In today’s modern, connected age, it’s surprising to think that meetings still form a sizable part of the working day in firms around the world. Despite the vast majority of people having access to the internet and email through smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc, meetings often remain the favored choice in decision-making processes over more modern forms of communication.
The drain meetings cause companies
When you look at the drain on both time and resources that holding meetings causes firms around the world, you might start to think twice the next time you consider holding one. Indeed, when you consider how taking simple steps like moving your firm’s IT to the cloud or installing intranets powered by intelligent software products like those produced by Simpplr can vastly improve communication channels in your firm, you may wonder why you didn’t ditch meetings long ago.
Below are a few lesser-known insights into the financial and temporal costs meetings have been proven to cause businesses:
- Meetings waste money – a lot of money: It’s estimated that in the US alone the relative cost of meetings organized by firms amounts to around $37 billion every year.
- Meetings don’t just waste money – they waste time too: Statistics show that in an average day in the US, there are a shocking 25 million meetings.
- The impact on middle management: Roughly 35% of middle managers’ time is spent in meetings.
- Upper management suffers worst of all: Around 50% of upper managers’ time is thought to be spent taking part in meetings.
- A situation that’s only getting worse: The time a company’s staff collectively spends in meetings is estimated to be around 15% of their total time at work – and that figure has been consistently rising since 2008.
- Most meetings solve very little: In a recent survey, 67% of workers stated the time they spent in meetings was unproductive and did little to solve the problems they were intended to address.
- The issues with multitasking: One of the primary reasons meetings are thought to be so unproductive is down to a loss of attention. 92% of respondents surveyed admitted to multitasking during meetings (i.e. taking calls, checking or replying to emails and browsing the web, etc). In fact, 69% confirmed they check emails during a meeting while a further 49% confessed to doing other, unrelated work.
Tips to improve meetings (if you feel you need to hold one)
Organizing and conducting a successful meeting is a fine art, however, there are some tips you can follow in the event you feel one is absolutely necessary to achieve your aims:
- Prepare effectively, set an agenda and send it to all participants
- Send required documents to participants to save wasting time reading material during the meeting
- Schedule your meetings and limit them to 30 minutes to keep focus
- Start and end your meetings on time (applies to everyone attending)
- Stay focused on the issue(s) at hand to avoid straying onto other unrelated business
- Avoid lengthy monologues and, instead, encourage discussion among participants
- Take notes and prepare a recap of key points discussed at your meeting to send to all contributors to avoid discussing them again at a later date