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meeting summaries

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

7 Smart Tools That Helps You Win At Taking Action Items

action items

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

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


How to choose a tool for taking meeting action items

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

Effective action items have these two characteristics:

  • They are concise and
  • They are clear

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

What

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

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

Why

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

When

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

Who

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

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


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

1. MeisterTask

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

Meistertask has the following features: 

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

Pricing

Basic Free
Pro $4.13
Business $10.39
Enterprise Custom


2. Meeting King

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

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

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

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

Monthly Pricing

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


3. Ntask

Ntask

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

Some meeting management features in Ntask include:

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

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

Pricing

Basic Free
Premium $2.99
Business $7.99
Enterprise Custome


4. Meetin.gs

Meetin.gs

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

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

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

Meetin.gs doesn’t support voice or video.

Pricing

Monthly Subscription $12
Yearly Subscription $129


5. AIRA by Eduba

AIRA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pricing

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


6. Lucid Meetings

Lucid Meetings

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

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

Pricing

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


7. Samepage

Samepage

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

With Samepage, you can:

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

Pricing

Free $0
Starter $7.50
Pro $9


Conclusion

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