How to Have Better Meetings

October 31, 2021

Want better meetings? Learn to plan meetings collaboratively, get automated meeting minutes, all in a searchable library of your meetings.

Get More Value from Online Meetings

The number of steps (emails, calendar invites, whatsapp messages, slack threads) involved in preparing, having and following-up on a meeting is simply infuriating nowadays.

In the past, we got away with a lack of adequate tooling and techniques, but today's ever-growing amount of online meetings exponentially compounds this visceral disdain of meetings we sometimes feel.

We wrote on how to take better meeting minutes. The post suggested some steps to make your meeting minutes better. Let's see how Clearword takes those tips to a whole other level and how it makes having online meetings much more effective.

 

The Meaning of Meetings

We've noticed a trend in the industry where many products are attempting to effectively kill meetings or denigrate the value of meetings.

Whilst we agree that meetings were never meant to be like this, we also believe they are the single most important activity your company does. But we do not see them as static points in time. A meeting has a lifecycle, it has ongoing value.

This is where ideas are born, arguments built, projects solidified. Meetings are incredible energy and value generators for every company, yet we seldom harness their value.

💡 It's time to build a whole new bespoke experience around meetings.

When looking at all the friction points around the digital meeting experience, we thought better to start from scratch. Let's not re-invent meetings, but instead look at the tools people use and data they create (and currently throw away). We thought it was time to build a whole new bespoke experience around meetings where we make them more inclusive, collaborative, shareable, and more consumable. Meetings are not entertainment, they are not podcasts, they are not educational material.

 

The Before-Meeting Phase

Your experience as a Clearword user really begins the moment you create a meeting. You will immediately be exposed to what we advocate for. By creating this meeting , you have created a journey. Already you have access to collaboration tools, file sharing, time management, and shareability of information.

We believe almost every meeting should have an agenda. Those agendas should be collaborative. This is why Clearword made it extremely easy for you to add participants, and allow them to immediately collaborate whether they are existing users of the platform or not.

The meeting attendees can schedule a meeting, invite someone, and from there, the Clearword journey begins.

The Pre Meeting Room — Collaborative Agenda, File Sharing, Context and Better Meetings.
Collaborative Agenda, Meeting Preparation, File Sharing, Comments, Context.

No More Annoying Dance

Trying to setup a call with someone almost always involves a strange back-and-forth email-whatsapp-slack-dance. Usually involves a few emails, sometimes a few Slack messages, maybe a calendly link, some files either in Dropbox or by email. It's a mess. It might not look like much, but it's emotionally draining.

Clearword integrates with your calendar and allow you to simply invite someone and let them change the time should they want to. Since the event you created is linked with your calendar, the person you invited will not be able to pick a time where you're busy, but only times you are available.

What usually comes after picking a time, is the exchange of questions, usually over email. We've fixed that too. Once you've invited someone you are both in the Pre Meeting Room, you'll be able to share files, comment and ask questions in relation to this meeting.

Collaborative Agendas

We've decided to remove all those steps and make the product we advocate for: A collaborative before-meeting agenda page we call The Pre Meeting Room. The Pre Meeting Room is a place where users can exchange files, change meeting times, ask questions, and join the meeting right away without having to dig through calendar events and links.

A Petty Problem

One very little problem which we all find frustrating at Clearword, is the 4-click process of retrieving a meeting link. That's why the Pre Meeting Room natively gives you a "join meeting" button, regardless of which platform it is on (Zoom, Meet, Teams, etc)

A very small win, but it feels big.

The During-Meeting Phase

Here's the kicker, your Pre Meeting Room, the page where you've set the agenda, shared files and refined the meeting points turns into a Focused Note taking app.

When your meeting starts, the pre meeting room is now in Live mode. You can take notes, in a non-distracting interface. These notes are chronologically linked to your meeting. After the meeting, when you're looking at your notes, you can jump at the exact position in the meeting when this note was taken.

The During Meeting page turns into a focused Note Taking app DURING the meeting.
Focused During Meeting Page turns into a Note Taking App.

Hold on, I Made a Note of This...

How often do you find yourself raffling through notebooks or Notion pages trying to figure out that note from that meeting you attended? The Clearword Online Meetings Platform allows you to search the content of your meetings like you would with Google. When you're looking for those pesky notes, you'll find them.

The Search Engine for your Human Capital. Search through notes, comments, transcripts, meeting summaries, files, etc.
Give your Meeting context. Search Engine for Meeting Content — Jump to relevant parts of your meetings

Automatic Action Item Detection

More importantly, you don't have to take notes for the action items because Clearword will detect those for you so you can focus 100% on the discussions and the time you spend with your colleagues, and not on taking notes.

 

The After-Meeting Phase

When your meeting ends, Clearword will create automated meeting minutes out of your online meetings.

The page which started as a Pre Meeting Room, which then became a Live note taking app, now turns into the summary page with automatically created meeting minutes.

Clearword takes your meeting recording, turns it into chapters (segments), and automatically summarises each section into subjective summaries/minutes. We call those Meeting Minutes 2.0.

Moreover, we reconcile the comments from the Pre Meeting Room and Live Notes and present them in a unified, central page.

The Automated Meeting Minutes 2.0 — After Meeting Page
The Post Meeting Page — Automated Meeting Minutes (Minutes 2.0)

In the event where you missed a few online meetings, you won't have to look through dumps of text or spend hours watching recordings. We're building a new way to consume meetings which allows you to broadly understand 30 minutes of meeting into 30 seconds.

 

The Living Meeting

You may have realised that meetings are no long static points in time like most people think.

Once a meeting is over, it's not the end. That's why we've built workspaces. You can share your meetings with your teams. You can share them with your organisation or with other individuals. The idea is that we make your company more inclusive, by allowing you to share your human-capital with others.

At any point, members of a workspace can use Clearword to search through comments, notes, summaries, files and transcripts of meetings in said workspace.

It's not just about searching through video transcripts anymore, it's searching through context.

 

TL;DR;?

There's a lot to unpack. Let's break down some of the friction-points Clearword removes around your virtual meetings:

 

Before-Meeting Friction Points

- Meeting Agenda Page (Pre Meeting Room) collaborative by default

- Pre Meeting Room allows easy sharing of preparation materials

- Pre Meeting Room allows easy joining of meeting

- Meeting Attendees can change time of meeting to their choice

- Meeting Participants can comment and ask questions before meeting

- No back and forth (dance) required to setup a meeting

 

During-Meeting Friction Points

- Pre Meeting Room turns into Live note taking app

- Notes are chronologically linked to your video meeting recordings

- Notes are instantly searchable and private

 

After-Meeting Friction Points

- Meeting automatically turned into meeting minutes

- Meeting minutes can be personalised

- Action Item automatically detected and tracked

- Meeting rapidly consumable

 

Inclusivity, Accessibility and Searchability Friction Points

- Centralized meetings library easily retrievable by teams

- Notes, comments, summaries, transcripts searchable

- Workspaces support inclusion of distributed workforces