10 Ways Teams Use Otter to Improve Meetings

. 11 min read

You’re busy. With a million things to do, meetings can sometimes seem like an intrusion on your workday. You want to get as much done as possible. Meetings are often inefficient, redundant, and...well...boring.

But meetings are necessary. Whether your team is three people in a co-working space or thousands of people spread across the globe, it’s important to get everyone on the same page.

Meetings help ensure that work doesn’t get duplicated or fall through the cracks. Getting the team together is important. You need to make sure everyone understands your organization’s goals and challenges.

Meetings are here to stay. But how can you make sure they’re efficient, helpful and engaging?

One way to improve meetings is to use Otter. Developed by Otter.ai, the Otter app can record and transcribe meetings in real-time. You can also add photos or videos into the transcriptions while you’re recording. Many other features can transform your meetings into models of productivity. We’ll get to those in a minute.

If you want to be the pioneer who tries Otter before bringing it to your team, you’re in luck. Individuals can use Otter for free to record up to 600 minutes per month. That’s 20 half-hour meetings. Once you feel Otter’s power to facilitate communication, you can upgrade to a premium individual or team account.

Mario Sebok is very enthusiastic about the value Otter provides.

What makes Otter so great? There’s a lot to love. In this article, we’ll go over 10 of the ways Otter can help your team hold meetings that are the envy of your competitors.

Using Otter, your team can:

  1. Capture Meeting Notes Automatically, Increase Focus, and Save Time
  2. Share Key Summaries With Attendees and No-Shows
  3. Gain Insights From Customer Interviews
  4. Analyze Sales Calls
  5. Evaluate Job Candidates
  6. Collect Ideas From Brainstorms and Workshops
  7. Improve Transparency and Collaboration
  8. Record Meetings With Sensitive Information
  9. Make the Workplace More Accessible
  10. Uncover Insights From “Dark Data”

Let’s get started.

1. Capture Meeting Notes Automatically, Increase Focus, and Save Time

With Otter, you can automatically record and transcribe meetings. This can change the entire tone of a team gathering.

Increase Focus

What do your meetings look like now? A bunch of people crowded around a table, pounding away on their laptops? It’s important to have a summary of what happened at the meeting. However, constant note-taking reduces human-to-human connection. A lack of connection results in less engagement and scattered focus.

With automatic meeting recording and transcription, you get the best of both worlds. Your entire team (even members not present) can get a complete recording and transcript of the meeting. Note-taking isn’t necessary.

With Otter on your team, the people at the meeting can make eye contact, focus on the speaker, and collaborate.

Save Time

Perhaps the biggest complaint about meetings is that they take too long and are unproductive. You were in the middle of a project, just hitting your stride, when the calendar notification popped up. Your flow is broken.

With Otter, everything changes. With recordings and transcripts of the meetings, far fewer people need to attend. The low-level employee who is invited just to take notes no longer needs to be present.

Many people would be better served by listening to the transcript rather than attending the meeting in person:

  • Team members in different time zones. Coordinating a start time that works for Los Angeles, Moscow, and Singapore can be tricky. People are up either far too early or much too late. It’s not fun. With Otter, personnel in other time zones can simply listen to the recording on their own time.
  • Busy, high-level managers and other team members who are double booked. There are only so many meeting slots in a day. Conflicts often arise. With Otter, these individuals can choose the more important meeting and listen to the recording of the other meeting afterward.
  • Specialists often only need to hear specific portions of calls or meetings. However, they’re often stuck in hour-long conferences where they only need the equivalent of 10 minutes of information. With Otter, they can stay productive in their office and review what’s relevant to them once the meeting is over.

Team members can save time by multitasking while listening to the recording. For example, they could get caught up while commuting to work or taking a jog.

Easy Recording

Starting the recording is easy. All you have to do is hit the blue “record” button on your mobile or web app and the transcription is underway. You can even sync Otter with your calendar to prefill meeting titles and prompt you with a reminder to record right before a meeting starts.

Podcaster Phil Gerbyshak loves how easy it is to record and transcribe:

“The fact I can in real time transcribe just about any conversation I have on my phone is terrific. It helps me when I’m walking and thinking about my show to quickly record and transcribe a note.” - Phil Gerbyshak

Speaker Recognition

Otter is smart enough to recognize who is speaking at any given time. The app also offers speaker diarization--Otter splits the audio up into different segments, depending on the speaker.

Greg Battle is impressed with Otter’s voice recognition capabilities.

Visual Aids

Visual aids are an important part of meetings. Studies have shown that humans retain information better when it’s delivered in a multi-sensory format. Otter is here to make it happen. You can add photos or videos in real-time during the meetings. This ensures that visual aids (slides, whiteboards, or spontaneous selfies) can seamlessly make their way into the meeting summary.

Editing Transcripts

Otter’s transcription software is currently approximately 85% accurate. However, you can go back and edit the transcription if you find any inconsistencies. The 100% accurate audio playback syncs with the transcription, so editing the text is a breeze.

Clear Takeaways

As in any meeting, team members need to have a clear idea of who is responsible for what. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s a best practice for the meeting owner to summarize the key takeaways and action items. Clarity is key.

2. Share Key Summaries With Attendees and No-Shows

No matter how efficient your meetings, some moments will be more important than others. When editing your meeting transcripts, you can highlight key conversations. You also have the option of highlighting text while the meeting is being recorded.

Once you’ve highlighted the key takeaways, Otter prepares a shareable highlight summary. It also generates a summary of important keywords used during the meeting. Anyone, including non-attendees, can search the transcript for keywords after the meeting is over.

The “Word Cloud” feature generates a colorful graphic that represents the most-used keywords in your conversation. When you select a keyword from the Word Cloud, Otter will automatically take you to instances where the word occurred in the meeting.

Summary features like highlighting and the Word Cloud can be especially helpful if you’re sharing with team members who aren’t physically present at the meeting. Just because someone is in a different time zone doesn't mean they have to miss out on key meeting takeaways.

Even team members who could attend might prefer reviewing summaries instead of attending the meeting in person. They can get right to what’s important and use the time they saved to be more productive.

3. Gain Insights From Customer Interviews

Learning from your customers is a crucial part of running any business. Customer insight can drive product development and marketing strategy. Plus, customer interviews can provide raw materials to craft testimonials highlighting the benefits of your product or service.

Otter makes customer interviews a snap. Interview recordings can be easily shared with the rest of the team. This is key. Customer feedback should inform the actions of every department in your organization. Of course, make sure to get the customer’s consent before recording the conversation.

Adding photos or videos can make the interview more comprehensive. If there’s a problem with the product, a picture or video can help isolate the issue. If you have a happy customer, the interview can provide media that can be used in testimonials and other marketing materials.

4. Analyze Sales Calls

Some sales techniques work better than others. An effective way to boost your entire sales team’s performance is to study past sales calls--both good and bad.

This is where the easily shareable Otter recordings and transcripts shine. After a notable call, sales representatives can share the recordings with managers. The managers can then determine whether it would be helpful for a larger group to review the dialogue.

The individual or team running the review can use the highlighting feature to call out particularly strong or weak exchanges. By listening to the transcript, sales representatives can learn by example. As always, be sure to get the prospect’s permission before you record the conversation.

5. Evaluate Job Candidates

Have you ever had an interview scheduled with someone but had the interviewer changed at the last minute? Sometimes key decision-makers are busy.

In the typical hiring process, only a few people have a first-person picture of the candidate. Companies rely on their judgment to make hiring decisions.

With Otter, however, you can get the whole team involved. Recording the interview allows a wide range of people in your organization to offer input. After candidates have been shortlisted, hiring managers and other top-level personnel can review the transcripts to help decide who to hire.

Recordings can also be sent to HR departments, potential team members, and any other parties that might have an opinion on the hiring process. With Otter, you can get a true 360-degree picture of how a candidate would fit into your team.

6. Collect Ideas From Brainstorms and Workshops

Two heads are better than one. Lots of heads are better than two. Group brainstorming can be a helpful tool to generate ideas that can propel your organization forward.

To have the best possible brainstorm, everyone at the meeting should be present and engaged. When one person is a designated notetaker (or worse, everyone is constantly taking notes), people get left out of the idea-generating process. It’s difficult to contribute to an energetic conversation when your head is down being the scribe.

Humans can talk much more quickly than they can write or type. Waiting for notes to be accurately recorded can slow the brainstorm down. The meeting should be focused on bouncing ideas off one another and following the momentum wherever it leads. Slowing down to accommodate an accurate memorialization can kill the energy.

With Otter, everyone can be involved in the brainstorm without worrying about recording ideas. Laptops and notepads can be left at your desk. All you need is your brain. By eliminating distractions, everyone can remain focused on the task at hand--generating ideas.

John McKenna understands the value of leaving notetaking to Otter.

After the brainstorm is over, the recording and transcript can be shared with other team members who didn’t attend the meeting. They can then review the summary and provide their feedback on the most promising ideas.

7. Improve Transparency and Collaboration

Workplace transparency is becoming ever more important. High-powered CEOs like Bridgewater Capital’s Ray Dalio credit their success to the creation of a transparent organization where everyone is held accountable.

With Otter, meeting recordings can be sent to everyone in the organization. When team members feel like they are part of the process and given access to information, they begin to take ownership of their work and demonstrate more loyalty.

If more people are allowed to have access to the key ideas being discussed at higher levels, they can offer their input for how products and processes can be improved. Some of the best ideas come from the lower levels of an organization. The people with boots on the ground often have a unique point of view and can jumpstart innovation.

Having transcripts of meetings can also help with conflict resolution. “He said, she said” situations can be easily dealt with by deferring to the recording. With Otter, you always know what was said.

Ethan Anderson loves the fact that the “does anyone remember what they said about x” question is no longer a problem.

8. Record Meetings With Sensitive Information

In certain cases, such as litigation or compliance matters, a company may be required to produce transcripts of customer calls or meetings for discovery purposes. Otter can help your company remain in compliance by providing a detailed transcript of the conversation.

Otter can also help record meetings where detailed notes must be taken. Such complex situations include due diligence calls. Due diligence takes place in many situations. An example is when a company is seeking investors or considering a merger or acquisition. These calls can often be complicated and involve many specialists. Having Otter on your side can help you be sure you have all the information you need.

9. Make the Workplace More Accessible

Many meetings (especially conference calls) can be difficult to follow. Getting all the information can be even more of a challenge for individuals who are hard of hearing. Individuals for whom English is a second language may also experience difficulties understanding everything that is said.

Otter helps improve workplace accessibility by providing a written transcript that can be read by team members who might have trouble following along. Transcripts are generated in real-time, so your people can either read the up-to-date transcript while the meeting is live or review the recording once the meeting is over. Or both!

Otter also has a feature that allows you to adjust audio speeds and skip silences. For someone who has a difficult time understanding the audio, it can be helpful to play the meeting back at a slower speed. This can also be helpful during complicated or dense portions of the meeting. When information is given at breakneck speed, it can be helpful for anyone to take their time reviewing what was said.

On the flip side, for someone who wants to save as much time as possible, it can be helpful to listen to the audio at a higher speed. Many people listen to audiobooks and podcasts at an increased rate. Why not do the same with meetings? Free users have access to speeds of 0.5x, 1x, or 2x. Premium Otter users get additional options of 0.75x, 1.25x, 1.5x, and 3x.

10. Uncover Insights From “Dark Data”

Many organizations currently take advantage of analyzing data captured from emails, browser activity, and text messages. Companies can experience huge jumps in efficiency when they harness the power of data.

However, there are many scenarios where data isn’t captured:

  • Group meetings and calls
  • One-on-one conversations
  • Interviews
  • Customer calls

We refer to the above data opportunities as “dark data.” Many companies are beginning to apply business analytics to dark data. This can help organizations increase efficiency and uncover new insights.

With Otter, you can capture more information, which can help your organization run more smoothly and get ahead. In today’s competitive marketplace, you need every advantage you can get.

An Important Tool For Any Organization

There may be other voice recording applications out there, but Otter is in a league of its own. Just ask Drew Ianni, Founder and Chair of Chief Digital Officer (CDX) Forums:

It’s cleaner, it’s more intuitive. It’s just a better product...I just encourage everybody to try out Otter. I mean, it’s great.” - Drew Ianni

No matter the size, industry, or mission of your organization, Otter can help you become more efficient. The saved time, increased insights, and opportunities for collaboration can all help your team do good work that drives your company forward.

When you bring Otter onto your team, you’ll immediately notice the difference.