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meeting minutes

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 Productivity Software You Should Start Using Now

productivity software

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Productivity Software to Try Out:

1. Dragon Naturally Speaking

dragon

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

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

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

Price

Dragon Home: $150

Other editions: Contact Nuance team

2. AIRA

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

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

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

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

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

Pricingcontact team Aira

3. Evernote

evernote

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Basic: Free

Premium: $7.99/month

Business: $14.99/user/month

4. IFTTT

ifttt

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

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

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

PricingContact the sales team

5. Sane Box

sane box

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Snack: $59/year

Lunch: $99/year

Dinner: $299/year

6. Strict Workflow

strict workflow

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

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

The strict workflow works as a browser plugin.

PricingFree

7. X1 Search

x1

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

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

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

Pricing

Free: 14 day trial period

Single user: $96/license

Enterprise: Contact the team

8. G Suite for business

GSuite

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

Some important features in G Suite include:

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

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

Pricing

Basic: $6/user/month

Business: $12/user/month

Enterprise: $25/user/month

9. Prezi

Prezi

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Free: 14-day trial

Standard: $5/month

Plus: $15/month

Premium: $59/month

10. Apple iWork

iWork

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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,

The Top 10 Common Types of Business Meetings

business meetings

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

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

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

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


Team cadence meetings

Team cadence meetings

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

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

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

1. Weekly team meeting

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

2. The shift-change meeting

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

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

3. The Daily Huddle

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

4. Monthly meeting

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


Progress checks

Progress checks

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

5. The project’s status business meeting

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

6. The client check-in

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


One on ones

One on ones meeting

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

7. Manager and employee one-on-one

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

8. Mentorship meetings

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


Action review meetings

Action review meetings

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

9. Agile retro perspectives

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

10. Win/loss sales review meetings

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


Conclusion

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

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