Fortunately, there are solutions that can help you overcome the challenges associated with virtual meetings. With the recent progress in Artificial Intelligence, and Large Language Models in particular, advanced tools are now available that can enable you to do the one thing that’s proven to be most effective in decreasing meeting fatigue and burnout: have less meetings.
How? Well, in multiple ways. But in this article we want to highlight one particular solution to this meeting overload: automated meeting summarization. Because by automatically condensing and summarizing meetings, you (or people within your team) can skip meetings when you don’t have anything to contribute - and still be in the loop! And the best part is, there are tools out there that do it for you! These tools use an AI language model to provide an automatically generated summary of the important points discussed during the meeting and send it to whoever needs it afterwards.
To get you up to speed on what’s out there,we'll start by exploring the benefits of meeting summarization for remote teams. After that, we’ll dissect how it works. Finally, we'll share a list of tools you can use to start summarizing your own meetings today (some of which are free to start with). Let’s dive in!
Meetings are a crucial part of remote and hybrid work, but they can be a major productivity sink if done incorrectly. The University of North Carolina surveyed 182 senior managers in various industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their work and 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. According to another study on the largest bottlenecks in work, wasteful meetings are considered the number one activity that gets most in the way of getting work done. And with virtual meetings becoming more prevalent, it's more important than ever to find ways to make them more efficient and effective.
And one of the ways to do that is by - you guessed it - summarizing meetings and sharing those summaries with team members. This provides you with the freedom to skip meetings when you don’t have anything to contribute (you’ll get the summary afterwards after all). which saves valuable time for you and your colleagues to allocate toward more crucial tasks.
In addition to the time drain, virtual meeting fatigue is an additional significant issue that arises from online meetings. Employees nowadays often find themselves back-to-back in virtual meetings, resulting in mental exhaustion and difficulty in keeping track of crucial information and action items. Meeting summarization has emerged as a solution to combat virtual meeting fatigue by allowing employees to skip some of these back-to-back meetings while still remaining informed. This helps to reduce the amount of time spent in meetings and allows participants to focus on other tasks, reducing the risk of virtual meeting fatigue.
Meeting summarization not only helps address virtual meeting fatigue and time-saving but also enhances team communication and collaboration, which is especially important in remote work environments, where effective communication is one of the biggest challenges. By sharing summaries of meetings after each session, teams can ensure that all members, including those who may be absent or in different time zones, are up-to-date and on the same page. This is particularly helpful for team members with passive listening roles in meetings who may not need to attend every session. With meeting summaries, they can catch up later and remain engaged with the team's discussions and decisions.
Meetings have been around since ever, and one thing that has remained constant is the need for someone to take notes. But with the rise of AI technologies, this age-old practice has been completely transformed. Imagine having an intelligent assistant that attends all your meetings and effortlessly captures all the important details for you, without the need for you to take any notes. It may sound like a dream, but thanks to the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies like natural language processing (NLP), language model pre-training, and Large Language Models(LLMs), summarizing online meetings has never been this fast and accurate. These technologies work in harmony to make the three main steps of the online meeting summarization process possible: converting videos and voice to transcripts, understanding patterns and structures of language, and achieving a deep understanding of the content. Let's dive into how it works.
To begin with AI-powered meeting summarization, the first step involves gathering data from online meetings which are in the form of video or audio recordings. This task is undertaken by natural language processing (NLP), a branch of AI that can understand human speech in a similar manner as humans do. NLP extracts pertinent information from the audio and video content, eliminates irrelevant data, and prepares the data for further processing in meeting summarization. During online meetings, this AI assistant attentively listens to the discussions, comprehends the content, and transcribes it into written text, resembling a transcript.
After transcribing the meeting, the AI assistant doesn't stop there. It takes another crucial step by leveraging another remarkable AI technology known as Language Model Pre-training. This stage equips the AI assistant with the ability to decipher the intricate code of human language by understanding its patterns and structures. Through extensive training on vast amounts of text data, the machine learns the underlying patterns and structures of language. As a result, during the online meeting summarization process, language model pre-training aids the machine in identifying the most critical points, key topics, and actionable insights from the meeting discussions, building upon the transcribed data collected in the previous step.
As the last step in AI-powered meeting summarization, the AI assistant utilizes Large Language Models (LLMs) to achieve a deep understanding of language and meaning. Think of LLMs as highly intelligent versions of the AI assistant, capable of analyzing meeting discussions, identifying important topics, and extracting key insights with exceptional speed and accuracy. LLMs do this by comparing the meeting's content with vast amounts of data that they have been trained on. This helps them to recognize what information is most important to include in the meeting summary. Overall, LLMs help the AI assistant create highly accurate and informative meeting summaries in a fraction of the time it would take a human to do so.
The three steps mentioned earlier are the main steps involved in AI-powered meeting summarization. While OpenAI's ChatGPT can be used in any of these steps, its context length limitation (e.g., 4000 tokens in GPT-3.5) can be a challenge for longer transcriptions. To overcome this limitation, strategies such as breaking down the document into smaller sections, focusing on key parts, or selectively prompting with relevant content can be employed.
Apart from the main three steps, there are additional steps that may be included in online meeting summarization to enhance accuracy and provide more detailed information about the virtual meeting. These steps include:
Sentiment analysis: Using ML models trained on annotated sentences to identify the emotional tone of the discussions during the meeting, such as positive, negative, or neutral. This provides insights into the overall mood and sentiment of the online meeting, which can be valuable for customer-facing teams.
Entity recognition: Named Entity Recognition (NER), an NLP technique, is used to identify and categorize named entities mentioned during the meeting, such as people, organizations, locations, and dates. This helps in understanding who or what is being discussed in the meeting, providing context and relevance to the summary.
Action item extraction: A crucial step that involves identifying and extracting specific tasks, deadlines, and responsible parties discussed during the meeting to ensure that important follow-up tasks are accurately summarized and communicated, using NLP techniques such as information extraction.
And finally, after the initial summary is generated, the AI assistant goes through a post-processing and editing stage to refine the meeting summary by NLP algorithms. This involves language polishing, error correction, and formatting to ensure the generated summary is accurate, coherent, and well-organized, ready for presentation or distribution to meeting attendees or stakeholders. This stage helps ensure that the final summary is of high quality and effectively conveys the key points discussed during the meeting.
Now that we've discussed the essential technologies that enable meeting summarization automation, let's take a closer look at some of the top AI-powered tools that make it possible. These tools utilize natural language processing, machine learning, and other advanced algorithms to transcribe and summarize meeting content automatically, saving time and improving productivity for remote and hybrid teams. By using these tools, businesses unlock valuable insights from their meetings, streamline communication, and improve decision-making processes. Let's explore some of the top AI-powered meeting summarization tools.
Carv is a meeting intelligence platform powered by AI that condenses lengthy meetings into brief highlight reels, written summaries, and searchable transcripts, allowing you to skip meetings and catch up later. With Carv's desktop and mobile app, you can easily connect your calendar, set up a free account, and conveniently catch up on the go. Carv is currently in Beta, and free to use for everyone. Give Carv a try for free now.
Avoma is a tool that leverages AI to capture and retain customer information discussed in meetings, with a particular emphasis on sales and customer service strategies. With Avoma, you can create customized reports, listen to recordings of meetings with time-stamped notes, and use its summarization feature to gain a deeper understanding of customer interactions. It's like having a personal assistant to assist you in shortening sales cycles and taking meeting notes.
Fireflies is a note-taking tool that records both video and audio during meetings and converts them into transcripts. Its seamless integration with various video-conferencing apps such as Google Meet, Zoom, Teams Webex, and other platforms, allows users to easily share meeting notes using apps like Slack, Notion, Asana, and more. In addition, Fireflies also offers a summarization feature, making it an excellent tool for sales, recruiting, and internal processes, with real-time performance measurements.
Otter.ai is a web-based transcription service that uses AI to convert spoken language into text. It has advanced speech recognition, collaboration features, and integrations with productivity tools. Users can collaborate in real time, add comments, highlight key points, and assign action items. It also has a built-in summarization feature for generating concise summaries of transcriptions.
In today's fast-paced business world, time is of the essence. With AI-powered meeting summarizers, optimize your meeting productivity, avoid virtual meeting fatigue, and gain deeper insights into your team's collaboration. Don't let important information slip through the cracks! Embrace the future of meetings with AI-powered summarization tools, and watch your team's productivity soar.