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Five ways AI could improve your next meeting
Wed 23 October 2019 - 4:45 pmTech
It may not be noticeable to most, but AI is now rooted in many aspects of our lives. From voice assistants, to the cars we drive, to social media and shopping – AI is integrated into a multitude of everyday processes.
It should be of little surprise that AI is also becoming heavily embedded in our businesses. And while some people feel uncomfortable about this intersection of human and machine, it truly offers an abundance of transformative opportunities.
Take for instance, collaboration within an office environment. AI can be used in a number of ways to provide better, more creative collaboration and reduce the need for humans to perform mundane tasks. Already it’s becoming engrained in workplace collaboration technology, helping with tasks like note taking and meeting transcripts, among other activities.
According to industry analyst, Dave Smith, “there is a paradigm shift in digital workplace technologies and strategies to make businesses more conversational and smarter”. We’re seeing greater importance being placed on collaboration workflows, information transmission, and better user experience to improve these conversational, collaborative experiences.
The more a technology like AI becomes embedded, the more opportunity humans will have to channel our energy away from the mundane admin-based tasks and instead focus on more creative opportunities. This is particularly important for SMBs where teams often work across a host of different tasks, and any occasion they can claw back some time or work on higher-value activities is typically welcomed with open arms.
Today I’d like to look at one of the biggest bugbears of office workers: meetings. AI can play a tremendous role in helping to make meetings more creative and enjoyable for all.
Here are five reasons why AI will continue to be important today and in to the future:
Automated note taking allows brainstorms to go full speed
The days of being the meeting scribe and not absorbing what’s been said around you are over. Automated note taking and accurate meeting transcripts are one of the simplest ways AI can help free up meeting attendees to focus on the discussion taking place.
Using this software means that transcripts can be searched for important keywords and ideas, allowing participants to fully absorb details after the meeting has concluded. Giving everyone at the meeting the ability to participate without the burden of constant note taking fosters a lively and uninhibited discussion, encouraging a seamless flow of ideas.
AI-powered action items, agenda updates and deadline management
AI technology is founded in rules-based responses to decisions, meaning it can be taught to recognise keywords. Organisers can plug in important words such as “follow up” or “action item” and the AI can recognise them and react for easier sharing and review after a meeting.
In addition, AI can help to record deadlines and, if programmed to do so, could send out reminders as deadlines approach. With something like Natural Language Processing (NLP) embedded, AI can also know which parts of the meeting are most important, based on vocal tones, and can automatically record and share those parts with attendees, ensuring that none of the actions are forgotten.
Automated capture of nonverbal cues
We all know those golden moments during a meeting where ideas are born and everyone reacts in a positive way – but they can be hard to identify, particularly if you’re engaging with remote workers on the phone or via video conference.
Wouldn’t it be great if AI was able to more easily recognise and record those moments, because they are generally identified by nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, nods, laughter, or peaks in the audio when everyone has that aha moment. A human note taker may not be able to accurately capture this, but AI may be able to.
Improved overall efficiency prevents meetings from dragging on
Everyone has experienced a meeting that seems to drag on endlessly, or watched co-workers talk in circles. This can happen when people are not paying attention because they’re scribbling on notepads and typing on laptops, bringing up topics that were already discussed. This is what turns meetings into chores instead of the energising moments of team collaboration they are meant to be.
When AI removes the more mundane aspects of a meeting like scheduling or taking attendance, attendees can move through administrative tasks and housekeeping items rapidly, knowing the AI will have it all recorded for later reference, and move into free-flowing exchanges of ideas.
And for those routine meetings that occur frequently and don’t always entail a major brainstorm, AI also facilitates effective and concise meetings, so everyone can get in to the meeting quickly, be productive with the time set out, and then get back into more inspiring work.
More personal interactions become possible when AI takes care of the mundane
The more that meeting attendees can focus on the meeting content itself, the more creative solutions they will bring. By reducing the responsibility that seems to come with a meeting, people can relax, build rapport and create a team that functions better in and out of the meeting room.
Ultimately, AI will improve the way we work with each other. Eliminating the repetitive and easy tasks that come along with the administrative aspects of meetings allows humans to work without constraints.
It is much better, in the long run, to allow AI-powered assistants to take care of necessary but low-value tasks such as note taking, action items, agendas and reminders. Without the burden of worrying about these tasks, employees can bring their A-game to every meeting, increasing the usefulness of meetings tenfold. What’s more, the greater the interactions in meetings, the more inclusive it is and the more that staff feel valued. This could also help to improve employee retention in the long run.
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Lindsay Brown, Vice President, APAC and Japan, LogMeIn. Lindsay has also shared insights on how to ensure human connectedness in a technological age.
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