Companies are trying to determine how they can benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) technologies — and where they are a threat. For leaders, the challenge is to help employees harness this technology while overcoming their fears. One of the best places for leaders to start is with AI in meetings — where crucial decisions are made that determine an organization’s fate.
AI is already the biggest budget priority for nearly 50% of C-suite technology executives, and the recent emergence of generative AI (genAI) is driving even more interest in these technologies. And here’s the thing: If you use software to host meetings, record them, or share meeting summaries, you’re likely using AI already.
Learn more about how leaders can use AI technologies in team meetings, the benefits and challenges of AI-powered tools, and how Whole Brain® Thinking can influence your AI strategy and empower your employees.
What AI Technologies Are in the Workplace?
You might be using AI at work without realizing it, whether you’re in an office job, on a shop floor, or out in the field. Here are just a few examples of existing AI use:
- Virtual assistants: This software is commonly used for automating rote tasks or in customer service. An AI assistant for meetings can automate scheduling and contribute to agenda creation, among other benefits.
- Chatbots: They use AI to understand natural language. They can help employees or customers ask questions or troubleshoot issues and receive natural and intuitive responses.
- Content creation: Language-based AI models take user inputs and generate new output based on patterns and trends they’ve identified in existing data. In meetings, AI tools can create live captions and translations based on natural language audio processing.
- Predictive maintenance: Commonly seen in manufacturing and other industries, AI-powered tools monitor assets and equipment and predict when maintenance or repairs are likely. This improves efficiency and reduces downtime.
- Advanced data analysis: AI and machine learning (ML) models identify patterns and insights from large datasets, allowing businesses to make more informed strategic decisions.
AI is already gaining traction in the workplace, even if it's far from reaching its potential. Let’s focus on how AI-powered tools fit into your team meeting ideas.
Benefits of Using AI in Team Meetings
Effective meetings are a mix of repeatable and unique elements. You always need a time, place, and agenda, for instance. Meetings also must leave room for open discussion that’s honest, transparent, and potentially unpredictable. Here are a few ways AI can help in both contexts.
AI can help create a more organized and productive meeting even before it starts. AI-powered tools can suggest agenda topics based on past meeting notes, schedule a time and date that’s free for all attendees, and share reminders.
During meetings, AI can generate prompts and automated meeting notes. Some AI tools can even provide live captions and automatically generated translations. Tools that transcribe meetings create a permanent archive to reference, including for people who couldn’t attend.
AI-powered tools can help teams collaborate in real-time, enabling better communication and collaboration. Real-time captions and language translation make meetings more accessible and welcoming for all participants, regardless of their setup or circumstances.
With AI-generated notes, takeaways, and transcripts, attendees can offer suggestions or ideas with the reassurance that they won’t be forgotten immediately afterward. Some AI tools track and organize the topics discussed, which can help teams looking to piece together similar themes across meetings. Other AI tools can integrate into your key systems, such as customer relationship management platforms, helping meeting participants bring in critical information when needed most.
When AI powers your meetings, you have more information at your fingertips and don’t have to rely on handwritten notes or human recall for what you discussed. AI tools can generate meeting takeaways and suggest action items. Decision-making improves because you have better recordkeeping and AI-generated analysis.
AI-powered tools can streamline meeting creation, scheduling, and setup, saving your team time so it can work on mission-critical tasks. During and after meetings, these tools help teams focus on key discussions without having to search aimlessly for information or worry about remembering what was discussed.
Challenges With Using AI in Your Team Meetings
AI isn’t a panacea for bad meetings or dysfunctional teams. If your team struggles to be productive, collaborative, and effective, you’ll want to address those issues first.
Here are some other challenges your team might face when incorporating AI technology into your meetings.
Finding the Right Tools at the Right Price
Businesses already spend a lot of money on technology, and finding additional budget for AI-specific tools can be a challenging task. Look at AI offerings within your existing tech stack, especially those that can be activated at no additional charge.
If you want to take advantage of AI without increasing your spend, look for tools that serve your existing needs while layering AI on top. If you focus only on AI capabilities when assessing software or hardware, you might overlook a lack of basic functionality in the tool.
Safeguarding Privacy and Data
Like any technology, your company should scrutinize how AI tools protect user privacy and safeguard user and organizational data. What security and encryption measures are in place? What are the provider’s terms for sharing data (even anonymized) with third parties?
Make sure to ask whether AI models are trained on user data. Many companies will need to rely on tools with SOC 2 compliance, for example.
Training Employees to Use (and Trust) AI
Change management is always challenging, and AI can be even more difficult if employees believe technology is replacing them.
Start by being transparent about your AI efforts and how AI tools will help employees do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Explain how, if at all, AI tools will collect data on employee activities or otherwise track them.
Even with buy-in, AI meeting tools will only be effective if employees are trained to use them properly.
Preventing Bias in AI Tools
AI tools must be designed to minimize bias and ensure that all team members are treated fairly. Talk with vendors about how they strive to prevent and detect bias in their tools, as well as what steps you can take to prevent bias from creeping into your team’s use of AI tools.
Powering Humans, Not Replacing Them
AI meeting assistants should augment your team’s effectiveness, not replace it. The focus of AI should be on giving team members better information faster so they can enjoy more productive meetings and make smarter decisions. AI should enhance employee autonomy while relieving them of rote, repetitive work.
How to Introduce AI Into Team Meetings Using Whole Brain® Thinking
The rapid advance of AI is just one way the world is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. And in a VUCA world, teams increasingly need agility, collaboration, and cognitive diversity. This is where the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) and Whole Brain® Thinking can be powerful assets.
Every person has preferred methods and modes for navigating the world. These thinking preferences affect where our attention and energy are directed and how we process information. The Whole Brain® Thinking Model provides a road map for understanding your thinking preferences — and other people’s. When employees can access their individual HBDI® profiles and their co-workers’ profiles, everyone begins to understand each other better and can be more intentional in their interactions.
Whole Brain® Thinking can be thought of as four quadrants: Analytical (Blue), Structural (Green), Relational (Red), and Experimental (Yellow). Each quadrant is different but equally important — no thinking preference or particular combination is “right” or better than another.
Here are some ways to think about Whole Brain® Thinking when incorporating AI into meetings.
Assess Your Team’s Needs and Where AI Can Help
Look at where your team meetings are productive and where they could improve. If your team struggles to remember or locate what's discussed in meetings, then AI-powered meeting tools that generate key takeaways can be a powerful asset. Even for in-person meetings, recording your conversations and running them through an AI-powered transcript generator can help everyone access the same information.
AI isn’t always the answer. If your meetings are hampered by turf battles that prevent the right people from being included in meetings, AI will be less helpful. As you audit your meetings, look to Structural (Green) thinkers to help lead this effort. Experimental (Yellow) thinkers can help you think beyond the obvious applications of AI.
Get Your Team’s Input on AI Needs, Concerns, and Risks
Tap into the cognitive diversity of your team members to overcome resistance, apply AI more effectively, and encourage them to think of AI as a teammate who improves their productivity and thinking.
By inviting your team to be part of the process, you can connect with employees who prefer Relational (Red) thinking. They’ll want to see how AI affects their colleagues. Collaborating on AI also helps surface risks, such as the possibility of bias or where additional training is needed.
Explain How AI Will Help the Team Thrive
AI is a significant change for many employees, and an important part of change management is helping people envision the future — and their role in it. There are numerous ways to explain why you’re adding AI to meetings depending on which thinking preferences you’re trying to influence.
You might share the potential for greater productivity with Analytical (Blue) thinkers, especially if you can offer a measurable impact. The possibility of increased innovation might intrigue Experimental (Yellow) thinkers. Don’t forget to emphasize the relational benefits of AI: meetings where everyone is equipped to follow along, participate, and access key information instantly.
Start Small and Test
As you explore the tech options for your teams, consider small tests before committing to an AI tool. Look for free plans or trials to experience a tool’s features with minimal commitment. A pilot program offers an organized and detailed (Green) way to assess a tool’s effectiveness, generates early data on effectiveness (Blue), and helps you avoid choosing a technology that makes work harder for your team (Red).
After adopting AI tools, continue to fine-tune and experiment (Yellow) with how you run your meetings and how technology can help. Your team members will appreciate this, as they get a stake in their meetings rather than having a policy imposed on them.
Make AI Part of Your Team
Leaders who want to help their teams thrive in the new world of work need to embrace technology. AI in meetings is just one way that teams can improve their thinking, productivity, and results by harnessing technology rather than fearing it.
Consider how your meetings can improve and where AI-powered tools can fit in. Then, apply Whole Brain® Thinking to ensure everyone on your team contributes to better meetings and team dynamics.
Learn how to make meetings work with our Stop & Think app in Microsoft Teams.