The rapid shift to hybrid and remote work during the pandemic led to an explosion of virtual meetings. While meetings aimed to foster collaboration, they often created a sense of being overwhelmed which reduced productivity. As organizations settle into long-term hybrid and remote work arrangements, addressing meeting-overwhelm is a top priority, as I tell my clients who I help transition to hybrid work.
I spoke with Gil Makleff, Co-Founder of Sembly AI, and Michael Weis, Director Business Development of Speech Processing Solutions, about how artificial intelligence can help organizations and employees to better manage meetings.
The Promise and Pitfalls of Remote Meetings
Remote meetings expand access to candidates and talent. Organizations can hire from anywhere instead of just locally. Employees enjoy increased work-life balance without long commutes. However, virtual meetings also have downsides.
Makleff explained that “team cohesion is really important” in hybrid and remote work. Weis added that initially many organizations just told employees to “take your laptop and start working” from home. But productivity depends on having the right office setup, technology, and meeting etiquette in this new environment.
Using AI to Increase Meeting Productivity
AI-powered virtual assistants create meeting summaries, notes, and follow-ups. This reduces meeting fatigue and fear of missing out. Employees who miss meetings can quickly catch up on the key discussion points and action items.
Makleff gave an example of asking the AI assistant: “Give me the five key points from the meeting, write an email to my team, and do it in less than 180 words.” The AI generated a concise summary and follow-up in minutes.
Integration into Existing Tools
Many organizations use dozens of apps and communications platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Adding another app causes change management headaches.
Fortunately, the virtual assistant integrates into existing tools. As Makleff explained, “You don’t even need to change your way of working when applying this new technology.” For example, the AI can share meeting notes over Slack or add tasks to Microsoft Planner based on meeting Points discussed.
The Need for Protocols and Etiquette
While for AI augments meetings, organizations still need proper protocols and etiquette. Makleff noted that “governance is really important” when implementing these tools. Companies must decide on the type of meetings where the virtual assistant should be included and internal and external protocols for sharing meeting information including AI generated meeting notes.
Weis stressed that user education and transparency is key. The AI assistant must demonstrate efficiency gains, not just novelty. Organizations need “rules for joining a meeting or meeting culture.” AI enhances human collaboration when introduced thoughtfully.
Continuously Improving Meetings
Makleff envisions meetings evolving from one-off events to continuous conversations. Participants can bookmark moments to revisit later or raise clarifying questions over collaboration platforms.
Weis agreed that the AI assistant improves information sharing and follow-up after meetings. This ensures everyone has the same level of knowledge.
The Cutting Edge of AI Assistants
Makleff noted generative AI like ChatGPT will allow assistants to summarize meetings with increasing sophistication. He foresees AI that magically adds meeting notes and follow-ups directly into the relevant apps in the user’s existing application ecosystem.
Weis emphasized the importance of high-quality audio and voice recognition for AI transcription. He explained that Speech Processing Solutions provides the microphones and hardware for clear meeting audio. Sembly’s AI generates meeting summaries from the audio transcripts.
The Future of Meetings
AI meeting assistants have moved from novel to necessary in the last two years. They help organizations and employees stay aligned and productive despite less face-to-face interaction.
With the right protocols and etiquette, AI can make meetings more inclusive and efficient. The collaboration between Speech Processing Solutions and Sembly AI shows the cutting edge of natural language processing applied to the workplace. Meetings will never be the same.
A perfect memory
Makleff commented that building your meeting cloud enables users to access a ‘perfect memory’ by using keyword search across meetings and perfectly ‘remembering’ conversations that happened months ago in minutes is important to many users.
Weis shared that this can work across all platforms not only for large meetings but also for individual users using their Philips Voice Tracer technologies.
The openness of meeting assistants
Makleff shared that the ability to connect to zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google meet is an important feature in many organizations that have a Microsoft focus but still need to interact with suppliers or customers in other platforms like zoom and Google Meet.
Weis commented that this cross platform access is crucial to have open communication with both internal and external parties in the organization. The ease of use is particularly important.
AI meeting assistants boost hybrid & remote work productivity with concise summaries, follow-ups & seamless tool integration. Crucial for managing overwhelm...>Click to tweet
Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on May 29, 2023