Posts Tagged

online meetings

Google Meet vs Hangouts: Things You Need To Know

Google Meet vs Hangouts

With remote working gaining currency as the new norm, numerous web conferencing and meeting applications have come about. Google has not been left behind either and has a massive following on Google Meet and Google Hangouts. And therein lies the confusion; Google Meet vs Hangouts, is there a difference, or are they one and the same thing?

Both tools form part of the Web & Video Conferencing offerings available from Google. And yes, there are several differences between the two. In this article, we take a look at 10 of them. Keep it here to learn more about these tools to determine the most suitable one for your needs.

Is Google Meet the same as Google Hangout?

Google Meet vs Hangouts, what’s the difference? Meet is a top-quality video conferencing software offered by Google within Google Workspace – the former G Suite. It is a paid online video chat or meeting service available at meet.google.com for all Google Workspace users. You can conduct your meetings over voice or HD Video Call.

Hangouts, on the other hand, is an all-in-one voice call, instant messaging, and video conferencing software available for all Google users. So, if you have a Gmail account, then you can access the service. What’s more, it’s free.

But which one should you opt for? To answer this question, it’s important to understand that your choice will depend a lot on your type of organization, meeting style, and the features you deem necessary.

To help you make a more informed choice, we take an in-depth look at the two services. Below is a comparative look at Google Meet vs Hangouts highlighting each tool’s salient features:

Is Google Meet the same as Google Hangout


1. Number of Allowable Participants

If you want to hold a meeting with video conferencing on Meet, you have a limit of up to 250 users. For additional participants, you’d need to utilize live streaming, which can support about 100,000 participants.

However, Hangouts is better suited for smaller meetings or personal use since it limits you to 150 chat participants. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer streaming and only supports video chats with 10 people.


2. External Meeting Participation

Google Meet allows external participants; hence you can invite people outside your organization to join in. You only need to email them an invitation link or share the meeting code. Hence, non-Google Workspace plus Gmail users can join a Google Meet meeting though only members can create new meetings.

The only way to participate in a Hangouts meeting is if you have a Gmail account. This is because Google Hangout is a part of your Gmail account. So, no Gmail account; no access to Google Hangouts.  


3. Interface and User Experience

Google Meet boasts a sleek, intuitive, and user-friendly UI. Better yet, you can choose to view everyone on your screen, either in grid form or singly. But on Hangouts, you only view a single participant with the other video participants available on a smaller horizontal stripe.


4. Screen Sharing Options

While Google Hangouts allows you to share your full screen, Meet allows better sharing via a specific tab or window. The latter option comes optimized for video sharing, so you can even watch YouTube videos from your friend’s screen.


5. Internet Usage

Internet connectivity can be quite unreliable at times, but this is where Google Meets trumps over Hangouts. Meet allows you to join a meeting by typing in the meeting code without using the internet to dial in. With Hangouts, you need to have an internet connection to dial in the number to connect you to the meeting.


6. Recording Your Meetings

record your meetings

With remote working, meetings have moved online. Thus, the ability to save, record, and safely store meeting minutes for review later is vital. Google Meet allows you to schedule, record your meetings, and saves the recording to your preferred drive storage. However, this feature is not available on Hangouts, so you might want to use an online meeting assistant like Aira.

If any key participant fails to attend a meeting, they can always have the minutes sent to them to keep them up to date.


7. Auto Captioning

If your meetings involve foreign participants, language barriers might be a challenge. But with Google Meet’s live instant captioning, this is not an issue. You only need to activate auto-captioning to view a live transcription of what each meeting participant is saying.

Unfortunately, Google Hangouts doesn’t provide this feature as yet.


8. Price Difference

Google Meet vs Hangouts, which is more affordable? Pricing is a key determinant of the choice of software for most users. Fortunately, Google Hangouts is a free service, the only limitation being the number of meeting participants and users on active video.

Google Meet, on its part, is a paid software service packaged together with Google Workspace Suite. To use Meet for video conferencing, your organization needs to be on Google Workspace. Since the bundle integrates with email, it works out as a good deal overall.


9. Extra Integrations

Google Meet boasts several integrations with Google apps like Gmail and Google Calendar and third parties such as Zapier and Fireflies. But Hangouts doesn’t have such integrations on its platform.


10. Serving Different Needs

Hangouts and Meet help meet different needs. Hangouts is best-suited for casual calls between friends, while Meet is sophisticated and suitable for large group meetings. Also, its video web conferencing makes it excellent for businesses.


Wrapping Up

And there you have it. A detailed exploration into Google Meet vs Hangouts. So which option is the ideal one for you? You now have the details to make an informed decision at your fingertips.

10 Things You Must Never Google At Work For Better Work Efficiency

The last two or three decades saw a lot of companies invest in information technology in a bid to improve productivity at work. At the same time however, certain advancements in technology, namely the internet, proved themselves to be a productivity bottleneck.

Ready access to the internet means that you can google anything whenever you want. This is a good thing. The downside though is that without strict boundaries at work, google can easily reduce your work efficiency. In this article, we have compiled 10 things you should never google at work if you want more work efficiency.

Don’t google these 10 things if you want to increase your efficiency at work

1. The history of google

While Google and other companies like Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, Aira have such interesting foundation stories, you should probably only google them in your spare time.

The behemoth you know as google today actually started from a dorm room. Stories of such humble beginnings are always quite fascinating. We found this out the hard way when we stumbled upon Google’s “about page” while researching for this paper. 30 minutes later, we were way off track and still learning about google from back links in the original page.

2. Photos of cute animals

If you want to be sucked into an endless rabbit hole of whole-day googling, google photos of cute animals. The options that come up are… well, cute. Alongside the stock photos from pixabay, Shutterstock, etc., you will get a whole lot of cuteness to feast on from animal planet, bored panda, pinterest, among others.

On the results for this search for instance, bored panda had a list of “30 cute baby animals that will make you go Aww”. There is just something about cute animals that makes you want to see more cute animals, so after going through that post, all you’ll feel like doing is see more cute animals.

We recommend staying away from the videos tab if you are after better work efficiency.

3. Conspiracy theories

If you don’t know what a conspiracy theory is, here’s a definition from Oxford online dictionary, “a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.” Wikipedia also adds, “…when other explanations are more probable.”

Wikipedia has a bunch of conspiracy theories on practically every industry and topic. My personal favorites are “Israel animal spying” and “flat earth” (yes, flat earth is a real discussion by real people in the 21st century).  

The thing is, even if other explanations are probable, you still get pulled into the web of implausible explanations surrounding whatever conspiracy topic you googled.

4. Crime/ Real Murder mysteries

You probably enjoy a good murder mystery: From criminal minds, featuring extremely scary psychopaths committing gory crimes, to Midsomer Murders where the regular gentle folk of Midsomer have devised a bunch of ways to solve their little problems by murdering each other.

These fictitious stories also happen in the real world. In Thailand, the island of Koh Tao (now aptly nick-named death island), experienced 9 tourist murders in a span of 4 years according to this NYTimes Report.

This and other similar stories will keep you riveted for hours, so only google them in your spare time.

5. Disease

Googling about disease can quickly develop into quite an addiction which is why we don’t recommend going down this route while at work.

For instance, google a symptom you have right now. You will realize that there’s a list of other likely diseases. If you click on those links, you will get more information but probably won’t learn enough to satisfy your curiosity. You’ll probably keep googling and only stop because your eyes are tired, or you realize you really aren’t getting anywhere.  

6. Productivity

Being productive is good because:

  • Results are tangible, e.g, you’ll make money, like a life of your dreams, etcetera
  • The sense of accomplishment boosts esteem

There are so many different “experts” in the field of productivity, all of whom recommend a bunch of creative ways for creating more efficiency at work. To find “the best method”, you have to explore the methods proposed by each of these gurus. In the end, you will realize that ironically, googling productivity results in an unproductive day. This is because it’s actually eating into the time you could be spending doing real work.

7. Diet, exercise and fitness

Like productivity, diet, exercise and fitness is one area where we all must just learn to “agree to disagree”.

Crossfit, Insanity, A-alert, Tabata, Warrior…the list of exercise regimens is endless. The same goes for diet and feeding schedules: Paleo, vegan, Dukan, HCG, low carb, no carb, calorie counting, intermittent fasting… another extra long list.

The point is, you simply cannot exhaust this subject. And quite honestly, trying to do so only further complicates your life.

If jogging has always worked for you, it wont stop just because there’s a new fancy workout regimen that is famed to work magic.

8. DIY anything

DIY means “DO IT YOURSELF”. Proponents of DIY maintain that it’s all about creating self-sufficiency while saving money.

It’s good to DIY. However, the reason why you shouldn’t google this at work is that there are so many ways to DIY any topic you choose. For instance, if you google “DIY hair growth”, you’ll get so many hair growth formulas, all promising to magically restore your receding hairline.

More so, we don’t recommend DIY googling at work because you’ll get the “DIY” bug. After your first successful DIY project, you’ll start googling how to DIY everything. Like how to tether a goat, how to build your own couch, paint your own walls, give your sofa a new look in a weekend.

9. Cooking/Recipes 

Here’s an exercise I did to prove why this is a bad idea.

I googled “vanilla cake recipe”. After a while, those cakes looked so boring, so I googled “best desserts to make”. I ended up at HuffPost’s 50 Of The Best Dessert Recipes Of All Time, and by the 7th recipe,

  • I had a long shopping list of dessert-making ingredients and no way to get them at that time,
  • I was too hungry and frustrated because all I wanted was cake.

What’s more, I still hadn’t decided on a single dessert recipe. So, in a sense, my cake-googling was unproductive, and so was my afternoon.

do not google recipes

10. Celebrity news

From fashion trends, to who’s marrying who, who’s divorcing who, who had a wardrobe malfunction, who wore what to the Grammys/Emmys/Oscars, who has a weird fetish, who has decided to ditch their makeup and go au naturelle, who’s interested in science and isn’t just a pretty face…the list of celebrity topics is as interesting as it is endless.

You can spend hours and hours on the internet and you’ll never get your fill of celebrity news, so the workplace is definitely not the place for googling such stuff. 

Last words

Now you know our list of things that you shouldn’t google at work if you want better work efficiency. Got anything to add to this list? Let us know.

What Is AIRA And Why Do You Need It?

what is aira

Meeting management, scheduling, note taking, minute taking are all tasks that until a few years ago, could only be carried out by a human being. Any time you needed to schedule a meeting, you or your PA had to do it. You also needed to assign someone to take minutes during the meeting.

The problem with this system was that meeting management and minute taking are very time consuming tasks. You could easily find your entire day consumed only by scheduling this meeting or that or taking copious amounts of meeting notes. In addition, there are operational challenges that come with conducting meetings manually. Some of them include:

  • Meetings can sometimes drag on forever if the agenda is not properly managed
  • During meetings, people can speak over each other, causing the note taker to miss important points. Even a person experienced at shorthand could find it difficult to keep up in such a situation.  

Today however, there is a solution to this problem. The development of AI as an industry has given rise to applications like Aira, an AI meeting assistant that automates all your meeting-related tasks. You will find that although Aira will help with meeting management and minute taking, it is, on the whole, helping you to improve time management.

What is Aira?

Automatic Meeting Transcriptions

Aira is many things in one: It is a:  

  • Meeting scheduler
  • Meeting management tool
  • Minute taking and note-taking tool
  • Voice recognition app. Aira is a highly accurate conversational AI as it is trained, through machine learning, to recognize human speech.
  • Recording and transcription tool
  • A storehouse for all your important business proceedings

Aira is an important addition to your martech stack as it can integrate to your CRM, email, etcetera. This ensures that anyone from your company can make meeting notes a part of their workflow.

Features of Aira

As mentioned above, Aira is many things in one. Its suite of features are what enable it to perform all these impressive tasks. Those features include:

1. Calendar syncing

When using aira, you don’t have to worry about having to use an additional mail client. This is because Aira will sync into your current email account.

What’s more, you don’t need to do any set up for your calendar to sync. Once you log into Aira for the first time, it will sync all your calendar details. All the meetings you have scheduled will automatically be uploaded to Aira and scheduled there. 

Once your calendar syncs into Aira:

  • You can join meetings without having to log into Aira
  • Meetings scheduled on, will automatically update on your calendar
  • Your teammates can see your availability. You can say goodbye to prolonged consultations about meetings times and questions like, “When is the best time for you to have a quick meeting on XYZ?”

2. Records meetings and shares notes

You will no longer need to drag your PA into every meeting just to have him or her take minutes. Aira will do that for you, as well as provide transcripts once you conclude the meeting.

Aira also generates keywords for every transcript. When you click on a keyword, it automatically highlights in the transcript. This gives you context and also allows for quick skimming in case you are pressed for time.

3. Join meetings virtually

You can autojoin Aira meetings from your calendar. As well, when on the move, you can simply join from your mobile phone or have the Aira attend the meeting for you.  

4. Action items

Aira scans meeting notes and generates a list of action items. You can make it easier for Aira to recognize action items by actually telling it to do so as the recording is going on.

Aira also automatically generates meeting minutes from the recordings.

In addition, with the auto mail function, you can also automatically email notes, minutes, and action items to all concerned parties.

5. Meeting analytics

You can make your meetings more efficient and productive in future by analyzing trends from your meetings.

6. Integrate into Zapier

Integration with CRM helps you to find and tap into new opportunities. It also allows your team members to execute their tasks with speed. For example, if a customer complains about slow customer service, a customer service rep can reach out with an apology or implement a speedier customer support system.

How your business will benefit from using Aira?

Introducing a conversational AI like Aira into your business has the following advantages:

  • You will save time

“67% of workers say spending too much time in meetings distracts them from doing their job” (Source: CNBC). If you are one of the many professionals who echo this sentiment, would you sign up for a demo with Aira if we told you that you can save up to 15% of the time you spend in meetings? I bet you would!

  • Collaborate better

CRM integration makes it easier for everyone to access account-relevant information from one platform.

As well, a shared archive for all meeting notes gives easy access to everyone.

  • 2X your Productivity

What happens when your attention is undivided during a meeting? You focus more, you pay more attention, and, ultimately, you increase your productivity.

  • Increase your sales

You can analyze the conversations from sales meetings and make better sales decisions. Aira promises up to 4x more sales.

  • Improve your ROI by up to 100 times more

When there’s 100% visibility into client data and when that data improves team collaboration and improves customer handling, you are bound to experience more revenue growth.

  • Have at your disposal a 100% accurate AI assistant 24/7.

If you need to confirm something, you don’t need to do any guess work or consult yours or teammates’ memories. Simply refer to past meetings. 

Bottom line: Who is Aira for?

As long as you need to schedule or conduct a meeting, you can use Aira regardless of your profession. For instance: 

  • Entrepreneurs running online businesses, small and medium-sized companies, can benefit from using conversational AI
  • HR companies can conduct online interviews and access those files later on.
  • Aira is also without a doubt a great addition for anyone in sales and IT, not to mention marketing and customer service. With Aira, you will get access to customer feedback, queries, and requests. You can use this information to tailor your offering to them.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Demo today and experience the transformation that comes with using conversational AI in your business!

Want To Be Productive? These 10 Traits Are Essential

traits of productive people

The more productive we are within any given day, the more success we will experience in our lives. Yet even armed with this knowledge, most of us still find it difficult to be productive on a continuous basis. Why is this?  Why is productivity so elusive?

You see, for most people, productivity is about working hard. It’s about staying busy and working way past your bedtime. Most people also create goals and then expecting that that simple act in itself will increase productivity.

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these things (for instance, you might need to put in extra hours from to time), achieving your daily work in this manner will only lead to burnout, hence unproductivity.

While a big part of productivity is about mastering your daily habits, it also helps if you are armed with the right technology. It is a fact, that technological advancements have helped people achieve more.

For example, there’s no need to put off meetings when you have Aira, an AI meeting platform that records meetings for you. This means that you can still attend to your daily tasks without needing to postpone any meetings.

That said, below are habits and traits of productive people that you need to develop to become more productive. Read on and learn.

10 traits of productive people you need to know:

1. Plan your day the night before

Here’s why:

  • You will eliminate decision fatigue. The very act of deciding what to work on consumes energy
  • You can sit down and immediately start working
  • There’s less likelihood of procrastination
  • You can better identify and eliminate distractions
  • You will eliminate last-minute surprises especially for activities such as meetings where people need to be notified in advance  

2. Personal organization

Personal organization is one of the most important traits of productive people possess.

From your desk to your desktop, your workspace, and even your home, being highly organized will spill over into your work. For instance, how you name your files and folders will determine how much time you spend trying to locate them. Make use of productivity software that can manage your tasks. On the other hand, if your folders and files are disorganized, you will waste time searching through your computer whenever you need them.

  • Name your files and folders properly
  • Stay organized with a calendar and reminders
  • Plan a to-do list for each day

3. Accept that some tasks are not so important

to do list

Have you spent the whole day working yet cannot account for what exactly you have accomplished?

This could be because you probably spent your day doing busy work. You might have many things on your to do list every day but not all those things are important.

To be productive, you need to figure out which tasks are important and which ones aren’t. If a task isn’t moving you towards your goal, it may very well be a trivial task.

  • Plan your tasks for each day (each task is a small part of your goal and should get you closer to your goal)
  • Set priorities for each day
  • Accomplish those priorities
  • Manage your time more efficiently (don’t waste time)

As you try on this approach, remember to “minimize”. A goal is big. On the other hand, a task is small. A subtask is even smaller. Stay focused on your tasks and subtasks and you will meet the goal.

4. Get back on track quickly when distracted

Things don’t always go as planned. A team member may need your assistance, a customer may make an impromptu visit, your boss might pull you into an unscheduled meeting, etcetera.

When such things happen, don’t allow them to derail your entire day. Instead, quickly attend to the distraction and then get back to work.

5. Delegate 

Remember the list of trivial things we mentioned above? Sometimes, a task that is not so important to you might be important to another team member.

If it makes more sense that a task should be performed by someone else, talk to that person so that you can spend your energy where it matters the most.

6. Become a problem solver

If you find yourself being unproductive, take a step back and do this:

  • Audit your day. What behaviors caused you to be unproductive? Did you for instance start your day late, or fail to plan your day, or get distracted?
  • Decide the steps to take to fix the behavior. For instance, go to bed an hour earlier so that you get enough sleep, or plan to do your most important tasks first thing in the morning when you are unlikely to get distracted

The last thing you want to do when you are unproductive is to beat yourself up about it. Shaming yourself into action will only cause you to feel a lot worse about yourself. Instead, take a problem-solving approach to unproductivity.

7. Accept when you aren’t well equipped

learn new things

Do you have all the traits of productive people? How good are those tools at doing what you need them to do? Does your workspace support productivity?

The same goes for people. Have you surrounded yourself with a team of people that are highly skilled and qualified to do their jobs?

Audit yourself to zero-in on the areas that need improvement.

Don’t be afraid of making changes. Instead of focusing on how much it might cost you, focus on the gains.

For instance, you might find that while hiring a virtual assistant will increase your overheads, the resulting revenue benefit (as a result of your increased productivity) justifies the spend.

8. Avoid perfectionism

You may walk away from a task you are working on, but there is no guarantee that you will feel like doing it later.

The most productive people stick to a task until they complete it. Perfectionism is one of the main factors behind an inability to complete tasks.

Instead of focusing on working everything to perfection all the time, focus instead on delivering the most viable product (MVP).

That is however not to say that you shouldn’t do your tasks to perfection. No. What we are saying is that if you find yourself experiencing performance paralysis, work on creating a draft first and then improving on it from there.

9. Be accountable

Productive people do not engage in blame games. Instead, they appreciate their own humanity and accept that they, just like others, can sometimes fail. They also adopt an “all’s not lost” attitude; just because something goes wrong doesn’t mean that nothing good happened.

Therefore, applaud yourself for doing well today and strive to do better tomorrow. If you fell short in some areas, take responsibility.

10. Invest in yourself

It’s always good to look back at the day you have had so as to objectively identify areas where you need to improve. Once you find those areas, invest accordingly in skills, tools, etcetera.

Investing might even mean taking some time off. Whatever you do, your investment should contribute to increased drive and motivation.

Conclusion

There you have it!

If you have been going through a period of unproductivity, honing these habits in yourself will give you great results in your work. You might even be surprised to find some of the benefits you experience at work trickling into your personal life. Try these 10 traits of productive people and let us know how they work out for you.

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 Create Better Action Item List From Meetings

action item list

An action item list is an important tool for task management. Without an action items list, you could very easily overlook important tasks that need to be accomplished or go about your day quite inefficiently.

Using an action item list, however, doesn’t automatically make task accomplishment easier. It’s not uncommon to find teams that end their workday with pending actionable tasks on their to-do lists.

If you or your team are struggling with task deadlines, we will show you how to overcome this problem by creating better action items lists. We will also introduce you to a tool called Aira, that eliminates the hustle of minute taking and plans your action items for you.

Before we go into that, let’s first define “action item”.

What Is an Action Item?

During meetings, team members come up with tasks. A couple of steps need to be taken for that task or project to move smoothly. Those steps are called action items. Each action item has a person assigned to it, and that person is responsible for completing it.

The completion of each action item moves the project closer to a specified deadline (you could envision this as a finish line). To accomplish all project tasks, you must complete every action item properly and on time. For this to happen, you must set action items to properly. This means:

  • Every team member knows exactly what they are required to do
  • Each member can easily monitor and track project progress
  • Keeping deadlines realistic hence easy to meet
  • As a result, productivity will be high as tasks will be more seamlessly completed

It’s not enough to have the intention to complete a task Even merely stating that things need to get done doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get done. With an action item list, you create a map that will guide you towards your success by following simple steps.

What should an Action Item List look like?

At this point, you are probably wondering what a good action item list looks like. To answer that question, let’s consider an example of what your action items shouldn’t look like:

Example: Sample action item list

  • Vendor shortlist
  • Purchase models
  • Sales meeting

So, what’s wrong with this list?

For starters, it is vague. It’s difficult to know what those details mean. In fact, it looks just like any other list.

Great action items should be

  • Actionable
  • Clear: Complete and well-stated to remove vagueness
  • Easy to understand and manage

Here’s how to create an action item list that has these qualities.

The 7 rules that will help you create better Action Items from meetings

Rule 1: Tasks aren’t action items

tasks are not action items

A list like the one in the example above is made up of tasks. Each of these tasks is accomplished by taking a series of steps.

To make tasks actionable, you need to figure out the what, who and when of each task:

E.g Vendor search:

  • What steps exactly, need to be taken?
  • Who will take those steps?
  • When?  

Rule 2: Use verbs

Verbs are action words. “Vendor shortlist” on its own doesn’t say much. However, when stated as “prepare a vendor shortlist”, that gives a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

Using verbs not only defines what needs to be done, but also makes you mentally ready to take action.

Verbs also make it easier to recall details of tasks, which is important when handling projects that contain multiple or complex tasks.

Rule 3: Make them SMART

Teams that work with all the information they need are more likely to complete their tasks than teams that don’t. When you make your action items SMART, it means that you have included as much information as possible to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound.

An added advantage of using this approach is that it helps with future recall. Action items usually make sense in context, therefore going to greater lengths to provide SMART details helps with better recall in the future.

Rule 4: Reduce the focus of action items to the most minimum unit

An action item should be minimal in focus. That is, it should focus only on one thing. If you can break down your action item into smaller steps, then it is too complex and broad in focus.

Ensure that action items are broken down into their smallest tasks. For example, “prepare a vendor shortlist” can be broken down into many steps and is therefore a very complex action item. Minimizing it so that its steps become action items will make it more manageable.

Rule 5: Watch out for dependencies

Some actions are dependent on other actions. For instance, if Julie from marketing doesn’t compile a list of known vendors, June from sales cannot set appointments with those vendors. Dependencies are best managed when everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do and by when they should do it.

  • Point out dependencies where they exist to makes team members more conscious about holding back other colleagues from completing their actions.
  • Prioritize tasks with dependencies to allow other members to accomplish their tasks.  

Rule 6: Turn your process into a template

Your first attempt at creating a better action item list is going to feel a bit cumbersome. It might even consume a lot of your time. However, being meticulous with details the first time around will give you a template to work with in future.

This process can become even easier when you use Aira to automate minute taking for your meetings. Aira creates action items from your meeting discussions, thereby reducing the amount of work you need to do.

As Aira integrates with CRM and other platforms, you can easily import the action items into that software to set up and track your project workflows.  

Conclusion

Action items guide teams on what they need to do and helps them achieve those obligations by a certain deadline. If your team members still have unaccomplished items on their schedule by the end of their workday, watch out for these problems:

  • Is the focus of the action items too broad?
  • Can teams easily find action items assigned to them or do they have to comb through long lists?  
  • Are your team members overwhelmed by too many tasks?

Then, follow the process outlined above to create better action item lists.

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

5 Best Meeting Assistant Apps That Will Rule The Web In 2021

meeting assistant apps

Do you know that over 78% of meeting participants find their meeting schedules unmanageable? Upper management is setting meetings times that leave workers feeling out of control. Disorganized meetings are so unpopular in the workplace, that most employees would rather visit the dentist than attend them.

The best meeting assistant apps can change the business meeting processes. They can enhance collaboration, engagement, and productivity. Some of the best meeting apps in 2021 include;

1. Aira

Aira

Minute taking can be a significant challenge for any meeting leader or participant. For this reason, every business should have a tool like Aira at hand to handle all minute writing. This app can also record video and transcribe.

As an illustration, you could attend a meeting expecting a conversation to follow a linear pattern. Then the participants diverge from the topics at hand. Such a situation will leave the minute taker confused about what to write. They cannot humanly transcribe every word and sift through the minutes later for gems.

Minute taking is also very distracting. If the person taking minutes has a deep involvement in the agenda, it will limit their contribution. Intelligent meeting assistant tools like Aira can ease these challenges. Aira is an artificial intelligence-powered tool that records meeting proceedings.

It will transcript all conversations and produce a voice recording at your meeting’s end. The perfect meeting assistant, it uses AI technology to track the agenda and topics.

It will then make succinct notes from your meeting. Aira will also analyze the meeting’s action items and email them to all attendees. Aira increases productivity, encourages collaboration, and keeps every meeting member up to date and accountable.


2. Calendly

Calendly

Scheduling meetings can be a tremendous source of frustration. There is nothing as worse than “Sorry, can’t make it”, heard ten times over. There is always a person too busy to attend a meeting in a particular moment.

Consequently, the meeting leader has to keep going back to the drawing board to suggest new meeting times. Then, they have to undergo the whole peeving process once more. Platforms like Calendly can make meeting scheduling much easier.

This app shows other meeting members your availability and offers them meeting times that suit all parties. If you have one too many meeting requests and need to manage your replies, go for Calendly. It will connect to your calendar app, and is compatible with Microsoft Office, iCal, and Google Calendar.

Design a meeting via Calendly and send scheduling links to all people that need to attend. The app will synchronize all confirmations to your calendar and that of your invitees. To help you connect to customers and clients, Calendly integrates with Zoom, HubSpot, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, and Zapier.


3. Slack

Slack

Slack is a business messaging app that makes internal communication between colleagues effortless. Meeting members can send real-time messages to each for collaboration in an intuitive user interface. 

A team-messaging app, Slack has many useful features that include its groups and channels features. You can also video call your meeting members via Slack for quick chats. Slack integrates with a horde of beneficial business platforms.

One of its newest integrations includes the Zoom app. You can use Slack to manage your Zoom meetings or make calls through the popular meeting platform. As an illustration, the meeting leader can launch a Zoom meeting from the Slack interface.

On Slack, all meeting participants will view all meeting details, including the call’s participants. Zoom-Slack integration will enhance problem solving and decision-making. Slack has smart calendar integrations with the Google and Outlook calendars.


4. HubSpot

Hubspot

Time management and scheduling are very important skills in today’s high-stress environments. People have tons of deadlines and tasks to complete. They have to handle their core jobs and prioritize time for meetings.

They also have health, family, and other social issues to deal with. HubSpot’s meeting scheduling application is free and makes quick work of the time-consuming coordination process. Using the HubSpot CRM, you can set up a personalized meeting-booking link. Share it via email.

The link will act as an invitation and scheduler, highlighting the most suitable meeting time. Meeting members will then notify you of their availability via this link. The HubSpot CRM integrates with a wide range of useful business tools.

Of critical importance to its meeting, scheduling functions are its Office 365 and Google Calendar integrations. Consequently, you can use this 100% free tool to build contact records that you can track.


5. Arrangr

Arrangr

Arrangr is a top-notch meeting assistant tool with “intelligent” scheduling features. It has an Intelligent Spot Finder that analyzes ratings, reviews, distances, and pictures. It uses this data to suggest the perfect meeting spot.

Arrangr will also share half waypoint ideas with all meeting members to ensure convenience. This app has a flexible invite feature that sends a variety of meeting times and dates to members for choice. It also allows all members to notify each other of their online conference call or video platforms.

When the best meeting times are set, Arrangr will release the leftover slots. Some of its turnkey features include the creation of automatic meeting pins and numbers and video call links. This meeting assistant tool integrates with iCloud, Google, and Office calendar applications.


Conclusion

Meetings are at the heart of creativity and problem-solving. Productive meetings can positively affect your bottom line and enhance your company’s culture. Use the five meeting assistant apps above to schedule and manage your meetings today.

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

‹  Older posts