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When Meetings Can’t Be an Email: How to Make Meetings More Impactful – ReadWrite



Brad Anderson

It’s practically an old saw at this point: “That meeting could have been an email.” However, many meetings can’t just be an email, no matter how you may wish it were different. Certain topics and business problems simply require face-to-face conversation so decisions can be made or action plans formulated. When that’s the case, it’s up to leaders to make meetings worth everyone’s time.

At those times when email won’t do, here are some tips for making in-person and virtual meetings more impactful.

Make an Agenda (and Stick to It)

You likely schedule every meeting for a specific purpose. But if the meeting doesn’t stay on topic, your attendees might soon tune out or become annoyed. This is why a meeting agenda is a must. A detailed agenda outlines the goal of the meeting and topics you need to cover.

Remember, an agenda is only effective if you stick to it. The employee running the meeting needs to keep everyone focused. If an idea comes up that’s outside the scope of the meeting, jot it down to return to another time.

Eliminate Distractions

Effective meetings require everyone to be present and engaged. Unfortunately, employees might check email, glance at their phones, or do other work during the meeting. These diversions make the meeting less efficient. So do your best to eliminate distractions during your meetings.

If you’re in the office, you might ask everyone to leave their devices at their desks. Of course, distractions are harder to control during virtual meetings, but you can remind employees to stay present for the entire time block. At the very least, insist that all attendees keep their cameras on to lessen the chances that, sight unseen, they’ll turn their attention elsewhere.

And, of course, lead by example. Employees will start checking Slack messages or drafting emails if they see their managers doing the same.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

Strong communication is another tool for keeping employees engaged during meetings. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to show employees that you value their contributions. Ask thoughtful questions about the topic at hand, following up if you need more information.

Asking the right questions can be particularly effective during virtual meetings. As employees experience Zoom fatigue, they might be slowly checking out. Pull your team back in by reminding them that their role matters. A simple, “What challenges have you been running into?” can go a long way.

Practice Active Listening

When it comes to impactful meetings, asking thoughtful and relevant questions is only half the battle. You also need to listen. Your team will be able to tell if you’re asking questions for the sake of asking. Plus, you could be missing out on valuable insights.

Active listening doesn’t need to be complicated. Make eye contact, stay engaged, avoid interruptions, and ask for clarification if you need to. For example, an employee might point out a resource they need or a roadblock they have encountered. If you can’t present a solution at the moment, commit to following up with that person.

When everyone listens actively, you’re making the meeting into a conversation rather than a lecture.

Take Detailed Notes

Your team can also hold more impactful meetings by keeping detailed notes. Of course, it can be tricky, and often impossible, to remember everything that your team members said. But when you have notes, you can refer back to the meeting as needed.

These notes will also keep absent employees in the loop, while helping at least the note taker to stay more engaged. Just be sure to change up the note-taking tasks. No one wants to be stuck typing away at every meeting.

Another winning option? Consider an automatic transcription service. This technology jots down the meeting word-for-word, so your team can focus on the conversation at hand.

Assign Action Items

If you only schedule meetings when necessary, you’ll want to end each one with clear next steps. This is why action items are a must. As you run through the items on the agenda, assign the next steps as you go. Then go over the list of action items at the end to confirm these assignments.

As a manager, it might be worth checking in with employees about their tasks between meetings. You don’t need to micromanage, but this extra check-in ensures that your initiatives stay on track.

It’s also helpful to consider whether you’ll need another meeting to take further steps. For example, this might be the case if you didn’t reach a decision in the last meeting. In this case, a half-hour call might be more efficient than dozens of tiny check-ins.

Watch the Clock

Why do so many meetings feel like a waste of time? Because they simply take up too much time. Many companies make the mistake of starting meetings late and going over time. This habit throws the entire day off schedule, causing your employees to dash to their next commitments.

Punctuality is a sign of respect. Plus, no one likes sitting in a Zoom waiting room for longer than they need to. Honor your team and clients by showing up and ending on time. If you see that time is running out, recap what you need to. Then come back to the rest of your agenda items at your next meeting.

Today’s companies have endless communication tools at their fingertips. However, sometimes you can’t beat a simple face-to-face conversation. Whether your team is meeting in the office or online, it’s your job to make this time worth their while. If you aren’t sure how to make meetings more impactful, simply ask. Your employees likely have some ideas.

Image Credit: yan krukov; pexels; thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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