An AI Tool That Radically Alters Discovery Meetings
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I have long opposed the ritualistic practice of taking notes at meetings. It impairs your ability to make an emotional connection. But it’s difficult for advisors to abandon this practice.
There are exceptions. When your client conveys vast amounts of information – as is typically the case in a discovery meeting – it’s unrealistic to expect you to retain that information without writing it down.
That’s about to change.
Let’s look at the research that explains why taking notes impairs an advisor’s ability to help clients, and then I will discuss a solution.
The cognitive-load theory
The cognitive-load theory helps us understand why taking notes can be problematic.
The cognitive-load theory is a psychological concept that explains how the brain processes information. It suggests that the brain can only handle limited information. When that limit is exceeded, it can lead to decreased learning and comprehension.
The theory proposes that information should be presented in a way that reduces unnecessary cognitive overload by breaking down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable pieces. By doing so, learners can better process and retain the information in their long-term memory.
When taking notes, the theory suggests that focusing on writing down information can consume cognitive resources, potentially limiting our capacity to pick up non-verbal cues, reducing empathy, and causing us to ignore nuances.
The dual-task paradigm
The dual-task paradigm in cognitive psychology explains how managing two tasks simultaneously can affect performance. If you are writing notes while also trying to empathize or connect emotionally with others, you’re multitasking, which may decrease efficiency in one or both tasks.
Interference with active listening
Taking notes might conflict with active listening because it could divert attention away from what your client is saying. Studies on this subject have reached conflicting conclusions.
Taking notes on a laptop (commonly done by advisors) may impair comprehension more than doing so longhand.
A possible solution
While impressive, the first wave of AI platforms has broad applicability to many industries. As AI evolves, we can look forward to AI platforms explicitly designed for the investment advisor community.
A recent entrant that fits this new category is FinMate. FinMate transcribes videoconferences with clients, but unlike more generic programs, it’s trained to target and isolate information important to advisors.
Since FinMate is essentially recording the videoconference, advisors should get clients’ permission when using it.
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Its founders were formerly investment advisors with extensive client-facing experience.
You can see a sample output on its website. The AI-generated notes are comparable to the way most advisors would categorize the salient topics of a discovery meeting (background, income, liquid assets, illiquid assets, insurance, liabilities, current expenses, retirement and financial goals, investment styles, motivation and concerns and “next steps”).
FinMate eliminates the need to take notes during discovery meetings. It frees up the time it takes to organize your notes after the session and eliminates distracted multitasking during meetings.
Its basic plan, which includes up to 10 hours of meetings per month, is free.
When I interviewed the co-founders of FinMate, they expressed a willingness to continue to modify their platform to address issues that would help advisors. I recommended a feature that would calculate how much time each person talked during the meeting.
They are also considering a feature that would extract similar information from in-person meetings, which would be very useful.
Successful advisors understand the importance of having an emotional connection with prospects and clients. FinMate is a welcome addition to the tools you can use because it eliminates the need to take notes in meetings where recording information is critical.
Dan trains executives and employees in the lessons based on the research in his latest book, Ask: How to Relate to Anyone. His digital marketing firm makes extensive use of artificial intelligence to help advisors increase their SEO rankings and improve their marketing and allows advisors to integrate AI into their practices.
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