Why do you hold a meeting? Are you trying to come up with a new product, get a weekly status update, or determine obstacles to increasing revenue?
The goal of these meetings is to come up with solutions, get your team on the same page, or create future goals, but the reality is that at the end of most meetings, your team disappears back into their offices, momentum stalls, and any excitement or inspiration that was generated gets rolled up in a flipchart or lost as a photo on someone’s phone.
There’s no denying that meetings are long overdue for an upgrade.
We’ve all been in a meeting that is boring, unproductive, and feels like a huge waste of time. But, did you know that meetings can also be a huge waste of money as well?
According to an article on Inc.com, more than $37 billion is spent on unproductive meetings every year!
There are also more than 25 million meetings per day in the USA, which translates to about 15% of an organization’s collective time spent in meetings (and this number is rising every year).
Not only that, upper management (whose time is worth the most salary-wise) spends 50% of their time in meetings.
The Real Cost of Meetings
So, how much do meetings actually cost?
Well, thanks to the Harvard Business Review, we have access to a meeting calculator that assists in estimating the cost of a meeting based on the number of attendees, their salaries, and the time spent in the meeting.
Here are a few meeting scenarios and their costs:
1) Weekly Status Update Meeting
Duration: 30 minutes
Total Attendees: 8 people
Salaries: 1 at $50,000, 1 at $60,000, 3 at $70,000, 2 at $90,000, 1 at 120,000
TOTAL COST: $217
Every month you are paying $868 for a 2 hours worth of status update meetings — that’s more than $10,416 a year! It is also worth taking into consideration the fact that people spend up to 4 hours a week prepping for status/update meetings, which means that even more money is being spent prepping for these weekly meetings.
And, because executives consider 67% of meetings to be failures that means that you are essentially throwing away almost $7,000 a year on weekly status update meetings with just 8 employees. Now imagine that you have 20 departments that meet weekly — that’s a lot of money to lose every year!
2) Monthly Department-Wide Brainstorm Session
Duration: 3 hours
Total Attendees: 16
Salaries: 5 at $40,000, 4 at $50,000, 3 at $60,000, 2 at $80,000, 1 at $110,000, 1 at $120,000
TOTAL COST: $2,037
Monthly brainstorming sessions cost the company over $24,400 annually. If you take the fact that 67% of meetings are failures into consideration, that could mean that you are wasting more than $16,000 a year!
3) Quarterly Executive Planning Session
Duration: 6 hours
Total Attendees: 12
Salaries: 4 at $100,000, 1 at $110,000, 2 at 120,000, 5 at $130,000
TOTAL COST: $5,880
The yearly total for these executive planning sessions is $23,520. If you factor in the 67% of meetings are failures statistic, this means that almost $16,000 of that is wasted annually.
Why Meetings Fail
We go into most meetings with the best of intentions, so why are they so bad? There are a few things that can make a meeting ineffective and a waste of time and money.
- A lack of planning and structure
The meeting isn’t organized, there is no set agenda, people have too much time to speak, and the meeting ends up going longer than you thought it would.
- The people with great ideas don’t get a chance to share them
There are too many people in the meeting, not enough time, or a few people dominate the conversation preventing anyone else from contributing.
- The meeting is too long
People stop paying attention if the meeting feels like it is dragging out.
- Attendees are multitasking
The people attending your meetings might be doing other work, answering emails, scrolling through social media, and generally not paying attention.
- The facilitator is doing all the talking
In order for attendees to be engaged, they have to be more than a passive audience. They need to be actively contributing to the meeting.
- No follow-up
Even if you do have an inspiring and productive meeting, what happens after? Where do the good ideas go? Are the action items followed up on?
How You Can Make Meetings Better
There are a few key ways to make your meetings more efficient, effective and engaging, saving your company money in the process.
You need to have everything prepared, set up, and organized so that you can maximize your time when everyone is gathered together.
- Engage the room
The meeting attendees should be talking more than the facilitator.
- Capture key issues, points, ideas, and inspirations
Don’t lose great ideas that emerge from your meetings in a rolled up flipchart, capture these ideas!
- Keep it short
Try and keep your meetings short and efficient so that attendees are not zoning out.
- Follow up on action items
Don’t let the momentum stop! You need to assign tasks and follow up to ensure that the time spent in your meeting achieves results.
6 Ways Stormboard Can Help
At Stormboard we believe that meetings can not only be interesting and engaging, but also help your team be more productive, save you money, and turn great ideas into action!
- Prep your meeting
You can pick a template, assign colors, and create headers within Stormboard before your meeting even begins. This means that when your team is finally all gathered in one place, you can dive right in.
- Shorten meeting time by having attendees participate before the meeting
Your team can share ideas, visual inspiration, links, notes, and more that everyone can review before you are gathered together. You can also have your team pre-review any documents or important points that will be covered in the meeting so they arrive ready to go and with ideas to contribute.
- Vote On The Best Ideas
Want a quick consensus or to see how your team is feeling about different elements that have been discussed? Ask people to vote on the ideas that are in your Storm and within seconds you will see which elements are the most popular and should be focused on, and which should be left behind — no discussion necessary.
- Assign Tasks
Assign tasks within your Storm so that everyone knows who is accountable to follow-up on each idea. The assignment and due date are automatically emailed to the person in charge, so they can easily keep track of their commitments.
- Instantly Run Reports (No More Minutes!)
With Stormboard, you can export the ideas from your template into a professional report that can be collaboratively edited and then shared immediately with meeting participants or key stakeholders. Reports are available as a PNG, PDF, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Wordle, and more.
- Continue The Collaboration
Your best ideas and conversations from your meeting can continue to be built upon as participants can be assigned tasks to follow-up on and continue to be active collaborators. The Storm doesn’t go away just because your meeting is over — it can continue to be a collaborative space for your team, and then used again for your next gathering, or prevent the need for one altogether!
Learn more about how Stormboard can make your meetings better and save your company money!
—By Lindsay Shapka