIRA is. AIRA is built around the idea of SMART meetings, allowing its users to:

  • Eliminate time wastage
  • Remove redundancy
  • Improve attention during meetings
  • Improve productivity
  • Drive sales pipeline

AIRA, can attend meetings for you if you have a conflicting calendar, essentially giving you the ability to “kill two birds with one stone”.  You can actually dial in to multiple meetings with AIRA and this means that you never have to wonder about missing out on important discussions in your organization.

During meetings, AIRA takes down action items and then automatically emails meeting notes to participants once the meeting concludes. In addition, AIRA’s ability to sync with Microsoft 365 and Gmail means that you can manage your calendar all from one platform.

AIRA also has powerful integrative abilities and therefore can access your CRM, providing benefits such as:

  • Improved team transparency and collaboration
  • A smoother workflow for all your accounts, straight from your CRM

And if you are wondering how efficient your meetings are, no problem. AIRA has an analytics section that shows you how you performed and provides tips for improvement.

Pricing

Sign Up for Demo To know how it works, pricing plans, and more.


6. Lucid Meetings

Lucid Meetings

Lucid meetings is a meeting management app that comes with a detailed list of offerings, making it ideal for managing meetings in large and small teams. Lucid meetings is designed to ensure that businesses run effective and successful meetings. This it does through features such as:  

  • Management of action items
  • Follow-up of actions. Built-in follow up tips are available to organizers. 
  • Speaker queues to streamline conversations. This also saves time and moves the meeting forward
  • Share information with participants
  • Prompts for busy employees to keep them engaged
  • Collaborative interface, allowing all participants to work together
  • Access to meeting history available to everyone.
  • Meeting performance reports
  • Action taking is done in real-time and meeting records can be exported instantly and in different formats.
  • Email distribution enabled

Pricing

Business Flex $12.50 per host/month
Business $199/month
Enterprise Call


7. Samepage

Samepage

Samepage is a video and audio conferencing tool that comes with collaborative features that make it ideal for project management and for managing efficient meetings. It’s ideal for team meetings or having one on one calls.

With Samepage, you can:

  • Manage meeting scheduling in real-time: Send invitations, manage agenda and attendees
  • Project collaboration: Through the screen sharing option, you can work on tasks together, strategize and brainstorm project details and ideas
  • Screen sharing also allows for sharing of presentations
  • Text messaging feature is also available

Pricing

Free $0
Starter $7.50
Pro $9


Conclusion

That’s it for now. Hopefully, this list of 7 smart tools will help you win at taking action items. There are no doubt a lot of other smart tools available for minute taking and we would love to hear about them from you.