21 Tools For Better Meeting Management

May 17, 2024

Do you know we all waste 15% of our time just “managing” a meeting!

Let’s discuss some tips and software tools that will help you manage this meeting’s life cycle efficiently.

We can break down a meeting into 3 parts chronologically:  Steps taken before, during, and post the meeting.

Pre-Meeting Management - Before a meeting

Step 1: Is the meeting necessary? Is there an alternative?

Ask yourself: Do you need the meeting? Can it be just a Slack message or just a simple text?

The first common mistake is we schedule meetings that do not need to be meetings. 

We have so many tools at our fingertips that help avoid unnecessary meetings. So before sending that next calendar invite, take a step back and think why you need a meeting and/or if you can achieve the required outcome in other ways.

One of the most common reasons we have meetings is to provide detailed explanations of things that may get lost in translation over email or Slack/chat.

Zight, Vidyard, and UseLoom are great examples of tools that allow you to communicate quickly through screenshots and screencast videos instead of discussing the details in meetings. It also integrates directly into workflow apps including Slack, Teams, Trello, and Zendesk.

Step 2: Does it need to be an in-person or online meeting?

We might not ask this question right now in the current pandemic times. But still, an important one to consider as we try to rebuild our connections post-vaccination.

Unless for relationship-building or strategic reasons, it’s better to use video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Teams

We now know how Video calling is an effective way to build relationships and save crazy commute time and travel expenses.

Step 3: Scheduling meetings efficiently

Now once you’ve decided to meet and also how to do it, the next area you can optimize is scheduling meetings.

Pro-tip:  Always keep meetings 10 minutes shorter than the time you think is necessary; for instance, if the objective is to schedule an hour-long meeting, try doing 50 minutes instead.

Further, coordinating schedules between multiple colleagues within your company or external clients can be a lot of back and forth emails. Leverage some of these tools to streamline the scheduling process:

  • Use self-service email add-ons like CircusInsight or Calendly to eliminate the back-and-forth and make the scheduling faster.
  • Intelligent assistants are also a good option here. For example, X.ai is an intelligent assistant that works using natural communication via email. It’s about as close as you get to have a real virtual assistant to schedule meetings for you.

Step 4: Research the meeting attendees

How many times have you gone into a meeting cold turkey? You weren’t familiar with the person or people you were meeting. How successful was that meeting? You didn’t have an agenda or presentation.

Researching the individuals and company you’re meeting with is a key aspect of meeting preparation. An obvious choice for your initial research is to use LinkedIn or Twitter

Another excellent resource for researching attendees is FullContact or ZoomInfo. This tool will help you maintain better business relationships by giving you a place to add reminders, get valuable information, and gather insights about your attendees.

During a meeting

Step 1: Joining an online meeting

This might sound trivial, but you typically spend 5 or so minutes setting up and dialing into your conference call.

The pain is even higher, especially when you want to join an online meeting while on the go from your mobile device. Most conferencing tools, like Zoom mentioned above, or Teams have dedicated mobile apps. Be sure to set these up before your meeting and one-click easily connects you to your party’s conference line.

But if you’re using a conferencing tool that doesn’t have an app or you don’t have that app set up, tools like MobileDay sync with your calendar so that you can join an online meeting with a one-touch dial from your mobile device.

Also check, if you have given the appropriate screen-sharing permissions on your mac or pc's settings.

Step 2: Taking brief meeting notes

While at times it may be convenient to take notes in a physical notebook but to save you more time later on from transferring those notes to the google docs, prefer using any note-taking apps like Evernote, OneNote, or Apple Notes.

No matter how optimistic you are, you would rarely have time to transfer your physical paper notes into a digital version. And the downside of not having a digital version of notes is that information won’t be searchable anymore and you won’t be able to share it with your team as well.

Having said that taking notes yourself during a meeting has its downsides. I truly believe that multi-tasking is a myth. If you’re taking notes, then you’re not listening and participating in the conversation. And if you believe you’re able to do that, then chances are you’re making other attendees wait during the conversation while you’re busy writing your notes.

This is where AI can help and one of the many reasons why we created MeetRecord. With the help of MeetRecord, you can stay fully focussed during every call and leave the bulk of the note-taking to MeetRecord. This allows you to focus on the conversation with confidence that you won’t miss any important details. MeetRecord automatically dials into your meeting as a silent participant and records audio and/or video then transcribes your calls and extracts key insights and notes from it.

After a meeting

Step 1: Taking detailed meeting notes

Many of you might be good at taking notes during a meeting, but the majority of people can’t take good notes during a meeting. Many times, you simply type a few important keywords and then try to fill in the details after the meeting is over.

We already talked about MeetRecord, where at the simplest level, you can be worry-free of any information that’s discussed in the meeting being lost as all your meetings will be automatically recorded and organized for easy access so you can go back and listen to the previous meeting.

The next level of benefit is, you get the full transcript of all meetings, which makes the recording searchable. This is helpful because now instead of guessing at what time something was discussed, and doing trial and error to find where exactly a particular topic was discussed, you can simply search.

And finally, you not only get the full transcript but also get the highest-quality summarized notes in your inbox with IA + EA hybrid model, as we discussed in the previous post. This is a lifesaver for busy knowledge professionals who’re running meeting after meeting and do not have enough time to take detailed notes.

Step 2: Sharing meeting notes

Typically, you might share meeting notes to all participants via your email system, but the recommended option would be - to use any shared collaboration services like Google Docs, Notion, or Notejoy.

With these services, you don’t have to explicitly send an email to all participants, and they have instant access to your notes.  This is a much efficient workflow compared to sending back and forth emails with everyone’s notes, comments, questions, etc.

Step 3: Following up on action items

The most important reason you host or attend a meeting is - there is a decision that needs to be made or a plan needs to be made. So the most important outcome of a meeting is a list of a set of action items, preferably with clear owners who need to complete those, and a timeline by which those action items need to be completed.

Once you have captured this information in your detailed meeting notes, sharing these notes via email or collaboration software will not help much. You need to move these action items to some kind of task or project management systems like Jira, Asana, or Trello to track its progress.

If you’re not using any task management system and end up managing these follow-ups via email, then you can email add-ons like Boomerang, Yesware which would remind you to follow up on any email you send.

Summing it up

The biggest misconception of attending any meeting is - you think you’re just committing 30-60 minutes of the scheduled time. But you don’t realize the lifecycle of a meeting is a long one and it has many steps involved in it. The reality is, you end up spending more than 15% of your time managing those meetings in addition to attending those. Life is short, so we better spend our time on the things that matter.

We hope with these tips and tools shared above, now you are armed with the right set of solutions to maximize your time and cut back on the meeting management wastage. You just have to pinpoint where in the meeting’s lifecycle you are struggling the most, and implement a tool or tip that works best for you!

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