The Real Cost of Meetings

Time

Simple math, 10 people sitting in a room for an hour is not one hour, it is 10 hours.

Cost

Ten people averaging $35/hr sitting in a room for an hour costs $350

Opportunity Cost

If those 10 people sitting in a room averaging $35/hr are technicians that would be billing out at $125/hr, the your meetings cost is not $350, it $1,600 ($125 x 10 +$350)

Not all meetings are bad, but ask yourself:

  • Would I still have this meeting if I was going to be billed for the cost of the meeting?
  • Is the value worth the cost?
  • Are the right people in the meeting?
  • Is the meeting necessary?  
  • What can I do to increase the value of the meeting?  

Put it on my tab…?

If you had to pay the salaries of the attendees of your meeting would you still chose to hold the meeting?

Value

Does your meeting free up more time than it cost?

Do I really need to go to this?

Why is the woman for accounts payable asking the manufactures rep about something that has nothing to do with accounts payable?  If people are asking stupid, job inappropriate questions, then you probably screwed up inviting them.

On  the flip-side, if important questions are going unasked, you might have forgotten to invite someone.

Necessity?

Other than today is the 2nd Wednesday in the month, what is the purpose of this meeting?

Making the bests of a meeting

I’ve worked in corporate America and I’ve worked for a family owned multi-million dollar business, I know it’s not so easy to “just” cancel a regular meeting.  So now the challenge is how to make the meeting mean somethings. For this I have two ideas;

  1. Have a fricking agenda!  What is the purpose of this meeting? What are we trying to accomplish?  Write it down, you might be surprised just how vague you are towards what you think are you goals.
  2. Follow up!  One of best lessons I ever learned from a boss is to volunteer to minute a meeting.  Whoever minutes meeting gets to set the concrete tone of what the meeting actually meant.  How many times have you spoken to someone who you were just in a meeting with and you had to wonder if you were just in the same meeting?  

One of my favorite quotes is, “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has actually occurred.” Playwright, George Bernard Shaw (honestly, I don’t know a single one of his plays, but his quotes all rock!)

If you minute your own meeting it give you the chance to solidify and clarify, “your” meaning.  Honestly, you can even clarify things (your way) that weren’t so clear in the meeting.

Minuting the meeting also give you a chance to hold people accountable.  “Patrick, as discussed you committed to finishing …by…”, “James you are going to get …back to us by….”.

Such a powerful tool, especially when they respond in the affirmative to a group email.  

Are the other meeting we should be having?

I recently worked for a company that was so focused on keeping a meeting to a specific time that they would rush a manufactures rep out a meeting, but have plenty of time for the girl from AP to ask questions about sales.  Meetings are not just about time. Pulling your entire sales team out of the field to report on why sales are under-performing is stupid (yes, worked for a company who made salespeople fly in once a month to report to the CEO as a group, while the company was struggling), yet spending an entire day training or solving a problem that is holding back your is not usually a bad thing.

If a meeting as the potential to make your company better over the long term, then it might be a good risk.   

Summary

  • Meetings have a real cost in time and money…it just math
  • Make sure your meetings create more value than they cost…math again!
  • Make sure the right people are in the meeting, and the wrong people aren’t
  • Don’t avoid a meeting that really adds value

If a meeting doesn’t solve a real problem or move you towards bigger and better things, please, I beg you, think twice!

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