On average, meetings cost companies between $43,008 and $56,448 USD per manager every year, and working professionals are spending 13% more time in meetings compared to pre-pandemic times. This means there’s a dire need for alternatives to help people take their time, energy, and focus back from unproductive meetings in the workplace. And one such alternative is an async meeting.
In this article, we'll explain the concept of asynchronous meetings, how to run one successfully, and how to leverage AI tools to make the most of them.
What is an asynchronous meeting?
Asynchronous meetings, or async meetings, are meetings that don't happen in real time. There's a lag between the time between sending the message and receiving a response; it doesn’t require participants to be in sync, hence the name.
There are many ways to conduct async meetings, the most common being via video. If you need to review a document live, use a screen recorder like Supernormal that simultaneously records your screen and camera as you're reviewing it. This allows your teammates to respond on their time, removing the need for an unnecessary meeting.
What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous meetings?
Here are a few ways in which async and sync meetings differ:
How to run an async meeting in 4 simple steps
Setting up an asynchronous meeting is simple. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Let your colleagues know your communication preferences
Before you start these types of meetings, let your colleagues know first. Orient them on three things: the communication channel, what to use, and when to provide feedback. You can use the following template to let them know beforehand:
I wanted to give you all a heads-up that we'll be adopting an asynchronous meeting culture going forward. I know it's a change from what we're used to, but I truly believe it'll make us more efficient and effective in the long run.
So, what does this mean? Instead of in-person or video meetings, we'll use digital tools to communicate and collaborate asynchronously. Here are a few tools we’ll adopt going forward:
- Tool A for XXX
- Tool B for XXX
- Tool C for XXX
Let me know if you need any help with onboarding or using the tools, and I’d be happy to point you toward a resource. Look out for your invites by the EOW. This may take some time, but I'm excited to see the benefits of asynchronous communication firsthand.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me. Let's make this transition as smooth as possible.
2. Choose the right communication tools
Ideally, you'd need a screen recording tool, a project management tool, and a communication tool to get started. When it comes to screen recording, look no further than Supernormal. You only have to use the extension for Mac devices and record a video message. Depending on what you want to include, there are three options: screen and camera, entire window, and the camera only.
The video includes the tab and a video of yourself—perfect for giving more contextual feedback or walkthrough videos. You can immediately access the entire recording and transcript at the end of it, which can be shared via a link or email invitation.
For communication, you can use email or apps like Slack, which is perfect for instant messaging capabilities required for ongoing conversations or reminders. For task or project-specific feedback, use a project management software like Trello, ClickUp, or Asana. It keeps conversations focused and makes it easy to collaborate.
3. Think about what you need to share
Let’s say you’re recording an onboarding video walkthrough for new hires. Create a list of talking points and keep the necessary tabs open. This’ll make it easier to keep the video concise and effective. Also, if you have a meeting agenda, keep that in hand too as a reference point. Nobody wants to sit in a meeting that meanders from the topic at hand—and the same applies to async meetings.
4. Share the message and set deadlines
As async meetings provide flexibility, there’s a need to implement a structure too. It sets expectations and ensures everything’s on track. Share the message through your preferred communication tool and set a specific deadline for follow up and list of action items for the receiver. With Supernormal, this is easy to do, as the transcript provides a list of action items that the receiver can always refer to.
Advantages of adopting an async meeting culture
From inclusivity to higher participation levels, there are several benefits of asynchronous meetings:
No time zone restrictions
You no longer have to struggle with scheduling conflicts and different time zones, as async meetings resolve that issue. Now you can send an email, a video, or refer to existing documentation to communicate with colleagues.
Flexible working culture
This meeting culture also enables a flexible working culture where your teammates are not tied down by time and location. Instead, they can work on their terms and communicate as required—not for the sake of it. It creates a more inclusive workplace for individuals who have different personal needs. Also, it gives more opportunities to do deep work as a remote team.
Too often, individuals are unfocused and disengaged in synchronous meetings because of fatigue and unfocused conversations. With async meetings, that's not the case. You have dedicated messages being sent only to relevant individuals, making it easier to get input from them.
Create a documentation culture
There's a saying in the corporate world: "If it's not on paper, it doesn't exist." And that's true. Dedicated documentation for every task or frequently asked questions makes it easier for everyone to get answers. It removes the need for troubleshooting or walkthrough meetings, removing just another meeting from your calendar.
Better time savings
Recent research shows that 37% of professionals spend about 30% of their week in meetings (four to 12 hours a week). With an async culture, you can avoid a majority of these meetings. For instance, give your project or weekly updates via an email or Slack update. It'll save unnecessary time spent in these meetings while freeing up time for more critical tasks.
Disadvantages of adopting an async meeting culture
There are several downsides of async meetings, too, such as:
Lack of personal connection
Async meetings usually lack a personal touch, as it can feel like you're not talking to a specific person. Plus, the lack of face-to-face meetings removes the potential for relationship-building with team members or customers. Eventually, it might get lonely, and those who prefer regular interactions might have an issue with this meeting culture.
Delayed response time
Let's say you have an emergency like an app crash or a marketing campaign issue. If you need help, you can't expect a response until eight to 12 hours later. That might pose a problem in such cases, so you need to lay ground rules for when one-on-one meetings are required.
Potential for misinterpretation
Many people struggle with understanding context and social cues through async communication. For instance, it's easy to misread the tone or context of an email, which causes issues down the line. So it's crucial to learn to be clear while communicating asynchronously.
How to leverage AI to make async meetings actionable?
With the rise of remote work, artificial intelligence (AI) is another trend taking over the business world. The busier we get, the more we notice the need to "outsource" manual tasks to a bot so that it removes some of the cognitive load. And AI helps with that. When it comes to meetings, there's a lot that can be automated—from transcription to communication. There are many ways you can leverage AI to automate asynchronous meetings, and they include the following:
Automate the meeting process by employing a bot that does the heavy lifting for you. These assistants can set up reminders, transcribe and summarize videos/audio, and generate a list of action items for you.
Supernormal helps you record, transcribe and summarize the video in one go. You access the video and transcript as soon as you create it, making it easy to share with relevant stakeholders.
Plus, you can use its meeting templates to generate meeting-specific summaries and action items. It streamlines the entire process without requiring you to lift a finger.
Tools like Slack also have AI capabilities where you can use ChatGPT to access and summarize previous archives. Alternatively, you can use Slack to integrate with Supernormal and HubSpot/Pipedrive to create actionable meeting notes under specific client cards. This avoids the need to context switch between different apps, saving meeting time down the line.
Project management tools
These tools streamline your entire suite of projects and give you a bird’s eye view of everything. Plus, many tools include AI capabilities to generate text within the document, making it easy to collaborate with others.
Improve your productivity in your next virtual meeting using Supernormal
Asynchronous meetings are becoming increasingly popular for remote and distributed teams. These meetings allow team members to work at their own pace and on their own time, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency.
But to make them truly actionable, leverage AI assistants to increase efficiency. These assistants have made it possible to record asynchronous videos, transcribe conversations, and share them with colleagues. It not only saves time but ensures everyone is on the same page.
Are you ready to leverage AI to record async meetings? Sign up for Supernormal today and get 1,000 minutes free.