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meeting minute templates

10 Clever Ways You Can Save More Time at Work with Minimum Efforts

save time in office

If your job is like most other jobs, you probably work with daily targets, which must be met for your day to be considered productive and also you save time for more work deliverables. In such a scenario, every second of your day counts. Procrastination, open-ended deadlines, unnecessary meetings, water-cooler chats, too many coffee breaks, etcetera, are all culprits that could keep you from reaching your targets. 

Considering that time is your most important resource, it only makes sense to find ways to save those precious minutes so that each day is more productive than the next. Here’s how you can earn extra minutes back from your day.


1. Confirm meeting agenda beforehand

Tools like Aira were created specifically to address the challenges surrounding meeting management, such as attendance and agenda planning. However, due to human nature, it’s common for a meeting agenda to balloon when attendants raise issues they feel warrant a discussion. A lot of times though, you will find that some matters can be addressed informally between colleagues.

As such, when you schedule a meeting and you suspect that it might drag on unnecessarily, touch base with attendants beforehand and attempt to address any major issues that they’d like to have on the agenda. By so doing, you will not only keep your meeting running on schedule, but you will also gather important information which you can use to reach decisions faster during meetings.


2. Create processes to avoid repetition

Have you ever found yourself handling the same query multiple times, but each time you need to start from scratch?

When you have systems and processes, you can avoid such repetition and save more time at work. For example, say you are a manager at a guest house and it’s your job to orient new guests. Orientation means dedicating time to each guest, which is not sustainable if you receive several guests a day. A better approach would be to prepare a welcome package so that each guest goes through some sort of DIY orientation.

This applies to practically every job. When you have processes that are documented and formalized, not only will things move smoothly, but in case you are away from work, other colleagues can easily relieve you.


3. Use Templates

You also need templates just as much as you need systems and processes. Templates are a huge time saver in project management, web design, reports, content writing, etcetera. A project proposal for instance always retains most of its elements. Therefore, you don’t need to write your proposals from scratch. The same goes for websites; if you can find a template that fits your website’s purpose, go with it instead of starting a fresh build.


4. Batch similar tasks

batch tasks

How do you plan your weekly/monthly tasks?

If you find multiple similar jobs on your task list, allocate them in the same block of time. You might not expect this, but when you switch from one task to another, you take a lot of time to wind down the current task and then plan and get into the next task.

You can save time by batching together tasks that need you to use the same resources (skills, tools, systems).

For example, if you need to schedule several meetings, instead of spreading such tasks throughout the day, block out some time, log into Aira and schedule all meetings in one sitting.


5. Message or call people instead of emails

Do you have an urgent issue to be solved? Call; don’t email. Better yet, get up from your desk, walk to the person you want to email and have a conversation.

If you have other means of accessing people, opt for those before you use email. It’s generally faster to call than email a person. Not to mention, you get immediate feedback when you call, and can therefore strike off that task from your list. 


6. Unsubscribe from unnecessary notifications

Have you subscribed to receive newsletters, product notifications, latest blogs, reports, case studies and more? You probably subscribe to all these services due to the fear of missing out…and you could be right. If missing an update or report will negatively impact your work, then by all means keep the subscription. However, if all you do is archive your subscription emails, it’s time to hit “unsubscribe”.

In addition, if you have multiple emails or gadgets, manage all your notifications from one email. This way, you don’t have to switch between emails and gadgets just to read notifications.


7. Turn off Popups

Popups can be quite distracting. Every time you see a popup, you have to divert attention either to dismiss it or read it.

We aren’t just talking about online popups that come up when you are on the web; desktop popups are just as distracting, and you should also turn them off. 


8. Use mailing Lists

You probably write to the same list of people every day, a few times a week or month.  Some people get a certain report, others get updates for a certain project, etcetera.

It’s difficult to hold all these people’s names in your head and even if you could, you would need to type out their email addresses every time you email them. This will consume a lot of time, even with the autofill option turned on. Not to mention, mistakes happen, and you could leave out a recipient when typing from memory.

You can solve this problem by creating a mailing list for your different groups. 


9. Use Checklists

Checklists save time by systemizing tasks and hence minimizing the amount of mental energy you spend navigating through a task.

Every task has many parts. Traveling overseas for instance involves booking a ticket (and visa where applicable), packing, booking a hotel room, etcetera.

Each of these tasks also has other smaller tasks. For instance, to pack, you might need to:

  • Pick your black suit from the dry cleaners
  • Check your toilet bag for essentials
  • Go shop for extra toiletries
  • Buy a few t-shirts on Amazon   

When you have such a checklist, you can work through the steps of getting your tasks done more easily.


10. Take breaks

Yes. You need to take a break. Whether it’s your tea break or lunch break, take that break.

Research shows that human beings are only productive for roughly 3 hours. As such, working endlessly will not get you to achieve more, but less. Taking a break is a great way to:

  • Clear your head by being outdoors
  • Reenergize with some nutrition
  • Get to know your colleagues better through conversation
  • Increase blood flow through movement


Conclusion

Busy work, meetings and repetitive processes are some of the ways people waste time at work. You also probably waste time in a similar manner without realizing it. This list is a great place to start auditing your day to find activities that waste your time and then improving on those to increase productivity.

How To Surpass The 80/20 Sales Rule For More Sales Profit

80/20 sales rule

80/20 sales rule is one of the most rewarding principles of life, business, and time management. The Pareto Principle rule suggests that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your activities. The valuable principle is a challenge to goal setting, highlighting the need to reconsider priorities for success.

The 80/ 20 sales rule means that most of your sales, come from twenty percent of your customers, products, sales strategies, and salespeople. This leaves a massive room for improvement in lead generation, customer management, and sales team communication.

You can improve business profitability by leveraging the 80/20 rule to improve problem solving. By leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence-powered tools like Aira, your sales team can, for instance, hold highly productive meetings, increasing problem solving and idea generation.

Through robust customer management platforms, they can zero in on the most viable sales leads. This process minimizes time wasted on customers least likely to make a purchase and cuts down on expenses. Below are the ways that you can surpass the 80/20 sales rule for more profit in sales.


1. Improve problem solving and idea generation

The sales meeting is the nerve center of all sales operations. Unfortunately, like most meetings, they have become a necessary evil. These forums should be a source of motivation and inspiration for the sales team. They have instead become part of the eighty percent of efforts that bring in little or no reward at all.

Did you know that 71% of meetings are meaningless and are only held because “this is the way we do things”? Over 65% of senior managers say that meetings keep them from realizing their goals. 64% of them say that a meeting often stands in the way of deep thinking.

That said, 62% of senior managers realize that meetings hold massive potential for the sales team. To improve sales, hold a productive meeting that leads to collaboration and sales ideas generation. To achieve this goal, follow the tips below.

  • Ensure that your meeting is a necessity. Avoid redundancy by making sure that you only hold meetings for challenges that require upwards of ten minutes to solve. If you can answer a question, resolve a problem, or access information in a few minutes, hold a one-to-one chat instead with your salesperson. If your meeting is not helpful to the sale steam, then you are wasting precious time on the meaningless effort.
  • Plan and prepare an agenda for your sales meeting. Your sales meeting should focus on sales activities, data, and feedback. As part of your agenda, start the meeting by celebrating your successes. Are there new customers or accounts? Is there progress on your targets or improvement on your bottom line? Celebrate the wins and then get to uncovering obstacles or insights on prospects.
  • Study your data and that of your competition and optimize your sales strategies. Focus on quality leads and nurture them to turn them to loyal paying customers for higher customer lifetime value. Use virtual assistants such as Aira to take meeting notes and transcriptions. After the meeting, Aira will share all action items with the sales team to preserve accuracy, encourage collaboration and accountability.


2. Trim your costs

If the vast majority of your sales strategies and salespeople produce a fraction of your top performers’ efforts, then your business is not self-sustaining. Eventually, you will run out of good money to throw at bad. Your top performers produce eighty percent of your results because they have honed vital sales skills.

They know how to ask reflective questions that uncover pain points from customers. Second, winning salespeople are naturally good at it. Data shows that 55% of salespeople could excel in doing something else besides sales. More revealing research shows that another 25% of sales professionals can become top performers while selling a different product or service.

This means that at least half of your sales team comprises unfulfilled individuals who only got the offer because they excelled in an interview. Interviews provide useful subjective data, but you need objective information to get the right hires.

Have specialized sales assessments that pinpoint sales talent. If you have team members least suited to sales, shuffle them to areas in your business, where their talents can shine. If you do not have open alternative roles, encourage them to re-enter the job market with the newfound interests and talent knowledge so they can succeed in their careers.

These tests can also pinpoint areas that talented salespeople need to work on for success. Sieve your bloated sales team and cut down on the redundant eighty percent to minimize HR, sales, and space costs.


Conclusion

In 1895, the principle’s founder, Vilfredo Pareto, noted that society has a two-way division. On one side are the successful “vital few” and at the bottom of the pyramid are the “trivial many”. In time, Pareto noted that the wealth of his country was in the hands of the elite 20% of the population. Leverage the 80/20 sales rule to reap more from your workforce, budgets, and products using the tips above.

Image credits: Unsplash.com

How To Write Effective Board Meeting Minutes

board meeting minutes

The board meeting is an important business meeting, which brings together an organization’s directors. In their capacity as the overseers of a business entity, directors will come together in a board meeting with board meeting minutes for strategic deliberations.

This forum helps them to review the organization’s past performance. They will then endorse any new plan of action and issue guidelines for the support of various growth initiatives. The chairperson of the board presides over the board meeting while the secretary writes the minutes. So how can a secretary of the board write effective board meeting minutes?

Make adequate preparations for the meeting

First, you need to develop a meeting agenda and then distribute it to the directors. Artificial intelligence-powered meeting assistant tools such as Aira can ease sharing your meeting agenda with your directors.

Aira helps not only in the minute writing process but can transcribe your board meeting. It will automatically join your online meetings, listen in, and list all action items. It will then send your board meeting minutes to all your directors at the end of the meeting.

Why is the agenda so important? Most meetings cannot meet their objectives because of poor preparation. To ensure that the boardroom does not fall into chaos during a meeting, sufficient groundwork is vital. First, you need to understand that your directors are a “brain trust”.

They make some of the most challenging decisions for the best interest of your business. To meet this need, they have to have access to all information. They need to be in tune with the meeting’s agenda before D-day.

Prepare the agenda document early so you have enough time to share it with the stakeholders for feedback. The basics of an agenda should include:

  • The meeting starting and stopping time
  • The names of the participants
  • The location of the meeting
  • The objective of the meeting, the topics of discussion, and the outcomes that the directors should expect

The final agenda document should have topics in order of importance. All topics should have key points and allocate time for each discussion for time management. The agenda should also outline all the material that the participants need to review before the meeting kicks off.

Enlist their roles and responsibilities in the meeting to keep your minute writing task as smooth as possible.

meeting-preparation

Use the agenda to write the board meeting minutes

With your agenda at hand, writing effective board meeting minutes will be a walk in the park. You can use the meeting agenda as a template to make the process as straightforward as possible. The secretary should take the meeting minutes as per the format that the board approves.

To ensure that your method of taking notes is consistent with that of the board, review any past minutes for confirmation. One good tip to apply when writing board meeting minutes is the use of an objective voice. 

Avoid being caught up in contentious votes or controversies. Avoid arguments and debates that crop up by sticking to the facts. Follow the agenda’s principal topics and document their discussions as the meeting progresses.

Second, remember that board-meeting minutes are legal documents. They can act as official proof of a meeting and its deliberations. You should therefore note important details such as:

  • The time, date, and venue of the board meeting
  • All attendees in attendance, their titles, and rationale for being part of the forum
  • A write up of all motions and the seconds and the outcome
  • The director’s decisions and focus

Write meeting minutes that capture the meeting’s events to keep the organization safe from any liability that scant minutes can cause. To make board meeting minute writing more manageable use Aira. This AI meeting assistant is not only a powerful minute taking and transcription tool, but is great for scheduling too.

It will help in the setup of your meeting and share your meeting’s agenda before the meeting to ease the minute writing process for you.

Aira
Aira

Post-meeting analysis

After the meeting, go through the meeting minutes, reviewing the agenda. Using Aira’s records of the meeting, add any notes that can enhance clarification to the topic and agenda. Go through the director’s votes, motions and actions, and review the decisions noted down for clarity.

Make sure that the official record of the meeting is clear, to the point, and legible. Where possible, affix the documents and handouts that were part of the director’s discussions.

Sign, file, and share the minutes

The board meeting minutes are still not official documents of the organization until the board secretary has his signature on them. Some companies may also require the president’s signature on the minutes.

The best practice is to review your organization’s policies, protocols, and bylaws regarding signatures. Share the official board meeting minutes with all directors. A meeting assistant tool like Aira is best suited for sharing minutes and any action points.

Conclusion

The purpose of the board meeting minutes is to display the director’s intentions in a legal and official document. This makes the need to write effective board meeting notes a critical business need. Use the tips above to document the proceedings of the board. Enhance the minute writing process using the best artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

How To Extract Minutes From Google Meet With AIRA

extract minutes from Google Meet

Zoom’s quick rise from obscurity to international stardom has been the talk of the year. A conspicuous move, it has caught the eye of rivals like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Consequently, all virtual meeting apps are responding to Zoom’s meteoritic rise in various ways.

Google is also cashing into the year’s vast online meeting, yoga classes, and birthday party needs. It is tapping into the online get-together space using Google Meet. An enterprise-only product, it is now free to all Google account owners.

This makes Google Meet a perfect meeting tool for businesses. Leverage the power of artificial intelligence meeting tools like Aira for productivity, and you have the perfect meeting setup. Unlike Zoom, Google Meet is free from privacy and security concerns. 

This app will support a free hour of meeting time for a minimum of 100 people. Its view displays sixteen meeting participants. To enhance security, your team members will need to log in to Google to join your meeting.

No Zoom like invite links. This way, the hosts have total control of the meeting’s privacy. Goodbye Zoombombing. Additionally, you can join a Meet meeting via a calendar invite. If you do not have one, the app will take you to a green room, until the host allows you in.

Google Online Meeting might soon become a more popular online meeting app for businesses. This begs the question; can you draw meeting minutes from the meeting platform?

How to extract minutes from Google Meet

Image credits: unsplash.com

Video conferencing tools have become a critical part of everyday life. For this reason, businesses need to make the content that their employees create within them easily accessible. Schools, on the other hand, have to ensure that students, teachers, parents, and the authorities can review these items at the drop of a hat.

Any person without a video or internet connection should access Meet’s transcriptions. You can put your Meet content in writing by allowing your app’s advanced features to record the meeting. The G Suite or Google Workspace members can record all meetings through the process below:

  1. Start the meeting and go to the screen’s right-hand side. You will see three vertical dots. Click on them.
  2. A few settings features will pop up. Choose “Record Meeting”
  3. The app will ask you to consent to the recording. Follow its instructions and accept.
  4. A “REC” red rectangle will appear on your screen’s top left. This is a sign the Meet is recording your app.
  5. When the meeting is over, go back to the right-hand side and click on the three dots.
  6. Select “Stop Recording” from the menu
  7. The app will save the recorded content to Google Drive
  8. Google Meet will inform all meeting members when a session is recording.
  9. To transcribe your meeting minutes, you can either listen in and type or pay for transcription services.
  10. To reproduce your recordings in writing, upload your files to a transcription app of choice
  11. Set up all the in-app parameters
  12. Check out and wind up the order
  13. Review and download your transcripts

Google Meet
Google Meet

Extract minutes from Google Meet with AIRA

Aira is an intelligent meeting assistant that will manage all your business’s web meeting needs. Powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, Aira will write meeting notes and capture action items. She can intelligently pick up a meeting’s keywords and can join a meeting automatically.

All she needs to arrive on time, every time, is access to your calendar app. Aira also records all the meetings she is in attendance. Need transcription services? No problem, leave it to Aira. She integrates with amongst other tools, Gmail.

Accessing meeting notes via third party transcription services is not a seamless process. Aira can make this process straightforward in both Google Meet and Zoom. Synchronize your Meet’s recordings to Aira and she will automatically extract meeting notes from them.

Aira
Aira

Why should you extract meeting minutes from Meets using Aira?

  • To enhance collaboration

If any of your meeting members misses the meeting, they will receive the meeting minutes to keep them up to date. They will not need to scroll through the whole recording for enlightenment.

  • To save time

Minutes are more digestible and allow their readers to quickly zone in on matters that concern them the most.

  • For multipurpose use

You can send the meeting minutes to all stakeholders to keep them up to date. The error-free notes can also work as training or educational content.

  • Accountability

Meeting minutes keeps every meeting member accountable. Aira intelligently highlights action items for review before and during the next meeting.

Conclusion

Google Meet is not a new kid on the block. It has been there for ages, under its old title; Hangouts Meet. In the past, Google only lets in educational and enterprise users. The American multinational tech firm has now made Google Meet free for Google account owners. Use it alongside intelligent meeting assistants to enhance productivity and collaboration.

Image credits: Unsplash.com

How To Take Better Meeting Notes From An Online Meeting

meeting notes

Have you ever thought to yourself while in a meeting, “I’ll jot down the meeting notes when I get to my desk.” At that moment, you probably thought that you were going to retain all the content discussed in the meeting. But, later, you may have been surprised to realize just how much information passed you by.

This is quite normal because in a typical workday, you are probably juggling a lot of activities and deadlines, including meetings. For this reason, it is possible to attend a meeting, sit through it and yet not retain important details.

If this sounds like something you have gone through before, we have some tips for you. In this article, we’ll show you how note-taking doesn’t have to be this arduous task that you have to dread. We will also show you how with Aira, you don’t have to put off note taking till later.

Before we begin, let’s define meeting notes.

What are meeting notes?

People usually confuse meetings and meeting notes; one is often taken for the other. While both meeting notes and minutes are somewhat the same, meeting notes serve as a quick summary of ideas discussed during a meeting. Meeting notes are also informal.

Meeting notes are important when you want to record information in a way that you will understand, or that is unique to you. some people also take notes as part of their creative process.

Minutes on the other hand, are structured, formal records of a meeting, and their job is to note down:

  • Meeting attendance (present and absent)
  • Meeting start and end times
  • Broad topics discussed
  • Decisions arrived at during a meeting

How can you take better meeting notes during an online meeting?

Even though meeting notes are formal, following a structure when writing them is important for future recall. The last thing you want is a scrap pad filled with cluttered meeting notes that you cannot make head or tail of.

Great meeting notes should be simple and have the following qualities:

  • Provide context
  • Have relevant details
  • Be legible, whether expressed in full sentences or shorthand 
  • Have ideas that flow logically into each other 

What details should you include in your meeting notes?

For your online meeting notes to be exhaustive and complete, they should include the following details

  • Main discussion points. A lot is said during a meeting, but not all of it is worth noting down. Therefore, to avoid ending up with copious amounts of notes, first, note down important points. Second, expound on those points in a few sentences.  
  • Action items. What is the task? To whom is it assigned? What is the deadline for completing the task?
  • Questions. Write down any points you want to clarify and ask them during the Q&A session.
  • Follow ups and ideas. Ideas may start coming up during a meeting. Such ideas may be the beginning of new projects therefore it’s important to write them down.

Manual and automated note taking  

There are two ways to take manual notes:

  • Manually, either by writing or typing
  • Automated note taking

Manual note taking: Laptop vs pen and paper

Some people prefer to write down their notes while others prefer to use a laptop. There are downsides and upsides to each method.

Research shows that people tend to type verbatim. The upside of typing however, is that organizing and editing points is a lot easier. When using a pen, you will note down the main points. The downside of course is that if you need to send out the notes to people, you have to type them out later.

Therefore, what it comes down to when deciding whether to write down notes using pen and paper or to type them out on your laptop, is preference.

How to take better meeting notes manually

Manual note taking requires skill. If you don’t have those skills, you will fall behind during the meeting and important information to pass you by.

Here’s how to take manual notes easily:

Use shorthand

Shorthand is a writing system that is mostly used by administrative assistants who normally need to type a lot of notes throughout their day. It is a good system to use if you already possess the skill. If you don’t, you first have to learn how to do shorthand scribbles before you start using it.

Codify

Another way to keep up the pace when taking meeting notes manually is to codify some parts. For instance:

  • Use abbreviations. For example, use “max”, instead of maximum
  • Use an asterisk * to mark important points
  • Use an exclamation mark (!) to note urgent items

Automated meeting note taking

Automating the note taking process can make work easier for you. There are many tools for automating note taking, and all of them have different capabilities.

One of the reasons why we favor Aira is because of its audio recording capability. Not only does Aira’s audio recordings ensure that nothing is missed, the meeting app notes down keywords, making it easier to pick out important details that were discussed in a meeting. 

What’s more, you don’t need to jot down the notes yourself because you can print the transcript from the meeting and circle or underline whatever you need to refer to.

  • The notes are organized and clutter free
  • The app provides context for the meeting notes

Conclusion

Online meetings happen between people who cannot be in the same room or location. If you are then stuck taking notes, it’s possible to appear aloof or even rude to other participants. Not to mention, internet lag time can make it almost impossible to follow and take notes at the same time. Thankfully, with a meeting note app such as Aira, you can reduce the hustle of note taking and improve note accuracy while conducting online meetings.

Image credits: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

10 Tips For Having A Successful Web Conferencing

web conferencing

If, prior to this year, you conducted majority of your meetings face-to-face, you have no doubt had to adjust to the new reality of web conferencing. One thing you may have realized is that you need to put the same amount of preparation in your online meetings just as you would your face to face meetings.

Because of the technical aspects involved and the fact that meeting participants are sitting in different places, web conferencing probably takes more preparation. Some aspects of it are challenging. For instance:  

  • Technology fails, e.g sound and video
  • Lack of a technical team
  • Poor turnout, as people adjust to online meetings

But if there’s one thing we can learn from one group of scientists who previously conducted their research presentations offline, it’s that these challenges shouldn’t stifle you.

The scientists have found great success with online conferencing, with some even saying that “it offers a better experience” than offline conferences. All it takes is preparation and an AI tool like Aira to facilitate the technical side. 

In this article, we will discuss tips for successful web conferencing. What can you do to prepare for a seamless online meeting? Read on for more.

1. Start with an agenda

Are you guilty of sending a meeting invite that only includes the meeting subject, time of the meeting and date? If yes, you are wasting a key opportunity to communicate vital information with your audience.

  • A meeting invite that has an agenda will ignite more interest in the recipients
  • Recipients can also go through the agenda and decide from the get-go whether the meeting is important to them or not
  • People can prepare based on agenda items, thus making your meetings more engaging and successful

2. Work on audio quality

Audio is the most important aspect of web conferencing. Without audio, people cannot hear each other. In the process, important information is missed. This then leads to frustration, loss of interest and eventually, people jump off the call. As such:

  • Test audio quality ahead of time and ask participants to do so as well

  • If your internet connection tends to be slow, work on a backup internet connection in advance
  • Have your phone as a backup in case all else fails

3. Prepare for video

Prepare for video
Prepare for video

You probably don’t observe a very strict dress code when working from home. Do you work in a t-shirt and jeans, or worse, pajamas?

This might be okay if you are not going to interact with your workmates. However, you may not want to turn up for a conference call in your pajamas. Web conferencing almost always involves video. Therefore, be prepared and dress the part.

4. Turn up early for your meeting

Since you are hosting the meeting, you must log in early for the following reasons:

  • Turning up early for your meetings sets a high punctuality standard. By the way, punctuality is a great way to stand out as a future leader in your company
  • In case of any technical problems, you can catch and troubleshoot them early 
  • You will brush up on your meeting preparation by zeroing in on the agenda items a bit more

5. Choose a tool with high-end features

Your web conferencing tool should enhance your meeting experience, not merely give you an audio and video platform.

You and your team are busy professionals, and all probably have steep targets. The last thing you want therefore, is to be deal with additional meeting-related tasks.

As much as meetings are important for conducting business, meeting-related tasks can consume a lot of your time. Therefore, your meeting tool of choice should ease those tasks.

Take AIRA, for example. It is a smart meeting tool that has these powerful features:  

  • It records and stores meetings notes and thereafter disseminates them
  • It can recognize human speech and its nuances, hence all recordings are highly accurate
  • It uses keyword recognition, which makes searching through meeting notes a lot easier  

Another great benefit of Aira is that if you or any of the other participants are travelling or cannot access their desktop, they can log in on their phones, or have Aira attend the meeting on their behalf.

6. Prepare: Research and internalize your content

If you don’t prepare, you will end up reading every word from your slides. This is why you shouldn’t read from your slides:

  • You will appear ill-prepared for your meeting, in which case, why should anyone else be prepared?
  • You will also come off as though you aren’t an expert in your subject matter
  • There will likely be reduced level of engagement when all you are doing is reading in prose form

7. Do a “temperature check” during the meeting

informal talk with meeting attendees
informal talk with meeting attendees

When web conferencing, it’s important to “go around the table” after some time has elapsed, just to be sure that you still have everyone’s attention. You can, for instance, ask a question and then get answers from each person.  You can also randomly ask for opinions on different areas from team members.

8. Tick off agenda items

Conversations are likely to digress during your web conference. As such, you could end up losing track of the meeting agenda items. Therefore, as you go along, tick off agenda items. Recap that item as you do so, so that people know that you are moving on

Ticking off items:

  • Redirects attention back to the meeting items. If for some reason someone wasn’t paying attention, they are likely to listen very closely to subsequent agenda items.
  • Helps to manage meeting time. You don’t want a meeting that prolongs unnecessarily because of interruptions.

That said, Aira can help you minimize participant interruption, keeping your meetings more focused and productive.

9. Send meeting notes and action items

Remember how we said above that Aira takes meeting notes for you? Well, that includes action items. More so, if you have enabled the right settings, Aira can automatically email notes and action items after every meeting, saving you from having to do so.

10. Follow up

Keep the momentum around the discussed topic alive by following up with meeting participants after the meeting. Individual follow up is always advisable as this way:

  • You can build a sense of urgency if an action item isn’t completed and yet you are too close to deadline
  • You can get a feel of any challenges that individuals have, and put measures in place to assist them

Conclusion

Web conferencing is now an inevitable part of our lives. As you plan your next meeting, take note of the 10 tips discussed above and implement them for greater success.

Image Credits: www.freepik.com, unsplash.com

How to Extract Meeting Minutes from Your Zoom Meetings with AIRA

extract zoom meeting minutes

The whole world seems to be on a Zoom meeting at the moment. The popular video conferencing app has now racked up a 300 million daily meeting participant volume. This massive amount of users throng the app for its awesome features.

The rise of Zoom has even sparked off an internet troll phenomenon known as Zoombombing. Zoombombers prowl the highways and byways of public Zoom meetings, bombing meeting participants with inappropriate content.

The cloud-based video conferencing tool is very popular with small, large, and medium-sized businesses. On it, users can have a continuity of their daily workflows and keep in touch. All of Zoom’s amazing features are designed for the business meeting.

Through them, work from home employees can have one-on-one meetings on the app’s free plan or host large meetings with 500 participants on paid plans.

Users can also screen share for collaboration and record all Zoom calls as video. It is, therefore, quite unfortunate that most of the app’s users have to use old paper and pen to jot down Zoom meeting notes.

The savvy meeting leader can, however, use AI meeting assistant technology tools like Aira instead. Aira is powered by artificial intelligence technology and can automatically join your meetings, transcribe them, take meeting notes, and share with all meeting participants at the end of the meeting.


 

Why should extract Zoom meeting minutes with Aira?

extract meeting minutes with aira

Some Zoom meeting leaders do try to take down notes from their laptops or computers while on Zoom meetings. If you have tried this process, you know how arduous a task it is, if you must have your camera on during the meeting.

If your meeting guidelines, however, allow cameras to stay off during the meeting (which is quite rare), you can switch off your laptop’s camera, listen in and type in your notes. Just juggle between listening in, staying engaged, and contributing to the meeting’s deliberations. This is not an easy task, and you will often lose your concentration and become less productive during the meeting.

Some other minute writing option procedures during Zoom meetings include;

  1. Opening a Zoom window and utilizing a note-taking app on the other side of your screen for minute taking. With both apps open at the same time, you can quickly click back and forth between each app as you listen take your notes. You, however, will have the disadvantage of a half-sized Zoom window.
  2. Have access to two monitors and connect them to your computer. Use one monitor to run your Zoom meeting interface. And use the other for your minute taking app. You can also use your tablet, phone, or laptop screens to set this configuration up. Use one screen for the video conferencing app and use the other for minute taking
  3. Learn your keyboard commands and use them to switch between your Zoom app and minute taking window. This option will keep your Zoom app full screen.

These methods might get the job done, but you will have to face the meeting minute taking challenges of a lack of concentration and fatigue.

You will also have to keep fighting off the urge to record every word verbatim and simply summarize the key facts. Meetings do not always follow the agenda and topics, and side issues will often come in distracting the minute-taking process.


 

How to extract your meeting’s notes with Aira?

Aira

Aira, the voice AI platform, is the best Zoom meeting minute taking alternative. She will not only take minutes but will save them on one location for ease of access.

Aira is such a perfect meeting assistant that she can attend your meeting and take notes on your behalf when you are held up elsewhere. She is the perfect complementary tool for Zoom’s recorded video function.

If you have a paid Zoom account and Aira, you can sync all your Zoom cloud recordings into Aira. With this, you’ll get automatic extraction of meeting notes through her robust AI voice transcription feature. Zoom Pro, Business, and Enterprise allow meeting leaders to record their calls as videos.

The meeting host can also enable video recordings of meetings by other members in settings so that anyone can record a Zoom meeting.

All videos will either be saved locally or on the cloud in an MP4 video file format. Aira will transcribe the meeting using her Zoom Synch feature. All that you need to do is to set up Aira’s automatic transcription feature before the meeting starts. Simply;

  1. Pre-approve Aira in Zoom marketplace
  2. Allow live streaming in Zoom
  3. Connect Aira to Zoom

 

Conclusion

Taking meeting minutes the old school way on Zoom can be a challenge. Use Aira’s proficient voice transcription feature to take extract minutes automatically from Zoom meetings and recordings.

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!

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,

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.

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