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productivity tools

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.

10 Tips For Having A Successful Web Conferencing

web conferencing

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Start with an agenda

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

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

2. Work on audio quality

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

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

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

3. Prepare for video

Prepare for video
Prepare for video

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

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

4. Turn up early for your meeting

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

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

5. Choose a tool with high-end features

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Prepare: Research and internalize your content

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

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

7. Do a “temperature check” during the meeting

informal talk with meeting attendees
informal talk with meeting attendees

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

8. Tick off agenda items

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

Ticking off items:

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

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

9. Send meeting notes and action items

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

10. Follow up

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

How Aira Help With Business Internal Communications Problems

internal communications

Effective internal communications. This is the one thing that any company needs to thrive and succeed. For teams to work well together, effective and clear communication needs to happen from the top down, from the bottom up, and horizontally. However, clear and concise communication isn’t always possible. Often, information flow can be interrupted for reasons as varied as:

  • Assuming that everyone knows what is going on within the company. For example, the marketing team might assume that just because an advert is running in the public media, everyone in the company is well informed about it.
  • Misinterpretation of messages. This can result from second-hand information, language barriers, loss attention during meetings, or apprehension about seeking clarity. If employees act on bad information, this could cost your company its reputation, customers, and money. You can easily prevent this from happening with an AI meeting tool like Aira.
  • Lack of team cohesion. This is often the case with teams that work in silos. For example, the sales process should involve marketing, sales and customer service teams. But, if none of these teams have visibility in what the other does, this can lead to communication breakdown.

If not checked, lack of proper internal communication can result in:

  • Employee resentment, with individuals feeling no compulsion to “go the extra mile”
  • Lack of team coordination, which in turn leads to
  • Duplication of responsibilities and tasks
  • Teams and individuals can be left out of important processes and projects
  • Burn out
  • Wastage of company resources
  • Poor company image
  • Loss of customers
  • Loss of revenue because of missed opportunities

Video: How AIRA Takes Care Of Your Business Internal Communications (Part 1-4)


How can you use AIRA to improve internal communications?

Improve your online meetings through better record keeping

Majority of internal communication in most companies is now being done online. This also includes other meeting management tasks such as organizing meetings, setting timelines for completion of different tasks, and sending minutes of meetings.

Given this, how can you track notes and action items for each, and every meeting held online?

The answer is simple: AIRA.

AIRA is an AI based assistant that

  • Makes employees’ lives simpler
  • Improves your selling process and actually results in more sales
  • Makes customer handling easier

AIRA does this by solving common communication problems that a company faces. Anyone who is present in a meeting can benefit in the following ways:

  • Track just about any meeting on your list
  • Click on notes and you would know what the meeting was all about
  • AIRA keeps a record of all online meetings and you can access them with just one click

Handling customer requirements

Every customer is unique and expects customized solutions to cater to their needs. To guarantee they get the most value for money, customers often revise their set of requirements. This can pose a challenge to a business analyst, especially one who is handling a large customer data base.  

Business analysts need to keep track of every customers’ needs without making mistakes with every revision.

AIRA makes this possible, as it allows you to easily track, through voice recordings or transcripts, all the requirements and changes that a customer has asked for. This will help you meet your customers’ requirements and consequently, keep your customers delighted. Company directors and product leaders will also find AIRA quite useful for this reason.

Product planning

Product managers, developers and executives need to ensure that teams pursue the company’s vision by:

  • Reaching goals
  • Executing on projects
  • Conducting smart evaluations of processes and products

Product managers for instance, need systematic records to make plans and fix accountabilities for execution. Without such records, tracking progress can pose a huge challenge.

How can managers use Aira to keep track of every task and make their team members accountable?

  • The AI based assistant keeps transcripts of meetings. This provides a reference point for all project meetings
  • The action item lists within Aira help product leaders, developers/executives to keep track of progress made by each individual

 

Sharing meeting notes

With online meetings becoming the new normal, it’s posing a huge challenge to individuals who might need to attend multiple meetings. Some meetings might even happen simultaneously, making it nearly impossible for you to attend all of them.

How then, can get the outcome of meetings, without attending them?

Use AIRA for one click sharing of notes/summary while keeping everyone updated, so that no one misses on important decisions or plans made during the meeting.


Conclusion

Most companies don’t usually think of a internal communications budget. Yet taking steps to improve internal communication is key to improving team performance and boosting revenue growth. A study by Towers Watson found that companies that take steps to improve internal communication experience 47% higher shareholder returns. So, ask yourself:

Do you want to build strong and productive bonds with your employees?

Do you want your employees to be comfortable expressing ideas that will help build your business?

Do you want fulfilled customers who aren’t just happy to do business with you but also refer you to others?

If yes, then start by improving your internal communications processes. Communication within your workplace will build more teamwork, create transparency and lead to better collaboration. But you cannot achieve such level of efficiency manually.

Try out AIRA.

10 Productivity Software You Should Start Using Now

productivity software

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Productivity Software to Try Out:

1. Dragon Naturally Speaking

dragon

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

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

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

Price

Dragon Home: $150

Other editions: Contact Nuance team

2. AIRA

Aira

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

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

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

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

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

Pricingcontact team Aira

3. Evernote

evernote

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Basic: Free

Premium: $7.99/month

Business: $14.99/user/month

4. IFTTT

ifttt

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

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

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

PricingContact the sales team

5. Sane Box

sane box

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Snack: $59/year

Lunch: $99/year

Dinner: $299/year

6. Strict Workflow

strict workflow

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

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

The strict workflow works as a browser plugin.

PricingFree

7. X1 Search

x1

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

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

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

Pricing

Free: 14 day trial period

Single user: $96/license

Enterprise: Contact the team

8. G Suite for business

GSuite

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

Some important features in G Suite include:

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

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

Pricing

Basic: $6/user/month

Business: $12/user/month

Enterprise: $25/user/month

9. Prezi

Prezi

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

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

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

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

Pricing

Free: 14-day trial

Standard: $5/month

Plus: $15/month

Premium: $59/month

10. Apple iWork

iWork

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

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

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

Conclusion

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