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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.

11 Secrets To A Successful Sales Meeting Unleashed

successful sales meeting

Do you run a productive and successful sales meeting everytime? If your answer is yes, then congratulations! You are one of the few sales professionals who have honed and mastered a skill crucial to selling effectively.

In most organizations, sales meetings waste a salesperson’s time and quite frankly, deliver very little value. While we appreciate that sales teams need to dedicate some of their time to meet their managers, if those meetings aren’t helping the bottom line, they are a waste of time.

A meeting that wastes a salesperson’s time is more likely to demotivate that person. On the other hand, if your sales meetings can deliver value, you will increase your team’s productivity. This is where meeting tools come in. A meeting tool like Aira has built-in analytics, from which you can draw insights into meeting performance. This article, however, is not about meeting tools, but simple behavioral adjustments that once implemented will shape how your salespeople view sales meetings. More on that below.


The secrets of running a successful sales meeting

1.     Limit your meeting to one agenda item

You can cover many issues in a meeting agenda. But time is money for salespeople so instead of addressing multiple issues, focus one crucial agenda item. Discussions centered around one area has several advantages:

  • You can dig deep into that issue or topic, and understand it
  • That item becomes the metric that matters for that week
  • Your team will remain focused on the subject discussed

2.     Send out the meeting agenda way before the meeting date

Do you want your salespeople to be well prepared for your meetings? If yes, make use of your AI meeting assistant to send out the agenda well ahead of time. Make your agenda items actionable.

3.     Keep time

keep time

Do you want your team to respect your meetings? Do you want to create a sense of urgency throughout the workweek? Then lead by example by sticking to your meeting timelines. Keep time, and you give your salespeople a template of how they should handle their customers’ time.

We also mentioned earlier that time is money. Keeping time tells your salespeople that you value their time.

4.     Keep your meetings to under one hour

Another important aspect of time is meeting length. 36% of meeting attendants lose attention when attending any meeting that lasts more than 45 minutes. So, to make the most out of your meeting session,

5.     Make meetings relevant and pertinent

People tend to drift during a meeting if they notice that the meeting items don’t concern them.

Let’s assume you have 4 salespeople, each representing a region. If you want to have productive discussions with them, schedule a meeting with each one. This might seem redundant but look at it this way: whenever someone is giving an update on their region, the other three are likely to check out of the meeting because that region does not affect their performance.

In addition, if there’s an issue that has to do with one person, follow up with that person after the meeting.

6.     Encourage discussion

Your salespeople, not you, are the ones facing customers. They are also the ones who have to deal with challenges in the field. So, they want you to hear them as much as you want them to listen to you.

Turn your meeting into a forum for discussion, where issues are tabled, discussed and action taken immediately.

7.     Updates do not warrant a meeting

We cannot stress this enough: meetings centered around updates have little to no value to a salesperson. Some things can be addressed on email. Learn to identify such matters so that you don’t hold unnecessary meetings.

8.     Recognize and reward performance

recognize and reward

There is nothing more motivating for a salesperson (besides the commissions of course), than recognition. Therefore, whenever you hold a meeting, recognize, congratulate and reward your top performers. The following happens when you reward salespeople regularly:

  • You set the pace for your salespeople every week. Everyone will try to hit their targets so that they can shine during the next meeting
  • The end result is that you are more likely to hit your monthly target by remaining focused week on week
  • Your meetings become something that salespeople look forward to attending

9.     Turn meetings into a performance improvement platform

As you hold more meetings, you will start to notice performance trends. Some of those trends may indicate areas that need improvement.

You don’t need to wait for your next training workshop to address key performance issues. Instead, use your sales meetings to deliver bite-sized training sessions that will help your teams to start changing their results immediately.

10.  Make your sales team feel like a part of the company

Since majority of salespeople spend most of their time in the field, one of the times they get to interact with the company is during meetings. Take it upon yourself to give them a positive experience during these rare moments. They should feel like insiders and know that their contribution is not only appreciated, but also shapes growth. In a word, offer motivation.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, have the company head attend a meeting and reward individuals by name. Or, do something as simple as offering refreshments during meetings.

11.  Agree on next steps

You expect your salespeople to leave their customers with clarity on what the next steps will be, right? The same should go for meetings. After every meeting, each person’s responsibility should be very clear. Send meeting notes and action items Immediately after the meeting. You can do this very easily with AIRA.


Conclusion

Yes, improving your sales meetings is as simple as implementing all or some of these 11 points. As you implement these tips,

  • Ask your team for feedback. A simple question like this will suffice, “Hey, how do you think today’s meeting went and what can we do to improve the next meeting?”
  • Use AIRA analytics to track meeting performance trends

That’s it! Happy meeting!

How to Extract Meeting Minutes from Your Zoom Meetings with AIRA

extract zoom meeting minutes

The whole world seems to be on a Zoom meeting at the moment. The popular video conferencing app has now racked up a 300 million daily meeting participant volume. This massive amount of users throng the app for its awesome features.

The rise of Zoom has even sparked off an internet troll phenomenon known as Zoombombing. Zoombombers prowl the highways and byways of public Zoom meetings, bombing meeting participants with inappropriate content.

The cloud-based video conferencing tool is very popular with small, large, and medium-sized businesses. On it, users can have a continuity of their daily workflows and keep in touch. All of Zoom’s amazing features are designed for the business meeting.

Through them, work from home employees can have one-on-one meetings on the app’s free plan or host large meetings with 500 participants on paid plans.

Users can also screen share for collaboration and record all Zoom calls as video. It is, therefore, quite unfortunate that most of the app’s users have to use old paper and pen to jot down Zoom meeting notes.

The savvy meeting leader can, however, use AI meeting assistant technology tools like Aira instead. Aira is powered by artificial intelligence technology and can automatically join your meetings, transcribe them, take meeting notes, and share with all meeting participants at the end of the meeting.


 

Why should extract Zoom meeting minutes with Aira?

extract meeting minutes with aira

Some Zoom meeting leaders do try to take down notes from their laptops or computers while on Zoom meetings. If you have tried this process, you know how arduous a task it is, if you must have your camera on during the meeting.

If your meeting guidelines, however, allow cameras to stay off during the meeting (which is quite rare), you can switch off your laptop’s camera, listen in and type in your notes. Just juggle between listening in, staying engaged, and contributing to the meeting’s deliberations. This is not an easy task, and you will often lose your concentration and become less productive during the meeting.

Some other minute writing option procedures during Zoom meetings include;

  1. Opening a Zoom window and utilizing a note-taking app on the other side of your screen for minute taking. With both apps open at the same time, you can quickly click back and forth between each app as you listen take your notes. You, however, will have the disadvantage of a half-sized Zoom window.
  2. Have access to two monitors and connect them to your computer. Use one monitor to run your Zoom meeting interface. And use the other for your minute taking app. You can also use your tablet, phone, or laptop screens to set this configuration up. Use one screen for the video conferencing app and use the other for minute taking
  3. Learn your keyboard commands and use them to switch between your Zoom app and minute taking window. This option will keep your Zoom app full screen.

These methods might get the job done, but you will have to face the meeting minute taking challenges of a lack of concentration and fatigue.

You will also have to keep fighting off the urge to record every word verbatim and simply summarize the key facts. Meetings do not always follow the agenda and topics, and side issues will often come in distracting the minute-taking process.


 

How to extract your meeting’s notes with Aira?

Aira

Aira, the voice AI platform, is the best Zoom meeting minute taking alternative. She will not only take minutes but will save them on one location for ease of access.

Aira is such a perfect meeting assistant that she can attend your meeting and take notes on your behalf when you are held up elsewhere. She is the perfect complementary tool for Zoom’s recorded video function.

If you have a paid Zoom account and Aira, you can sync all your Zoom cloud recordings into Aira. With this, you’ll get automatic extraction of meeting notes through her robust AI voice transcription feature. Zoom Pro, Business, and Enterprise allow meeting leaders to record their calls as videos.

The meeting host can also enable video recordings of meetings by other members in settings so that anyone can record a Zoom meeting.

All videos will either be saved locally or on the cloud in an MP4 video file format. Aira will transcribe the meeting using her Zoom Synch feature. All that you need to do is to set up Aira’s automatic transcription feature before the meeting starts. Simply;

  1. Pre-approve Aira in Zoom marketplace
  2. Allow live streaming in Zoom
  3. Connect Aira to Zoom

 

Conclusion

Taking meeting minutes the old school way on Zoom can be a challenge. Use Aira’s proficient voice transcription feature to take extract minutes automatically from Zoom meetings and recordings.

Resolved – 5 Biggest Challenges of Working from Home

challenges of working from home

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.

2. Distractions

Source
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

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.

Conclusion

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.

What Is The Right Way To Start A Meeting?

right way to start a meeting

Calls for a workplace meeting are often met with a level of murmuring and groaning rather than a “Heck yeah! Let’s do this!” While meetings often bring the best ideas to light, According to a study done by Verizon Conferencing, most heavy meeting goers have at one time or the other attended dysfunctional meetings.

Consequently, 90% of them admit to missing bits of the meeting or daydreaming when in a meeting due to flawed meeting behavior. At least 70% of them admit to bringing other tasks to these gatherings while 40% of them simply go off to the land of nod. Most meetings start very unsoundly, setting a wrong tone for the remainder of the event. Here’s the most right way to start a meeting:

Informing participants of the meeting’s purpose and outcome

Informing meeting participants

Circulate your meeting’s agenda to all participants beforehand via Aira. Aira is an AI meeting assistant that makes meeting notes and shares them with all meeting members. She is an artificial intelligence technology powered tool that can share your meeting’s agenda and past minutes before and after the meeting.

At the beginning of a meeting, your participants have two major concerns in their minds. They will want to understand right off the bat why they are in attendance and why they should care about the meeting’s agenda. Most guides will tell you that the best way to start your meeting is by reviewing your agenda, then heading straight to the agenda’s topics.

This process has its benefits but it will not highlight the benefits of the meeting. It will also not bring to light the reasons why they should count the meeting as of any importance to them. To capture the member’s attention from the word go, and also set your conference up for success, give them the answers to these two questions first.

With Aira by your side, you should, therefore, start your meeting by informing the associates of the purpose and the outcome that they should expect. You can, for instance, start with words such as “At the end of this meeting, you will all walk away with…” You can alternatively kick off the meeting with a “the intention of this meeting is…” Such words will get everyone on the same page and ensure that your meeting is a success.


Empower the meeting participants

empower meeting participants

When it comes down to it, most employees do not know how to behave in a meeting. Some want to look less weird and normal while others are intimidated by the thought of conversing with the person sitting across the table.

There are also lots of silly rules out there that may hinder the participant’s ability to collaborate with others and to display their value. Meetings provide fantastic opportunities for workers to show leadership and problem-solving skills. You should, therefore, start the meeting by shattering the ceiling of unnecessary interpersonal dynamics and secret corporate etiquette.

Get rid of all veiled social rules and the pressure to perform that makes the members edgy and panicky. Empower the delegates and allow them to understand the power that they have in a meeting room. Give them the authority over their contributions by ensuring that they do understand the level of engagement expected from them.

Empowered partners will be open to discussions and participation. Start your meeting by voicing an empowering statement like” you are our select team, chosen to vet our marketing process because you have a deep understanding of our strengths and weaknesses”.

A study done by MIT research says that the collective intelligence of a team is determined by the equal participation capacity of its members.


Restate your meeting’s ground rules

meeting's ground rules

Every business has as part of its cultures, directives that dictate how its meetings flow. Encouraging engagement is a great way to start a meeting, but you should state the boundaries as well. It is important however not to overdo the law setting at the commencement of your meeting.

You can incorporate this feature by picking one salient to the discourse at hand. As an illustration, you can ward off passive aggression by reinstating that all challenges should be addressed in the course of the meeting only and not before or after it. This will ensure more productivity and unity in collaboration.


Conclusion

If your powwow misses a strong start, its members will quickly get off track or zone out, so you must know the right way to start a meeting. If, you don’t want to chair a disorganized meeting avoid casting shadows by creating the wrong idea about your meeting. Begin your meeting with a positive note to foster efficiency. You can break the ice with a story, poignant quote, or interesting statistic then rope them further using one of the tactics above. Use meeting tools such as Aira to analyze your meeting data to ensure that optimization fosters high engagement.

How To Conduct The Most Productive Online Sales Meeting With Aira

online sales meetings

Having a productive online sales meeting is vital for generating sales. This is especially so now, where the isolation-related stress wrought on by the COVID19 pandemic can make it is difficult for salespeople to feel excited about work.

In this article, we will discuss how AIRA can help your team remain productive during their online sales meetings. AIRA is an AI-enabled meeting tool that works by making meetings efficient. With prior planning and stress-free preparation, salespeople can begin looking forward to their online sales meetings and also be productive while in attendance. We will show you to make this happen with AIRA.


What are the prerequisites for a productive meeting?

Before we go into how AIRA can help make your online sales meetings productive, let’s first consider the makings of a successful meeting. What do you need to have a productive meeting?

An agenda

A meeting agenda tells participants what to expect from a meeting. That is:

  • Why they are meeting. e.g, what will they discuss? You can arrange this in topics, designate speakers and allot them time so that they prepare ahead of time
  • The expected outcome of the meeting

Always send your meeting invites a few days prior, and call attention to any preparation by key speakers.

A meeting agenda sets the tone of any meeting. The great thing about AIRA is that because it assigns action points after the meeting, it sets the tone for future meetings, ensuring that action-tracking becomes a continuous agenda until goals are accomplished. In addition, AIRA’s keywords feature ensures that future meetings can be grouped around a specific action or task.

Adding Value

A meeting should add value to its participants by:

  • Prov.iding information that makes goal achievement possible or easier
  • Training
  • For instance, market share, competitor activities, market trends, new opportunities

Team participation

People own the results of a meeting when they participate actively. A high level of participation begins with inviting the relevant people to a meeting.

Consistency

Meeting recurrence should be kept regularly to ensure that sales performance is analyzed constantly. Recurrences block off certain days or hours of the week. This keeps your team on a routine and gives them a strict timeframe within which to complete tasks.

As Aira is AI, it can quickly analyze people’s calendars and then select a meeting time that suits everyone. This ensures a higher level of attendance.


The benefits of using AIRA for conducting productive online sales meetings

AIRA

Stress-free operation

A survey conducted among 1000 workers across 4 European countries found that 90% of employees show signs of stress when faced with new or troublesome technology during meetings.

Employees also waste a lot of time troubleshooting, prior or during the meeting, either:

  • Trying to fix the problem (66%)
  • Coordinating with IT support to fix the problem (50%)
  • Preparing handouts as plan B (50%)
  • 15% of those surveyed even said that they postpone meetings until the technical problem can be resolved.

As remote working became the new normal for everyone, people have had to learn technology almost overnight and use it to run every aspect of the business. In addition to the stress of facing possible job cuts, due to shrining business prospects, having technology that is hard to understand and operate can push workers to the edge.

AIRA is pretty much plugged and play, and this ensures stress-free meetings in the following ways:

It’s easy to set up and use

Anyone can use Aira, even with little to no technical know-how. It’s also very integrative, and most of these processes are automatic and require little to no setup.

Some characteristics that denote AIRA’s ease of use include:

  • It integrates with your calendar, so you don’t need to do that yourself
  • Its interface is intuitive, hence user-friendly
  • It integrates well with meeting room equipment

Salespeople can use Aira while on the move, by dialing in from their mobile phones

Ensuring meeting relevance

One of the biggest time wasters for employees in any organization is attending meetings that aren’t necessary or relevant. Additionally, once in the meeting room, it is easy to get diverted and have meetings that aren’t productive. To ensure meeting relevance, Aira:

  • Invites the right people
  • Sets meeting goals and objectives beforehand
  • Keeps track of meeting time and ensures that you get the most from your allotted time
  • Records and transcribes meeting action points, which keeps subsequent meetings on the topic
  • Makes use of keywords so that salespeople and other team members can follow up based on topics that are most relevant to them

 

Voice AI leaves attendants free to concentrate on meeting agenda

Taking meeting notes can waste time during meetings if people have to pause to accommodate the slower speed of manual note-taking. Participants also have to contend with interruptions when asked to rephrase or restate a point. All these factors can cause meeting participants to lose concentration and deviate from the meeting agenda.

With AIRA, meeting attendants don’t have to worry about missing a point. This is because AIRA automatically records meeting notes, and then transcribes them.

In addition, eliminating note-taking tasks means that meeting participants can concentrate on developing ideas and furthering the meeting agenda.

Reduce monotonous tasks

Imagine if you have to schedule meetings every week and each time, your tools fail. You would then have to spend a lot of time on manual meeting management and this would leave you little time to be productive in other areas.

One study found that an organization can lose up to 47,000 hours of total employee time per year, just on meeting scheduling.

Hubspot study on employee productivity

Meeting management can interfere with employee productivity (source: Hubspot)

When meeting organization and management becomes routine, having an AI tool such as Aira to handle such tasks leaves you free to focus on other important matters.


Final words

Meeting tools should enhance how you conduct meetings by improving attention, enhancing collaboration and promoting accountability. Aira does this and more, by taking the stress out of meeting management to guarantee productive online sales meetings.

Now Generate Precise AI Meeting Notes With Aira Like A Pro

AI Meeting Notes

AIRA is a voice AI platform that records meetings and automatically transcribes them.

  • This saves times spent taking minutes
  • Opens your time so you can do other things that require your attention currently
  • Makes it possible for you to go through notes later and action them
  • The transcriptions are stored in one place so you can access, refer and analyze them easier

Generating precise meeting notes begins with joining the right meeting. The beauty of AIRA in accomplishing precision is in the simple approach on which the app’s workflow is based. The whole process, from app installation to meeting attendance, minute taking, and finally sending out emails, is designed to guide AIRA to give accurate results. For instance:

  • Calendar auto-sync: Assuming it’s your first time to log into AIRA, it will sync with your calendar and show you all the details of every meeting you have on that day. If you have a meeting or meetings on any day, those meetings reflect within AIRA. This process happens automatically, hence eliminates errors.
  • Auto join: Once you have turned the auto-join function on, Aira will autojoin each meeting at the appointed time. AIRA then attends meetings on your behalf if you can’t, takes meeting notes for you whether or not you are present for a meeting, and then ensures you get the notes from that meeting via mail.
  • AIRA keeps both the recording and the transcript of the meeting for your reference, and all this information is saved in one place. In addition, keywords are generated to make it easier to refer to points of interest. This gives you multiple resources to refer to, should you want to fact check something that was said during the meeting.

With that said, to further understand how AIRA generates precise AI meeting notes, we have to dissect how AI apps work.

The machine learning process for ensuring voice AI accuracy for AI meeting notes

AIRA is an AI voice assistant app, meaning that it works by automatically recognizing speech.

AI voice apps are programmed through a machine learning process, whereby they are trained and tested on their ability to recognize phonemes (a unit of human speech measurement).

The training process usually involves using transcripts from earlier recorded speech to better gauge how well the AI links the spoken word and the transcribed text. This process guarantees highly accurate and precise transcriptions.

Some AI applications also use word decoding, whereby full words are used in the training process. However, Automatic speech recognition is the end goal of any voice AI, regardless of the software used.

The training process  for AI voice apps follows these general steps:

  • Audio is captured through a microphone
  • The waveforms are then put through a 3-step acoustic analysis process, that involves:
  • Acoustic modeling. This analyzes phonemes and the words formed when those phonemes are complete
  • Pronunciation modeling. This analyzes pronunciations and other aspects such as accents that cause variabilities in speech
  • Language modeling. This involves contextual analysis
  • The data from the acoustic analysis is then decoded into text

This entire analysis is carried out by AI to eliminate errors.  Furthermore, as machine learning involves repetitive training processes, any AI voice app that goes through this rigorous creation process guarantees more accurate voice recognition results.

We have already mentioned above that speech to text involves decoding the data from the acoustic analysis. This process as well, needs to be very accurate.

Bottom line

The thinking behind voice apps is speed, convenience and efficiency. But as you strive to bring these qualities to your business, the voice app company you choose to partner with is just as crucially important.

Minutes represent important discussions and decisions for your company. They are how you conduct business. If you cannot trust your AI meeting note-taking app to do a good job, this could cost you your business. A parting note from us, therefore, is that you sign up for a demo of AIRA and experience a whole new easy and efficient way to conduct meetings.

Get Ready To Create Automated Meeting Minutes Using A Virtual Assistant

Best Meeting Minutes

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?

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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

AIRA

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


Conclusion

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.

How to Effectively Write Minutes of Meeting Using a Virtual Assistant

write minutes of meeting

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?

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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;

  1. 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.
  2. Improving communication and collaboration between employees. The VA will keep each member updated on any conclusions and alterations.
  3. 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:

  • Meeting scheduling
  • 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
  • Topic presenters
  • Topic duration


 Prepare the right meeting technology

AIRA

When the VA is taking minutes, they will need tools such as WebEx, GoToMeetingSkype, 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;

  • An 18 minute only talk rule which brings discipline and has a clarifying effect.
  • 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.


Post-meeting duties

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


Conclusion

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.