Could smart bots make sales meetings work better?
AI won’t replace human meetings but, by taking care of the routine and time-consuming, it will make them more productive, inspiring and inclusive, writes Peter Jackson, CEO of Bluescape.
Nearly all organisations today use a range of collaboration tools – conference bridges, video conferencing, file sharing platforms or chat apps – to undertake their daily business.
The benefits of these solutions are well understood. Employees located all across the world can work together as if they were in the same location, while these tools also make it easier to work with suppliers, customers, partners, consultants as well as the rising number of gig economy workers who make up today’s workforce.
Yet, for all their advantages, collaboration tools are far from perfect.
Have you ever attended a conference call where someone says “Can you please repeat the question?” Most people recognise this as code for “Sorry, I wasn’t listening.” The likelihood is that the participant wasn’t skiving. They were more likely to be working on another task that they considered a better use of their time. After all, conference calls don’t tend to be inclusive or democratic, providing everyone with an equal platform. Instead they are run by a handful of dominant individuals, who control the agenda and the PowerPoint deck.
This is where AI could play a role.
A weekly conference or video call about sales targets or a new business pipeline follow the same agenda every time. Soon, smart bots could attend these meetings on behalf of their humans, recording action points and providing routine updates. If the chair has a question the bot can’t answer, it will nudge its human to interject.
It’s not just these routine tasks that AI can help with. For teams collaborating on highly creative projects – for example, designing clothes or producing a movie – considerable time and effort is spent on developing storyboards and tweaking designs. Cloud-based AI applications can learn from the hive mind of these creatives, understanding their thought processes and ultimately making suggestions that shorten the time it takes to bring an idea to market.
AI certainly won’t replace human collaboration but, by taking care of the routine and of the time-consuming, it will certainly make it more productive, inspiring and inclusive, where everyone has a voice.
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