October 24, 2020

The Hidden Cost Of Poor Communication In Business And How To Fix It

by Vytenis

Decisions are the driving force behind each organization. And there’s no way of going around it – business meetings are where all the big talk happens, and key decisions get made. Yet, while the importance of holding meetings is clear to most, there is also the darker side that rarely gets serious consideration. Meetings can quickly start feeling soul-sucking. According to Research done by Harvard Business Review, an astonishing 54% of survey respondents complained that meetings get them down due to three main reasons: they are too frequent, poorly timed, and badly run. 


Why we shouldn’t accept the reality of unproductive meetings

Sure, we humans love to complain. Maybe meetings are just an unavoidable reality of work life, same as with elevator small talk? After all, if meetings are essential for an organization to thrive, shouldn’t we just do our best to participate, no matter how frequent or unproductive they might seem? 

Well, not exactly. While elevator small talk might just be a minor personal annoyance, unproductive meetings and ineffective communication have an objective price that arises from lost working hours, hindered focus, and engagement from employees.

There is an emotional toll too. The findings from Dynamic Signal’s State of Employee Communication and Engagement Study show that a whopping 80% of the U.S. workforce reports feeling stressed because of ineffective company communication, a 30% jump from 2018.

Aside from the human price, we can calculate how much the lost productivity costs to a business, in monetary terms.


The dollar price of poor communication

Let’s take a look at one particular example. A report by David Grossman discussed a survey of 400 companies with over 100,000 employees. It was discovered that – on a yearly average – $62.4 million are lost per company due to subpar communication skills of the average employee. And, unsurprisingly, poor communication skills are among the main factors leading to unproductive meetings.

In another example, Harvard Business Review recently calculated that the cumulative costs associated with productivity losses, which result from issues of poor communication, cost the firm (annually) more than $26,000 per employee. For an average mid-sized U.S. firm that employs about 500 people, the losses are downright astronomical – 13 million dollars. And things get even more complicated when we turn to the topic of online conference calls.


Remote meetings to the rescue?

With the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face communication is increasingly moving online to remote meetings held via apps such as Slack, Zoom or Hangouts, which a lot of us have learned to love and hate even before the pandemic struck. 

And with the ever-growing number of online meetings, this has led to many discussions about what this “new normal” entails. In popular culture one might encounter jokes about participating in remote job interviews while wearing pyjamas, yet those already with a job are often more concerned about how to conduct remote meetings while maintaining productivity, and staying engaged – both as an individual and as a team.

For some, remote meetings might seem like a better alternative to the ones taking place in the office. After all, you don’t need to spend time going to the actual meeting room and back, and you also get to sit in your comfy chair in the cosy environment of your home. Yet, most workers also report new kinds of problems. What are they?

According to recent Research by Wundamail, 56% of surveyed remote workers report that they wish to spend less time on video-calls. And this might be due to another statistic: 42% of people reported that they feel like they frequently dial in yet contribute nothing. There are also the annoying technical issues – video glitches, lagging audio and connection hang-ups, just to name a few. All these things make remote meetings even more difficult to follow and participate in.

And from the business side of things, the same research also shows that pointless small talk in the context of video calls is costing businesses more than $1300 per employee each month in wasted time.



Making online meetings more efficient

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out some relatively simple methods of making remote calls more effective. Have a clear agenda, encourage colleagues to stay on point, have your webcam turned on and turn off the mic when you’re not talking. These are just some of the most common practices.

Yet, even after all similar methods get applied, there remains the single issue we have mentioned previously: poor communication. No matter how well you structure your meetings, people generally have the tendency to get distracted, chit-chat or lose the point. Others are just not that good at getting their point across in a clear way. And since this is such a common problem, simple adjustments of how you go about things most likely won’t achieve the desired result.

Here at Lucid Agreements we are developing an ML-based intelligent text-to-speech solution that makes online meetings more efficient. This is done by capturing and transcribing conversations with near 100% accuracy, identifying action points on the go and enabling real-time process management. 

Join our early access list for an opportunity to improve your meetings with the help of cutting-edge tech: Https://Join.lucidagreements.com 

Or download our free e-book with some great advice that will help your team improve communication during meetings: Https://Ebook.lucidagreements.com/


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