How I Stopped Taking Meeting Notes and Learned to Love Wordcab
I love taking meeting notes. That stems from a love of writing, but there’s also something powerful in capturing the essential points in a meeting, distributing those notes, and staying on top of action items (and making sure everyone is accountable). It makes a meeting feel like it’s adding value, instead of wasting everyone’s time.
For me, meeting notes’ value gain is contingent on two factors: that the meeting is small enough (three or four people) and I don’t have meetings back to back… to back. As long as those two criteria are met, I’m the first to volunteer to take notes.
But in hour-long meetings with eight or ten people, this becomes unwieldy, especially if I have another meeting right after. Follow-up becomes a chore.
This started happening a few years back as meetings picked up. I began to lose track of what people said; participants were not accountable for the things they promised to do; or only a handful of action items were followed-up on.
In 2017–2019, I thought this was a bit ridiculous, given our tech at the time. Transcription platforms were helpful, but how many times per week would I have to read through hundreds of ers and uhms just to get to the main point?
From the pandemic until now, remote meetings have only increased. In December 2020, after a particularly harried day, I grew so frustrated I started working on an MVP to automatically summarize meetings. After a few months of work, I had something promising. So we began hiring.
This eventually morphed into Wordcab, which today helps hundreds of professionals from dozens of companies automate their note-taking habits.
I’m one of Wordcab’s biggest power users. Here’s how I made sure I never had to take meetings notes again (unless I wanted to).
Signing Up for Wordcab
Signup is super simple — simply head to the Wordcab’s signup page and register with your email and first name.
Importing Meetings from Your Calendar
Our MVP started off with the ability to import an audio file and have that summarized in a few minutes. For a more seamless experience, we added native Google Calendar and Outlook integrations. Any Zoom, Meet, or Teams links are automatically pulled in after you connect your calendar.
Five minutes before the start of an imported meeting, the Wordcab Note Taker bot joins and starts recording the participants. After the meeting, this recording is transcribed, and in turn that transcript is summarized.
Receiving Your Summary
A few minutes after your meeting is done, you’ll get an email with your meeting summary — if you connected Google Calendar, you will be able to immediately send the summary to all the participants on the invite.
Of course, the longer the meeting, the longer the summary. You might want to edit the speaker labels and summary before you do that. Just click the Edit my summary button in the email and it will take you to the summary editing page.
Editing and Distributing Your Summary
This is where things get really interesting. You can easily change the speaker labels here, but more importantly you can make your summary shorter (more abstract) or longer (more detailed) by just moving the Length slider.
Once you’ve adjusted the length and made your edits, you can send the summary to up to five participants at a time by clicking the Email summary button. If you are connected to Google Calendar, the email field will be pre-filled.
Coming Back to the Summary
Meetings recorded with the Wordcab Note Taker bot have an awesome feature that really speeds up information retrieval. When you click on a summary bullet, an audio player above the summary skips to the point that was summarized. Sort of like navigation by summary.
Connecting Wordcab to Your App Ecosystem
It doesn’t end there — you can make things even more efficient. You can send your summaries to other apps via our Zapier connection.
For example, every time you click the save icon on your summary, or a summary finishes processing for the first time, you can send it to Google Docs, Evernote, Asana, or any other platform on Zapier.
Below is a video of how to connect Wordcab to Docs via Zapier—it takes only a few minutes to set up and gives you a powerful way to search through your summaries and transcripts.
Our goal isn’t to just end the need to take meeting notes, but to dramatically improve the information retrieval process, and eventually organize the world’s unstructured audio and video data. Meetings are just the start.