Among other things, the Covid era breathed new life into virtual meetings. That includes greater meeting frequency, as well as startup innovation that’s bubbled up to meet demand by improving the quality of all those meetings. That optimization play is where the David Shim-founded Read.ai lives.
Shim, former CEO of Foursquare and founder of Placed, has pivoted from ad tech and location intelligence with Read.ai. In this case, he saw the writing on the wall in both virtual meeting escalation… and the fact that quality is lacking. Most virtual meetings are suboptimal (more on that in a bit).
To address the issue, Read steps in with an analytics platform that monitors meeting health. Think of it like Apple Fitness for virtual meetings. This involves tracking signals that indicate participant engagement. Think: eye contact or share of time speaking (which can be a good or bad sign).
But beyond just providing meeting analytics, the software is meant to engender best practices – meaning more productive and fulfilling gatherings – through a more informed position.
“By introducing measurement into meetings, it enables individuals to take a data-driven approach to their meeting health,” Shim told Localogy Insider. “We’ve seen team standups that are shortened and more balanced, reoccurring meetings where the attendee list can be adjusted based on engagement.”
With all the above in mind, Read has just launched a report on aggregate meeting statistics from its platform. It has also internalized that data to improve its software, which comes in the form of a few feature updates. Starting with the former, what did Read’s latest report uncover about meeting quality?
To put it bluntly, Shim tells us that “1 in 5 meetings suck.” And things get worse with meetings that are larger (in headcount) and longer. In fact, anything longer than 50 minutes sees engagement drop by 43.8 percent in the later stages of the meeting – a clear call to shorten meetings whenever possible.
For more aggregate meeting stats that can inspire action, here’s a highlight reel of data points from Read’s report.
– 50% of participants arrive late
– 40% of participants have below average or poor engagement
– 27% of meetings rate below average or poor
– 22% of participants don’t say a single word
– 11% of attendees are in ghost mode (no video, no audio)
Another takeaway is that the Covid era has birthed bad meeting habits that should be adjusted. For example, many hosts err on the side of inclusivity which causes meeting bloat. Other blunt tactics like “no meeting Mondays” or “camera-off culture” aren’t productive and require more nuance.
“Each company, team, and individual is unique,” argues Shim, “and the analytics and optimizations have to be customized to that specific population.”
Chief Meeting Officer
For Shim and team, all the above data isn’t just used to help operators improve their meetings. The company is eating its own dog food by using all that aggregate data for its own product road map. And the latest outcome is what it calls Chief Meeting Officer, an automated meeting optimization tool.
The tool, a free addition to its software, includes three main features (verbatim from Read):
Read Meeting Manager: Delivers personalized post-meeting analytics, collaboration insights, and coaching to improve your meetings over time.
Read Executive Assistant: Joins meetings to ensure that meetings end on time with a live meeting timer, and that conversations are balanced with real-time talk time metrics.
Read Meeting Navigator: An in-meeting dashboard helps you steer your meetings in a better direction in real-time by measuring meeting score, sentiment, engagement, and alerting you when there are significant changes during the conversation at the group or participant level.
Joining these updates, Read is announcing that it’s now available on Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. These integrations join its previous availability on Zoom and Webex. And it brings Read’s addressable market is 500 million people, boosting its potential to optimize the scarcest organizational resource.
“With over 500 million daily active users on the Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Webex, the opportunity to introduce measurement into meetings is an opportunity to save over a billion minutes a day in bad video conferencing calls,” said Shim