Voice to text apps are commonplace now. Whether it is Otter.Ai, Reason8.ai, Voicera, Rev.com, or any of the others, the temptation to use them to transcribe your meetings into minutes is irresistible.
They are all good at recognizing voices and creating good transcriptions of what was said. Artificial intelligence is quickly gaining speed and recognition in this space, and it brings with it a host of benefits for us.
Some of these programs even identify the speaker and precisely what they said, giving you a clear transcription of the entire meeting. Others don’t identify the speaker but do capture exactly what was said.
However, a transcription of what was said (and who said it) is not what minutes are supposed to be.
Minutes are a summary of what was discussed and decided in your meeting. They should not be a transcript. We do not need to know who said what (potentially dangerous for liability issues); we do not need an entire rundown of everything that was said during the meeting. Everything is not relevant to the future. Minutes should be a summary document of what will be relevant in the future (high-level discussion summary along with any decisions made).
[ctt template=”3″ link=”mn63a” via=”yes” ]Minutes are a summary of what was discussed and decided in your meeting. They should not be a transcript.[/ctt]
During my workshops, I jokingly ask participants if anyone ever reads the minutes they create. The majority laugh and agree that no one reads them. Can you imagine how boring a transcript would be? And while it seems like an efficient way to create the required document that no one reads, it is not correct. It would not support your companies’ requirements to create minutes.
However, there are times when a transcript would be useful. If your meeting requires minutes (legally), this is not one of those times. A transcript might be a perfect use of your time if it is a team meeting where the minutes are requested but not a legal requirement. During team meetings, it can be helpful to know who said what, which means using voice-to-text software can be a much better use of your time. I appreciate the time required to create proper minutes can be substantial (especially if no one is reading it).
A transcript might be easier for you to edit down to proper minutes if you want to create legal minutes (although I’m not convinced this is any faster for you than taking minutes using a high-level future-focused summary). It would be useful if you didn’t attend the meeting (although the minute taker should be in attendance in theory).
Minutes summarize the discussions and decisions, as I said before. We need to capture what matters in two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks, two months, two years. Just because it happened doesn’t mean we need to capture it in the document.
If your Chair welcomes everyone to the meeting and your voice-to-text program transcribes it for you, it is easy enough to delete it. You could take a conversation and delete most of it, keeping the relevant points in a bulleted list of discussion points. However, if you were taking high-level future-focused notes in the meeting during the meeting itself, you could ignore that section altogether and not make any notes (which takes no time at all!).
While there are many voice-to-text programs which are helpful in our roles, thinking they are the future for minutes won’t help you (at least, not in the state they currently transcribe meetings).
[ctt template=”3″ link=”a2jb9″ via=”yes” ]While there are many voice-to-text programs which are helpful in our roles, thinking they are the future for minutes won’t help you.[/ctt]
Voice-to-text is a handy tool but not a life-altering tool if you were hoping to save yourself hours creating your minutes’ document.
If you are interested in learning how to take minutes through Rhonda’s Minute Taking Made Easy workshop, you have several options available to you. You can attend her self-directed online workshop here: https://on-the-right-track.com/product/minute-taking-made-easy-online-2/or attend one of two online live workshops offered September 16-17 (for North American attendees) or October 26-27 (for European attendees): https://on-the-right-track.com/event/minute-taking-made-easy-two-day-online-live-workshop/
I have not been compensated by any of the above-mentioned programs.