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?
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;
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.
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
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, 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;
Pre-approve Aira in Zoom marketplace
Allow live streaming in Zoom
Connect Aira to Zoom
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.
Amongst the many benefits of the new ‘working from home’ normal is a positive impact on the sustainability of a myriad of initiatives. Economic growth has, in the past, exacted a heavy toll on climate change, sustainable urban living, and responsible consumption.
This drastic reduction of employee and employer carbon footprint has led to a remarkable improvement in intra-city congestion and pollution. Remote work is a sustainable economic growth feature and is the future of the labor landscape. Despite all its benefits, working from home has unique challenges as well. Some of these challenges include:
1. Coordination and communication challenges
According to David Heinemeier and Jason Friend, the founders of Basecamp, communication is foundational to the success of a remote working team.
The authors of REMOTE: Office Not Required, say that bad blood can easily develop between work from home teams when the bulk of their communication takes place through email. This set up will quickly snowball small blunders into full-blown melodramas if they are not quickly nipped in the bud.
Fortunately, a whole industry sprung up around team collaboration tools that make it easier for employees to communicate effectively. Aira, for instance, is a meeting assistant that automatically records and transcribes meeting dialogue.
This robust voice AI platform will save all your meeting notes in one location. She will also help all remote working teams keep track of all online meetings deliberations. Aira doubles team productivity, info sharing efficiency, and multiplies sales increase. Team collaboration tools ensure that no member of the team feels left out of the loop.
Professor Robert Kelly’s BBC interview that earned him the title of ‘BBC Dad” is a perfect example of how distracting the work from home environment is.
In the 2017 live interview with the British news channel, the professor’s two children made a comical entrance to his home office as he talked about the ouster of Park Geun-Hye of South Korea. Parents working from home watched in amusement as Kelly kept composure during the brief scene, keeping the show running.
Most parents can relate to the live TV blooper because they all struggle to maintain a work and home life balance when they have work near their children. One of the major reasons some employees embrace working from an office is to build a firm barrier between their home and work life. To work successfully from home with fewer distractions, you need a designated work spot, devoid of all disturbances.
Have some noise-canceling headphones to eliminate auditory distractions. Set up firm rules with your family and politely ask them to behave as if you were away at work when you are at work from home.
3. Time management
Employers have the innate fear the remote work employees will slack off in the absence of oversight. Most times, the opposite is the reality.
Most work from home employees will overwork because they find it harder to switch off. Surrounded by all the tools needed to put in extra work, they will have a harder time drawing the line. This challenge becomes even more complex when you are working for yourself.
Every remote worker needs to establish a work schedule that keeps them from overworking or slacking off. This rota will keep you productive and give you ample time to be with family and friends. Use tools such as an AI meeting assistant, Trello, Asana, and Evernote to schedule, manage time and tasks, and organize your work hours.
4. Lack of social interaction
Co-workers are often an employee’s main social circle if they do not have a close family. If you are working from home, isolation can be a challenge if you spend days by yourself. To lessen the feeling of being a hermit, have social breaks in your work schedule.
Go out for lunch with friends or grab yourself a snack from a friendly food shack attendant down the street. Take your computer with you to a co-working space occasionally, or work from a coffee shop and enjoy the social environment. Join local organizations and groups for meet-ups and recreation.
5. Technology hiccups
Challenges such as internet outages can make remote work a problem. You do not want your connection or computer to crash right in the middle of an important zoom meeting. To avoid such inconveniences and for your peace of mind, have a backup plan. You can, for instance, a mobile hotspot device for an alternative internet connection and a backup tablet or laptop at hand.
Ditching the daily commute, working from anywhere in the world, and a flexible work schedule are some advantages of working from home. The challenges above, however, can make remote work unproductive if you do not use them to create structure, routine, and discipline.
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
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
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.
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,
Long before the onset of the ongoing global pandemic, dispersed teams were slowly becoming common in the workplace. The online meeting in the age of the pandemic is now a staple. Unfortunately, some of these virtual meetings are more unproductive than their traditional meeting counterparts.
Collaboration has a great advantage in the workplace, but it is not an easily achievable attribute amongst dispersed teams and their virtual meetings. The speedy chat by the water cooler has evolved into 30-minute video meeting on an online meeting platform.
Work hours have been lost to awkward video chats with data showing a massive increase in the use of virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. By the end of March, Microsoft teams had accumulated over 2.7 billion minutes of use while Zoom downloads had blown up by 1330%.
It is not unusual to have these gawky meetings go out of hand as familiar sounds of “your screen was frozen for a minute, kindly repeat your point” or “kindly turn on your mic” bring the meeting to a standstill.
Zoom fatigue has now become a new phenomenon, eating away at dispersed team’s sanity and ensuring the meeting productivity stays at an all-time low. Did you know that once distracted, the human brain requires 23 minutes to get its focus mojo back? This data point is a good explanation of why the 30-minute online meeting is often extremely unproductive.
Why you need to have smart meetings
There are nevertheless many advantages to online meetings amongst dispersed teams. When workers in diverse locations, separated by time and space collaborate, they can develop products, services, and information faster, cheaply, and more efficiently.
By distributing employees, businesses become more agile in production and customer requests management. The virtual collaboration will also enhance key stakeholder involvement in a business’s decisions and work processes.
When smart meetings become a norm, both the employee and stakeholder will experience more satisfaction and an improvement in the quality of work.
Ten of the best tips on how to hold smart meetings
1. Have a meeting facilitator
Most normal meetings are not collaborative because most professionals do not have basic meeting management information. In a physical meeting room, however, this shortcoming is surmountable. The meeting’s members will fumble, stumble, and will eventually make the meeting work.
An online meeting is less forgiving. When you have a variety of professionals in diverse time zones and geographies, a few hitches can throw the whole meeting into disarray. You can put an end to awkward silences and sudden bursts of speech with a meeting facilitator.
The facilitator will put an end to the free-for-all environment, ending discussions that hijack and that throw the agenda out of the window. The smart meeting facilitator will develop the meeting’s agenda and ensure that every member has an opportunity to contribute.
They will keep every participant from going off-topic and ensure that all meeting notes are taken, shared, and followed up after the meeting. Aira is a virtual meeting assistant that intelligently takes meeting notes and shares them with meeting participants.
She will turn your normal meetings into smart meetings via her state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. This virtual meeting assistant will join your online meetings, transcribe the meeting’s dialogue, and highlights the action points discussed.
With Aira at hand, your human facilitator can enjoy sharing and solving problems with other team members. They will not spend their meeting moments on minute writing tasks. Aira integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier, to ensure easy access to meeting documents and analytics.
2. Use participant’s names
According to research done by Wil Schuz, when individuals gather to collaborate they need to feel in control. They also require openness and inclusion. These three needs can be naturally meet in a physical meeting but are harder to meet in a virtual meeting.
The need for inclusion for instance can be met by ensuring that all participants are called by their names. This smart meetings feature will cut down on the fear of being marginalized or ignored. Most online meeting members join meetings with the sneaky suspicion that no one recognizes or knows that they are present.
Use names to foster the feeling of inclusion. Online meeting tools like Zoom will display names automatically during meetings.
3. Poll the participants
Virtual meetings could have cross-cultural elements opening up a wide door for cultural challenges. There also virtual meetings that are held across international airwaves, bringing about language and time differences to the already challenging virtual meeting mix.
Virtual work also has many personal challenges. Humans assimilate 65% of communication via their eyes by translating a speaker’s body language. Non-verbal communication helps to foster a sense of team and trust.
Most online meetings kill most non-verbal communication cues, which encourages a breakdown in the interpretation of dialogue. You can meet the meeting member’s need for inclusion by polling the group. The meeting facilitator can ensure that they speak to each person in the virtual room and ask them whether they have ideas to share or whether they agree to the agreement at the table.
Since the virtual space lacks visual cues, the facilitator needs to cue in members when it is their time to speak. Polling every person in the room will increase the feeling of control and inclusion and cut down on boredom and dozing members.
Use smart tools such as Lean Coffee Table that allow members to vote and suggest on the ongoing discussions. The tool will enhance inclusion, and enhance feelings of influence, competency, and control.
4. Timebox your meetings
Most meetings are too long, a disastrous mistake when it comes to virtual meetings. You need to schedule a meeting time and use it accordingly. Do not extend your meeting time. Try whittling down the time until you have the perfect time schedule fit.
Timeboxing helps in dedicating blocks of time to a specific meeting agenda and topic. This practice keeps the meeting productive, meeting all goals laid. Use smart time management tools such as TickTick Premium to time box your meeting’s schedule.
5. Lay down meeting rules then optimize them
There are many conflicting online meeting facts out there. Some say that members should mute their microphones to reduce distraction. Others say that the use of video enhances concentration, preventing distractions such as selfies or multi-tasking.
Rules are necessary for group management but you will not know how effective they are until you test them. Smart tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, can help you test, analyze, and optimize your meeting rules.
6. Use virtual whiteboards
You can create a common visual focus to increase participation. The visual documentation of ideas will increase participation and collaboration. Visual focus can be enhanced via screen projections or virtual whiteboards. WebEx has a smart whiteboard feature that allows its users to sketch their feelings or ideas on it.
7. Allow members to chat
Short online meetings have very little time to spare for adequate inclusion procedures. Tools such as GroupMe helps dispersed teams to chat among themselves on the go. It has a video, picture, and emoji feature as well as location sharing.
8. Have a technology guru at hand
Many businesses are grappling with the implementation of an effective virtual workplace. These companies are holding meetings without a plan in the hope that they will reap the benefits and opportunities of collaboration.
Unfortunately, all that they are gleaning are the pitfalls of unproductive meetings. The online meeting is very dependent on technology. Most employees on the other hand lack the technological know-how required to operate these virtual tools.
Since few users understand how to make the best use of these tools, the technology will ‘go down’ when it is needed the most. It pays to have a technology guru to handle your distracting technology glitches and reduce delays.
9. Inspire joy!
There is never a dull meeting in smart meetings. Eliminate any boredom by marking events to enhance satisfaction amongst participants. Some businesses will for instance call for a virtual candle lighting session to inspire joy and contemplation.
Since online meetings do not have organic socialization, encourage non-work activity, and catch up sessions after the meeting. Let them introduce their babies or fur babies or sing Baby Shark. They can utilize GroupMe to enhance direct messaging and coordinate private chats across diverse device platforms.
10. Make the meeting proceedings actionable
Use tools such as Aira to share meeting notes afterward and to ensure that all deliberations are followed up on. Aira will share your meeting notes and transcriptions via email to all team members. You can also upload your meeting documents to Google Drive to enhance real-time document sharing and collaboration.
Smart meetings are productive and enjoyable and are a formidable part of a business’s growth strategy. Use these tips above to create smart meetings that enhance collaboration, productivity, and feelings of inclusion amongst members.
Innovations in Artificial intelligence (AI) technology have progressed so fast that it does boggle the mind, what the future holds. In a decade, we have intelligent computers that through neural learning technology can diagnose diseases, transcribe speech, or translate a language. Coupled with AI and machine learning, a computer’s smart capacity can modernize telecoms, financial, management, and healthcare industries.
The AI sector is the new frontier in industry and will be worth over $190 billion by 2025. This technology is critical to virtual assistant, predictions, surveillance, customer support, fraud detection, e-commerce, and social media applications. We use AI for image curation at Yelp and content discovery at Pinterest. Google’s neural matrix Deep Mind, powers amazing machine-learning aspects that include robust speech translation, natural language processing, prediction, and search ranking processes.
Twitter is dependent on bots for its curated timelines, while Facebook Messenger chatbots are taking the world of e-commerce by storm. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, chatbots will manage over 85% of customer service needs.
Why office meetings need AI tools support
One business sector that needs AI tools support is office meetings. Workers often associate meetings with time wastage, spending that time sending emails or dozing off. A study by Fortune shows that most employees will send at least three emails during a 30-minute long meeting! They complain that these conclaves are too long and unproductive.
Most meeting chairpersons also do not prepare for meetings, wasting the participant’s time with an agenda-less gathering. Video chat meetings might be time-limited but they do have their complaints as well. Did you know that 43% of attendees on a conference call spend some of that time on social media? A large 65% of them will spend that time on other work related tasks.
Meetings seem to bring out the worst in workers! Participants of the ongoing global video meeting wave are up in arms over Zoom meetings. They have described them as extremely tiring. Why? Between freezing screens, and staring faces, focus during video calls is a challenge. Processing the tone, pitch, and non-verbal cues during a video call meeting is harder than it is in a traditional meeting setup.
Online meetings are shorter but their attendants have to dispense more energy studying the body language of their meeting partners, which drains them and creates a dissonance of conflicting emotions. Add minute writing to this painful set-up and the person in charge of minute taking will not have any opportunity to make valuable contributions or engage with other meeting attendants.
Reasons why artificial intelligence is an online meetings game changer
1. You can delegate some pre-meeting tasks to the AI meeting tool
Meetings are essential to meeting business objectives and promoting positive company culture. They encourage teamwork, and every business owner should encourage mechanics that promote meetings, making them a source of productivity rather than a distraction. In the office set up, you can delegate your minute writing tasks to personal meeting assistants like AIRA.
AIRA will join web conferencing calls, record all the meetings proceedings, and transcribe all data on your behalf. She will keep track of all your online meetings and notes. Your favorite meeting companion will jolt down all meeting records, share them with all the meeting participants, and provide meeting analytics to help you optimize your processes. AI meeting tools can for instance;
Handle all the mundane but time-consuming tasks such as joining the online meetings, adding people to video calls, and calling all meeting participants prior to the meeting.
Identify meeting participants and usher them to the meeting room. With AI meeting bots at hand, you will have fewer online meetings where participants log in and hardly know half of the faces on their screens.
The AI tool will also connect your meetings to your company’s digital knowledge assets, to assist in the setting of an agenda as well as the organization of meeting notes.
2. The AI tool will also make your meeting more productive
You probably have been in a meeting where one participant forgot to mute their microphone and every participant had to listen in to a transcription of their doctoral thesis. Some meetings also go on for too long as each person gets their stand-up moment to discuss business matters. Such talkfests often go beyond the 90-minute meeting mark. In a disorganized meeting, you will have a large number of presenters going off-track.
Meetings are often unproductive because its convener did not do their homework. Hopping people onto an online conference room, when you have not stated the meeting’s purpose is a recipe for disaster. There should be a detailed and thoughtful agenda that should encompass the subject of the meeting, the subject’s topics, and the people responsible for each topic discussion.
The leader should highlight the time allotment for each presenter, write down each question beforehand, and set down the meeting’s expectations. Knowing when and where to mute sound during online meetings is a grey and highly contentious area. It needs definitive guidance because workers are spending more time than ever before in remote work video meetings.
Consequently, you will have meetings where some participant disrupts the ongoings with a joke (which will be more annoying than funny) or there will be background noises from barking dogs, construction, or happy children.
Some of the attendants may also be interrupted and have to put the meeting on hold to go deal with real-life issues. Often they will do so, and leave the microphone on. According to Zapier, there might not be a need to mute microphones in a small meeting with five or fewer participants. Since video conferencing software can only show a few faces on the screen at the same time, you can only read essential non-verbal cues from the visible faces.
In the absence of these non-verbal cues, an attendant might be tempted to talk out of turn, especially when the video begins to lag. A larger online meetings need to have an automated system that mutes all other sources of sound and leaves the presenter’s sound on.
Can you imagine the cacophony of sounds that can arise from the microphones of 200 or more online meeting participant’s backgrounds? How can AI and machine learning tools fix these challenges and make your meetings distraction less and productive?
AI meeting assistants can automatically mute microphones of meeting members and only enable a presenter’s microphone. The AI tool can also perform selective muting by detecting noises such as barking dogs, keyboard tapping, then alerting, and requesting the offending party to mute their mic.
AI meeting assistants can also use facial recognition to put names to faces. This feature can be very useful in online meetings that have multiple participants in them, making identification easier.
The AI can also supply each participant’s designation, work history, and contact information to any member that requires it, to ensure that all members spend less time asking or digging for information during meetings.
These tools are also maturing and acquiring situational context knowledge. Consequently, they will automatically know about the agenda in question and make better and more accurate meeting notes than human minute writers can.
They will also table useful documentation such as financial projections or analyst reports at a moment’s notice. AI tools will also supply past meeting notes, deliberations, conclusions, and action points to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly.
Since intelligent bots will be taking notes and transcribing all discussions on your behalf, you will have more time on your hands to focus on the meeting and to share your brilliant ideas with the rest of the team.
Voice interaction with an AI tool will free your mind and hands, making the tiresome video conferencing sessions less of a hassle. An AI assistant like AIRA will become part of your work team reliving you of mundane and routine team chores and making your meetings better and enhance growth.
3. Handling after-meeting chores
Your artificial intelligence and machine learning meeting tool of choice will automatically gather information on your behalf ensuring that all meeting members stay focused during the meeting. The tools will do away with haphazardly done or hand-scrawled notes. Some of their after-meeting benefits include;
Sharing meeting transcripts to all members that highlight all action points
Fostering camaraderie, trust, and collaboration, by enabling the sharing of a meme or two, business files, and meeting records.
AI machine learning helps online meetings to be more productive and more efficient in delivering positive results. AI machine learning technology benefits for personal and office use are endless. Virtual personal assistants like Alexa or Google Now can set up your schedule and remind you of items on it on time. Siri is a fantastic personal assistant and is particularly useful during travel.
She can check the weather, your flight information, find your lost luggage, and grab that great parking spot for you. AI meeting assistants like AIRA or Hendrix will also bring your office workers closer allowing focused interactions that enhance productivity during meetings.
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?
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
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
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.
Few office workers love meetings. Most of them believe that their workplaces have too many meetings. Many don’t even know how to write minutes of meeting correctly. Data shows that workers spend 4.1 hours each week in a meeting. A third of this time is wasted due to disorganization, a significant cause of unproductivity.
These same employees spend about 13 hours a week reading emails. Complaints about ‘too many emails’ in the workplace are, however, a rarity. So why do meetings receive such negativity in the workplace? Should emails replace meetings?
Not at all. The conference room is a place of collaboration. It can aid in the creation of healthy and connected business culture. Launch revenue-generating missions here and make fantastic impressions. It is easier to agree to a bad idea in an email than in a meeting. In the flesh, a business owner can easily tell when there is reluctance or disagreement in opinion. Meetings are training grounds for success and a business think tank experience. They can be different and loved if they are well organized.
How virtual assistants can transform your meetings
This is a good age to transform your meeting process and reap all of their benefits. The advancements in internet technology and its high speed of operations have transformed the method of operation of many businesses.
Virtual conferencing, document sharing, and cloud-based project management platforms have allowed many enterprises to leverage remote working and talent. The current business operations environment is very accommodating to virtual work. Consequently, the virtual assistant (VAs) have become a norm for small businesses rather than an exception as it was in the past.
Entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferris of the “4 Hour Workweek” owe their success at business scaling to virtual assistants. Tim says that this virtual support staff allows him to work less while growing his business. To him, VAs are the unsung heroes of growing businesses globally.
VAs handle various aspects of business, such as transcribing documents, files organization, calendar scheduling, and coordination, statement preparation, minute note-taking, and other vital business administrative tasks.
Data shows that hiring a VA is a very cost-efficient business move. A VA will cost you three times less than what you would have to pay for a full-time personal assistant. The beauty of hiring talent on demand is that you will need to pay for a specific skill set when necessary.
You will not need to spend time and money on a lengthy recruitment process and training of new employees. A virtual assistant’s support can especially shine when it comes to meeting minute writing.
Why do you need a virtual assistant to write minutes of meeting?
Many organizations are dependent on VAs for impartial minutes taking during their meetings. They are a top favorite for community and voluntary groups such as the Scouts, Girl Guides or Brownies. Most small-sized businesses only hold meetings a few times each month, so they do not need a personal assistant in the office at all times.
The need for virtual assistants is, therefore, on the rise since they can join in meetings from any part of the world and at any time and take your meeting’s notes. The VA is, therefore, a smart strategy that helps to manage time and business resources as business activities move a more frenzied pace. Some of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant to take your meeting minutes to include;
Increasing productivity and preventing burnout for business owners that have to perform different roles in their businesses. The virtual assistant will give you a much-needed break so that you can eliminate distractions and focus on the discussion at hand during meetings.
Improving communication and collaboration between employees. The VA will keep each member updated on any conclusions and alterations.
The meeting assistant can be hired when their skills are needed, meaning that you can hold your meetings past the usual nine to five work periods. As an illustration, a VA in a different time zone can cover your business’s night shift needs, increasing flexibility, and saving your business hefty human resource costs.
How to write minutes of meeting using a virtual assistant
Poorly run meetings are more common that a productive meeting. Most employees would rather tackle their large workloads at their desks than become stuck in a poorly organized and run meeting. This horrible outcome of bad meetings can be mitigated via the use of a virtual assistant.
The minute taking virtual assistant undertakes some pre-meeting and post-meeting tasks that will steer any meeting to the productive meeting zone. With a VA by your side, you can say goodbye to the agenda-less info dumps that kill productivity.
The VA will ensure that each meeting is well planned, the agenda well set, and the outcomes well defined. An office that does not have a trained personal assistant requires the services of virtual assistants to ensure that one participant will not monopolize and derail the conversation.
Here is how to write minutes of meeting with the help of a VA.
Set all pre-meeting arrangements
Your virtual assistant’s organization skills can shine during the pre-meeting phase. With the assistance of your VA, you can set the atmosphere for a stress-free meeting by delegating to them specific meeting preparation tasks such as:
Travel, food, accommodation arrangements
Speaker and team contact and coordination
Preparation of presentations and research
Sharing of meeting materials and communication with all attendees
Proofreading of all documents
Discuss and set the agenda with your VA
One secret of a productive meeting is ensuring that meetings are not be held to convey information that an office email or memo can communicate. This is the reason why the setting of an agenda before a meeting is crucial to a meeting’s success.
Every participant invited to a meeting should receive an agenda that has a clear statement of the outcome expected from the meeting. This agenda ensures that the only people that attend the meeting are those that have something to contribute towards it, which lessens distractions.
A set agenda will also ensure that the VA will have a guideline to work with to ensure that each participant sticks to the designated topic. This aspect will cut off all ramblers and redirect any arising tangents. The agenda should communicate the;
Topics to be discussed
Prepare the right meeting technology
When the VA is taking minutes, they will need tools such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or AIRA. These ensure all the meeting’s objectives are met in a timely fashion. The VA should prepare these tools beforehand to eliminate all causes of delays due to tech challenges.
They will ensure that all participants are prepared to use these tools, and all links and passwords to virtual meetings are provided beforehand. Tools such as AIRA, for instance, will transcribe and summarize meeting notes and organize all official meeting duties.
AIRA can recall your meeting’s action items, clarifying communication, speeding it up as well. This AI meeting assistant will join your virtual calls, take notes, highlight action points, and keep all the meeting’s participants updated.
Tools like AIRA can join different meetings simultaneously, and all you have to do to have their assistance is to make a call to your number. The AI will join your meeting and record your session. At the meeting’s end, AIRA will send you a transcription of your meeting and your minutes as well. She will also share these items with the rest of the participants and provide past analytics of meetings from her dashboard.
Keep the meeting focused on the agenda
One reason why most meetings receive high levels of negative feedback is that they take too long. The human brain has a very short attention span. If you engage it in hours of communication, it will begin to experience a “cognitive backlog”.
This challenge can also arise in a short one-hour meeting if time spent on a single topic is prolonged. Your VA can keep the meeting on track by setting and enforcing meetings rules such as;
Muting other microphones when one participant is speaking to eliminate background noise
Ensuring that all suggestions, questions, and comments are written down first and discussed when the last participant has made their presentation
Monitoring time and controlling the flow of the meeting are essential elements of a productive meeting. Have rules in place that prevent meetings that go in loops or that form heated debates by paying attention to time.
At the end of the meeting, your virtual assistant will ensure accountability and follow-through by;
Write minutes of meeting and sending copies to all attendees as well as those that might have missed it
Archive the meeting minutes and store it as requested
Your virtual assistant of the day can also be an automated artificial intelligence technology assistant like AIRA. The AI virtual assistant knows how to write minutes of meeting using natural language algorithms to interact with your workforce and therefore has a human feel. The AI assistant will, however, not make human errors when taking minutes, is precise, and faster than a human VA.
Businesses thrive on customers. No matter whether you are a start-up or a huge corporation, you need a solid customer base for your organization to breathe.
A productive meeting plays an indispensable role in the success story of your business. Be it striking a rapport with your team members, stakeholders, or your customers; meetings are vitally important for clear communication.
However, the traditional static meeting framework fails to keep up with the changing needs of new team collaboration.
Like every other element, your business meetings need to evolve.
Today’s smarter teams need smarter collaboration systems. Championing this need comes AI meeting minutes, an AI-powered bot that alleviates the overall productivity of meetings.
Modern workforces see a steep growth in distributed workforce models. After all, the model allows an organization to get the best of global talents along with lowering down running costs and many other perks. According to CNBC, almost 70% of the worldwide workforce today works remotely at least once every week.
However, the critical element that makes sure that this model works is communication. Without it, the full system is susceptible to collapse.
Facilitating the best of traditional meetings without their shortcomings, AI meeting minutes assistant makes sure you make the most of your time.
Let’s look at the primary areas where AI-meeting minutes can boost your team’s efficiency.
Where can an AI meeting minutes boost your team’s efficiency?
Time optimization: Valuable time is often wasted to start the meeting in a traditional meeting. Some participants come early, some late. An AI meeting minutes makes sure everyone is on time every time. It creates alerts 15 minutes before any meeting starts and keeps all the participants posted on the same.
Goal-oriented collaboration: One of the many problems that make a meeting unproductive is keeping it impromptu. A meeting without clear set goals creates redundancy in the quality. The attendees, most of the time, leave the premise without actionable steps.
Quality optimization: Taking notes is, no doubt, one of the to-do jobs in a meeting for future use. However, it distracts you from the meeting heavily. With an AI meeting minutes, you can focus on meeting, leaving all other to-do tasks on your bot.
Clear communication: Human communication may face errors many times, especially if the team size grows. There may be times when you communicate updates to all members of the team, leaving a few. With an AI meeting minutes, there is no trouble like this. It makes sure each member is updated every time without fail.
Improved productivity: One of the main challenges in a traditional meeting is keeping every member posted with real-time updates. Especially the last-minute changes.
An AI meeting minutes bot champions this feature. It makes real-time updates hassle-free, seamless, and quick.
Thus, overall productivity increases.
Enhanced focus: Eliminating unnecessary distractions of work like notetaking, continuous communication updates to each member increases the quality of attention.
An AI meeting minutes assistant makes sure it does your meta work and lets you concentrate on what is essential: your product and customers.
Increased engagement: Adding a touch of a human, you AI meeting minutes bot uses the power of machine learning to simulate human conversational language.
Thus, the next time your team or customer strikes a chat with your AI bot, you will never feel less human.
However, harnessing the power of AI, it makes sure it’s error-proof.
But, choosing the right fit in the flooding market of AI-powered meeting and collaboration tools is tricky.
Here is a list of features that can make your task easier.
What features make your AI meeting minutes choice the best for a productive meeting?
No matter how high your tool ranks on a utility-scale, if it is not user-friendly, it can do no good to your team.
That is the number 1 rule.
Keeping user-friendliness and utility as the prime most factors in your mind, the following are the features you should check:
Meeting scheduler: The principal role of your tool is to facilitate the scheduling of meetings. But what you need to track is how fast and easy it is.
Re-scheduler: Business is dynamic. Last-minute changes are part and parcel. Thus, your AI meeting minutes bot needs to adapt to the needs and facilitate fast re-scheduling options.
Transcription capabilities: While in the meeting, keeping a record of your meeting time is essential for future use. Along with the recording, a transcription of the same is necessary to derive the highlights of the meeting. Your AI meeting minutes must have this vital capability.
Flexibility: Businesses tend to change their shape and size fast. Thus, no matter if you need a one-on-one meeting or a conference, your AI meeting assistant must be flexible to facilitate all.
Integration: Silo model business operations are a thing of the past. Today, you need your work tools with maximum integration power. Your AI assistant must have full integration capabilities to synchronize with popular productivity tools.
Conflict resolution: Conflicts between team members are a usual event in the workplace. You need your AI assistant to be adept at helping resolve these conflicts.
Precision: An AI bot uses machine learning frameworks to learn patterns. Thus, with time its work efficiency only increases as it determines the trends and critical terminologies of your meeting minutes.
The AI-powered meeting assistant AIRA features all of the above features. But it extends its offerings further.
AIRA is cloud-based, goal-oriented, conversation-adept, and has high precision. But that is not all.
The company makes sure you have 24/7 expert support in case you face trouble handling the product.
Its 256-bit encryption technology makes sure your conversations are safe and in a closed-circuit.
An AI meeting assistant is not only efficient but also cost-effective. It costs almost 30% than the average human assistant. Investing in an AI-powered bot is, no doubt, the right choice for your business today.
There are two key elements that you need to keep a check on while you invest in the tool, the efficiency of the device, and the support that the company that serves the tool. No matter how efficient a tool is, it is susceptible to malfunction.
A company that supports robust troubleshoot capabilities makes sure you stay at peace every time.
Hire your best productive team member, AI meeting minutes assistant today!