Illustration of an empty meeting room

How AI can help you banish bad meetings

by Vanessa Ho

If your workdays are filled with meetings, you’re not alone. The amount of time people spend this way has gone up nearly three times since 2020, according to a recent Microsoft Work Trend Index report. Problem is, meetings aren’t always productive the same report found that “inefficient meetings” are the top barrier to getting things done. 

Whether you’re running late, showing up unprepared or struggling to get everyone on the same page, here are nine ways Microsoft Copilot and other AI tools can help you become a master of meetings.  

Illustration of a woman running with several clocks in the background

You’re always running late

If you can’t seem to get to meetings on time, Copilot in Microsoft Teams can help by summarizing key points in real time so you can catch up on what’s happened so far and jump in without missing a beat. If you didn’t catch important context, you can ask Copilot where people agree or disagree, and even get a summary in less-technical language.
Illustration of a woman looking at a calendar on her computer. There are several physical calendars flying around the room

You’ve got meetings on top of meetings

When you have to skip a call, you can ask Copilot in Teams for a summary of what was said, decisions that were made and tasks you need to do. You can also ask for things like a pros-and-cons table of ideas that came up and details on each person’s opinion. Copilot users will soon have access tointelligent meeting recaps,which feature automatically generated notes and suggested follow-up tasks. And in March, through Outlook, they’ll be able to “follow” a meeting they can’t attend. Following a meeting will prompt the organizer to record it in Teams, ensuring a recap is available later.
Illustration of a man giving a presentation

You’re leading a meeting that’s going nowhere fast

When your meeting is falling flat with dead air or digressions, Copilot in Teams can help you focus and add momentum. You can ask it things like “What can I ask to move the meeting forward?” or “What issues are still unresolved?” with answers visible only to you. Copilot will comb through the transcript to give you suggestions in real time without interrupting the discussion.
Illustration of a woman putting her fingers over her ears.

You share a noisy office space

When you can’t avoid annoying sounds, Teams’ noise suppression capability can analyze your audio feed to retain only speech while removing unwanted noise like keyboard typing, chips-bag crunching and your kids playing in the house. Teams will also soon include voice isolation, which will recognize your voice and suppress other voices and background noise, so only your voice is heard when you’re speaking.
Illustration of a man working on his laptop in an untidy room

You don’t have time to tidy up

When your office gets messy and your next meeting is now,“Decorate your background”in Teams Premium can come to your rescue. This generative background effect can enhance your real-life setting by removing clutter and adding houseplants, decorations and other touches that spruce up your space.
Illustration of a woman pointing to a screen as people sleep

You worry you’re putting everyone to sleep when you present

If your presentations could use some polishing, Speaker Coach has you covered. It analyzes your speech — including pacing, pitch and use of filler words and repetitive language — to provide live insights and an evaluation afterwards. It also analyzes your speech for culturally sensitive words and provides recommendations for inclusive language.
Illustration of a woman looking worried as she works on a laptop

You ran out of time to prepare

When you don’t have time to prep for a call, the Meet app in Teams comes in handy. It gathers meeting materials in one place so you see everything quickly, including agendas and documents. You can also see intelligent insights, like suggested content for upcoming meetings and whether a meeting is outside your working hours. Starting this summer, Copilot in Outlook will make meeting prep even easier by providing summariesof the meeting’s purpose, steps you need to take and relevant documents.
Illustration of a woman looking panicked as several items are handed to her

You wish you had an assistant

Scheduling meetings can be a chore, but Copilot in Outlook can help you do it more easily. The tool can already summarize an email thread, but starting in March, it will also suggest actions like scheduling a follow-up call. If you choose to do that, Copilot will automatically open a meeting form, give it a title and suggest participants and available times. It will also include an agenda, relevant files and a summary of the email thread. Voilà! A meeting is scheduled in a few clicks.
Illustration of two people with question mark bubbles next to their face

You need a little help with language barriers

Meetings are tough when people don’t speak the same language or have different languages they feel more comfortable using. Live translation for captions and transcripts in Teams Premium can help keep the conversation seamless. Available in 40 spoken languages, the real-time translations help meeting participants read captions and transcripts in their own language.

Images for this story were created using Image Creator from Designer and Microsoft Designer.

Story published on January 18, 2024