Recording Meetings Has Nothing To Do With Big Brother πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ

December 3, 2021

Missing a meeting is something that happens to everyone. Whether you are double booked, stuck in traffic, etc. How could you possibly never miss a meeting again?

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Missing a meeting is something that happens to everyone. Whether you are double booked, stuck in traffic, your internet connection is down, you're on holidays, etc. The reasons don't matter, what is important is realising technology can help you never miss a meeting, or more importantly, never miss how and why a decision was made.

So let's make this clear, it's ok to miss a meeting. It's ok to miss meetings as long as you have communication processes in place to never be excluded from the discussions you want or should be part of.

In this blog post, we're going to cover the benefits of recording meetings.

Record your Meetings

The concept of "Recording Meetings" is extremely polarising. Whenever someone says: "I'm recording the meeting", there is a visceral feeling amongst many. A distrust, a feeling of "big brother" watching πŸ‘€

For the people who have learnt the value you can get from recording meetings however, they have become a foundational tool for them, especially when working remotely or in a hybrid setting.

Clicking record is not enough however, so let us dive into the dynamics of recording meetings and how Clearword takes it one step further. This is not a howto on how to record your calls, but rather a guide on why recording your meetings matter.

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Approach Recording Meetings Positively

The first thing to understand, is that recording meetings has to be presented positively. To be presented positively, the benefits have to be understood.
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The second thing we want to make clear is that meeting recordings are not a tool for managers to gain more control over their employees. In fact we consider it the opposite of that. Meeting Recordings on their own aren't quite enough, but let's start with some of the benefits of recording meetings:
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  1. Remember Everything that was Discussed
  2. Become more Inclusive and Empathetic
  3. Have an Authoritative Source of Truth for Decisions Made
  4. Spend Less Time in Meetings
  5. Include Teams and Collaborate Out
  6. Keep Track of Commitments and Action Items
  7. Stop Wasting People's time

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Remember Everything that was Discussed

This is quite simple. Details, small details are easy to forget. How often do you leave a meeting to jump on another call and suddenly you realise all you remember from the first meeting is the scribbles in your notebook. That's what we want to avoid.

Spending so much time in front of the screen is not easy for your brain. It's only natural that you will get distracted during a meeting. Whether it's jotting down something on a piece of paper, an instant message notification, an email, a call, etc.

Give yourself a fighting chance, and record the calls. You can always go back and try to figure out what you may have missed.

🚨 How does Clearword Help?: Every recording is turned into text and automatically summarized into meeting minutes so you can consume parts relevant to you. Your meetings become searchable like a Google search. If that wasn't enough, you can take private notes, associated and timestamped to that meeting which you can also search for in the same way.

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Become more Inclusive and Empathetic

This may seem far-fetched but by recording meetings you will allow people who are outside your area of responsibility, outside your team, outside your timezone, even outside your time-availability to participate to your meeting.

By doing that, you naturally start noticing that people are in different timezones, or have different schedule. Recording your meeting and purposely sharing it with your colleagues means you are developing a level of awareness about THEM and their life, it shows a level of compassion above sending very subjective meeting minutes scribbed on a Notion page.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: Create workspaces for the groups you're part of and share automatically generated meeting minutes, meeting notes and meeting comments with anyone you want. Stop wasting time trying to figure out how to bring someone into the discussion.

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Do you Remember that Decision?

We're all human, sometimes we forget things. After a few weeks or months on a project, or a sales endeavour, you may start wondering "why" you are doing something.

Understanding the "why" you do things, is extremely important for you, your teams and your organization in general. When it comes to leadership, look at the problems on your team, and try to figure out what you're/they're annoyed about. Once you got it, try and figure out its source, and in 30-40% of the cases, you or your teams just don't understand the "why" or "how" a decision was made.

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It's important to remember that people generally don't try to "screw you over". We like to take the stance that everyone on our teams has the best of intentions. In larger organizations especially, it's easy to end up doubting the capabilities of another team based on a very small decision they have taken during your project. The problem in this case, nobody told you why that decision was made, or what were the previous decisions which led to this one.

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Companies who record their meetings have track record of those discussions, and teams can gain insight into the inner-workings of the company, so they can themselves become better members of that organism.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: You can search through all your meetings content just like you would with CTRL-F or a Google search. Do you remember why he said that? Do you know when she said that? Look it up!

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How to Spend Less Time in Meetings?

That's a pretty standard question right? We've written about how to have better meetings as well as some other techniques for spending less time in meetings such as understanding how often you should meet, some tips on how to reduce distractions when working from home, and even some tips on how to run more effective meetings. This however is different, we want to talk about what happens to your meetings when you start recording.

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When people you've invited, your attendees, are aware a recording will be accessible after the call, they don't need to take as many notes. This means your attendees are more focused, and they are participating in the moment. Having people on your virtual remote meetings more focused will allow you to make your meeting times shorter, and have more engaged conversations.

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Similarly, when Sheila is on a call and one of her colleague is double-booked so can't attend, Sheila can mention the reach out of that meeting and share the recording after the call.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: Setup keywords and get notified if people around your teams mention those keywords. Do you need to loop someone in? Say their name and they'll get notified.

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Participate on Meetings you Can't Attend

We've briefly touched on being more inclusive above and this is one step beyond. When you and your teams make use of meeting recordings, it allows you to attend and participate in meetings in meetings you can't attend.

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Let's take the case of Sheila. Sheila meets with her team on Tuesdays. Unfortunately Sheila has a last minute personal matter she has to attend. On that call, the team addresses a problem and makes a decision. When Sheila comes back the next day, instead of asking her team to "catch her up", that information is available to her through the recording.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: With the Pre-Meetings page, you will be able to ask questions and get answers before the meeting starts. Once the meetings you couldn't attend are over, you'll get notified if your name was mentioned or you can always look it up and read the automatic meeting minutes of that meeting.

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Keep Track of Commitments and Action Items

Humans talk. Humans talk a lot. During the course of a conversation, we often make unnoticeable commitments. Those commitments are so minuscule that they are often overheard. On the other hand, we also have common Action Items, which frankly are not the easiest to keep track of generally.

We used to always have that person who would send the action items and notes after the meeting. The problem we noticed was that meeting minutes are subjective, and action items are often incomplete.

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How often have you, yourself, said something along the lines of: "What did Antonne say about it last week? 😬"

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With the recordings, you can go back to those moments and really figure out what was agreed upon. This builds a culture of transparency and accountability between team members.

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As Clearword built automatic action item detection, one surprising fact we discovered is that about 20% of action items are overheard during the conversation. They are what we call "back-vocal commitments". Through language analysis we identify on average 20% more action items than what a normal person would catch during a meeting... Spoiler alert: Those happen throughout, not only at the end of the call.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: Clearword's AI analyses your recordings to identify action items automatically and track them for you.

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Stop Wasting your People's time

You probably think this part is some sort of rant about having too many meetings? Wrong. This part is about the concept that right now, companies invest hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars in energy, time and capital in their meetings.

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Unfortunately, most that "human capital" is technically wasted and thrown in the bin the Β moment the participants clicks on "End this Call".

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Say the content marketing team discussing how part of their strategy is flywheel marketing. They discuss the tools they'll be using, they discuss some of the persona definitions, job stories, etc. This content is valuable. If another part of the company is looking for personas, and they are able to search through that content and gain more "human" understanding by watching and listening to the recordings.

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🚨 How does Clearword Help?: Gain full access to your organization's human capital. Thoroughly search through comments, notes, meeting summaries, raw transcripts of any workspace you're part of. Interested in Python or Ruby? Look up who is discussing it in your org, and figure out who can help you

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How to Record Meetings?

Still wondering how to record your meetings? Clearword takes care of this for you. If you're using Zoom or Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, Clearword's virtual assitant can join your calls without your intervention. Just synchronise your calendar, and you're done. All your meetings will have automatic meeting minutes, searchable and organized in a central library 🀯

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Uh oh! Nobody Watches Recordings...

Whilst meeting recordings are interesting and a very good step towards a more effective, inclusive and accountable organization, the problem is: Nobody watches the recordings. First reason? They don't know where they are. Second Reason? Consuming a meeting recording is slow, and frustrating. Until now there hasn't been a bespoke experience around consuming meeting information.

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The next best thing is a whole category of products called "transcription" products. They are a good first step, they allow you to turn video into text, sometimes search through the text. Transcription products are about as useful as meeting recordings. They are just more noise. Unfortunately most of those tools only add to your daily stress of meetings, but don't try to make your meeting experience any better.

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Clearword looked at every single transcription product and realised the need to build a new product category. We needed a bespoke experience throughout every stage of the digital meeting. From preparation to consumption, Clearword unifies the meeting experience.

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☝️ Stop the email ping-pong to setup up a meeting with someone.
🀏 Have shorter meetings and show up prepared with surface questions answered.
πŸ‘Œ Find those pesky notes you've taken during meetings with your own search engine. Β 
⏱ Consume 30 minutes of meetings in 30 seconds!

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Stop the email ping-pong to setup a meeting with someone. Have people show up to meetings prepared and with corollary topics. Have your own search engine to find those pesky notes you've taken during meetings. Spend 30 seconds consuming 30 minutes of meetings instead of sitting there watching hours of mind-numbing recordings and migraine-inducing transcripts.

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