Unnecessary meetings are a $100 million mistake at large companies, according to a new survey that reveals nearly a third of the appointments employees attend are likely unnecessary.
Many organizations suffer from ineffective meetings. Perhaps there was a time when meetings served a practical purpose and added value for all participants. Eventually, however, they simply became an unchallengeable standing commitment.
“Meetings do control us, and bad meetings have an enormous cost,” said Rogelberg, who’s been researching meetings for two decades.
There are roughly 55 million meetings happening daily, and at least half of them do not accomplish much. Imagine the time, productivity, and ultimately money that is wasted? What can we do to improve this?
How Much Time Are You Wasting on Useless Meetings?
Bain & Company discovered in 2014 that senior executives spend an average of more than two days per week in meetings. In addition, 15% of an organization’s time is spent on meetings, a figure that has steadily increased since 2008.
Time is a valuable commodity in every business. How much time are you wasting in pointless meetings?
In the United States, over $25 million per day is wasted on unnecessary meetings. This results in an annual waste of $37 billion due to ineffective meetings.
At LinkedIn, they are combating pointless meetings by virtually eliminating presentations and mandating that any materials to be reviewed be sent to all meeting attendees 24 hours in advance. CEO Jeff Weiner is adamant that meetings should last only as long as necessary to complete business.
How can you quantify the effect that meetings have on your organization?
Harvard Business Review has recently released a convenient online calculator for estimating the cost of your meetings.
Almost certainly, you can tell that at least some of your meetings are too long (your co-worker snoring into his clasped hands at the far end of the table was a good clue). Changing the culture of meetings can be difficult, especially if that is how some employees in your organization believe they should be conducted.
One study stated that managers, who spend approximately 20% more time in meetings than the average employee, must be more judicious in calling meetings and more forthcoming in allowing people to decline them. According to more recent data from Microsoft, meeting cancellations increased 84% over the past year, but this is likely due to the 46% increase in overlapping meetings during the same period.
Do you really need to hold a Meeting?
Ask yourself these questions before you hold a meeting:
- How many of these meetings will advance your organization or project?
- How many of these meetings lack a specific objective, much less an agenda?
- How many of these meetings are merely email-capable status updates?
- How many of these meetings are you required to attend?
A meeting with a new supplier, a potential investor, a job applicant, or an experienced peer that does not move your business forward is ineffective.
Even if you have a mental goal in mind (such as “hire or fire him” or “learn how to manage landing pages”), a meeting without a specific objective will be ineffective and leave you frustrated.
A meeting consisting solely of a list of updates, with no discussion or debate, is unnecessary. Send an update email (or request that one be sent), hold a 10-minute stand-up meeting in the room with one person providing updates, or simply approach a team member in the hallway and ask them questions.
Finally, are there meetings that you do not need to attend? You may be surprised by how many of these meetings are on your calendar. General purpose meetings where the organizers invite everyone they know, highly focused meetings on topics you know nothing about, and meetings with people who look good on paper, but you know won’t get you anywhere are all ineffective (see question 1).
Never wing a meeting. Just going in and trying to figure things out as you go is frustrating and obnoxious for your team members — it’s an unproductive waste of time.
When you should call a meeting?
The issue at hand is time-sensitive and urgent.
If the information you need to convey is essential and time-sensitive, schedule a meeting immediately. You do not want to risk sending a mass email about an urgent matter only to have some employees gloss over or disregard it.
You require a venue for in-depth discourse and multiple perspectives.
Some problems necessitate collaboration and outlandish thoughts. Such brainstorming sessions and general discussions require formal meetings. It is difficult to replicate the flexibility and spontaneity of your team’s brainstorming sessions through instant messaging and email.
Decision-making is at play.
When the content of a potential meeting is high-stakes, as in “involving decisions with significant repercussions for the company’s future,” it is necessary to convene everyone.
You cannot treat these circumstances lightly.
In such situations, stakeholders require information and a forum to voice concerns and provide input. They need to attend the meeting. This cannot be achieved through an email chain, message board, or prerecorded video presentation.
Good tools to have effective meetings
Similar advice can be given to managers, who are often responsible for organizing and leading productive meetings.
Try to use meeting management and transcription software as a way to make meetings better.
isLucid transcribes your meetings in real time with multilanguage support. You can create tasks or highlight important details through voice commands. Every task integrates with multiple project management and CRM software.
isLucid allows you to create meeting minutes and have a generate meeting minute file after the meeting. You can edit it, add tasks and share it with other employees.
If you are interested in isLucid digital meeting assistant, get it for MS Teams and try it for free: isLucid Download Page.
You can also book a demo and get a walkthrough: Book a Demo.