27 Jul How to capture minutes from online meetings effectively and securely
We have 13 years’ experience of transcribing meeting minutes and notes, and with the shift from face-to-face meetings to online meetings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how to capture minutes from online meetings has become a bit of a speciality of ours!
We are a professional transcription company with 13 years’ experience of transcribing meeting notes – whether from audio of the actual meeting or a call report dictated after the meeting that needs to be transcribed– and we have learned a lot as a result of the shift in working practices in the last 12 months about what constitutes a ‘good’ record that is both effective and valuable. We are experts in transcribing records of all types of meetings, and with the shift from face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings, we have identified some ways professionals can enhance the quality of their records that will be beneficial to them now and, indeed, in the future. How to capture minutes from web conferences and online meetings has been, and will be, an especially hot topic for some time yet!
What are the best and worst types of online meeting tools for use in a professional context?
As a company, we have experience of using Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams. Individual companies will have their preferred choice of program and will advise their employees on the best way to record and capture what is said at web conferences and online meetings. Sometimes, a sound recording is all that is required; at other times, a secure and accurate transcript from a specialist transcription company is needed.
Tips on how to capture minutes from online meetings and web conferences more effectively.
Of paramount importance is organisation. If you are holding an online/virtual meeting with two or more people, have a clear agenda and leader. This might sound obvious and something one should exercise in any meeting, but the inability to bounce off body language in a virtual setting means it is that much easier to lose cohesion and flow.
If you’re speaking to a client who perhaps isn’t used to technology, put them at ease – be patient with them. If you’re in a group session discussing various topics, ensure the correct attendees/specialists on said topics are invited to meeting. Ensure every meeting has a clear, defined conclusion and follow-up, as again, a non-face-to-face environment could be the enemy of clarity when it comes to ‘what happens next’ if this isn’t accounted for.
Finally, as you would after every meeting, complete minutes. If capturing minutes from online meetings is something that is an additional time drain, then use a confidential dictation and transcription service like VoiceNotes, who will deliver a word-perfect, fully proofed transcript that you can circulate with confidence to the attendees and other interested parties.
What are the common mistakes people make in online meetings?
In our experience of working with lengthy transcripts, particularly when the sole focus is the voices coming through, we find that often a poor set-up leads to some attendees not being heard clearly, be that due to the quality of the recording device or their location and background noise. Speakers talking over one another is another hindrance when capturing what is being said, and in a virtual environment, saying, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear so and so’ isn’t as easy as in a physical setting, which further contributes to loss of cohesion.
Finally, another common mistake is neglecting to write up or capture meeting notes and minutes from online meetings, believing that a ‘recording’ of the meeting, audio or visual, is enough. In many cases, especially in the finance industry, a formal overview or a transcript is required to adhere to mandatory compliance requirements.
What features should you be looking for in these tools?
Continuity and inclusivity: Is your business in a position to roll out the use of these tools to all employees, so they can all benefit?
Security and reliability: If you are using an internet-based tool, consider whether it’s safe from a confidentiality point of view. The financial sector is incredibly strict where data protection is concerned, so check the app or tool is not automatically set to sync or back up recordings or video of your meetings to the Cloud.
If you choose a tool that can generate transcripts of your meetings, again, consider data control and sensitivity, as you are, in effect, giving it permission to access your content. Some of these tools and apps lack this level of security required by industries such as finance; they simply haven’t needed to have it in a pre-COVID-19 world.
What security issues should I be considering?
For every meeting, you should ensure you know where your data is being streamed or held when using these tools and check whether this meets your company’s compliance code, especially for meetings pertaining to sensitive subject matter. If there is password protection that controls who can access a live meeting or call, it should be implemented to the best of its ability.
If transcripts are required, choose an ISO-accredited transcription company specialising in the financial sector already who can complete an Information Security questionnaire and clearly evidence that they are looking after your data.
A lot of companies ask how to capture minutes from virtual or online meetings that are confidential, and we would always recommend a UK-based company that has an ISO accreditation.
The cost of transcription is another area to look into.
A template for client meeting agendas
The meeting template we would recommend for agendas is as follows:
- Purpose of the meeting.
- Preparation needed before the meeting.
- Agenda breakdown with time estimates.
- Expected outcomes from the meeting.
Template for meeting minutes
We feel that for more general meetings, the following is an ideal template for minutes:
- Identity of the attendees.
- Date and time of the meeting.
- Location of the meeting.
- Initiator of the meeting.
- Agenda item summary, followed by minutes relating to that item.
- Next steps recorded, with an execution date and the person responsible for each step.
- Next meeting date set.
Here are some further articles you may be interested in:
For details on how to capture minutes from online meetings for regulatory purposes, click here.
‘From Regulation To Recession: The storm of 2018-2020 for financial services’: click here.
For testimonials from firms who use VoiceNotes, please click here.
If you would like to use our online calculator to see how much time writing up your meetings notes takes, click here.
For transcribing Zoom meetings, click here.