At work we all sit in meetings most of the days. We sit in both effective meetings and ineffective meetings. We sit in well planned and totally unplanned chaotic ones. We sit in meetings that have a clear outcome and we sit in those that just act as a primer for another longer one with more people which in turn acts as a primer for another one and so on.
How much do meetings really cost you and your company?
There are two parts to cost. One is the direct cost of people’s time. Just to give you an idea, if the cost per person is an average $100 per hour, a one hour meeting of 10 people costs $1000.
Not just the company, it also costs the employee, especially if the meeting is not one they think they need not be. We have a lot of people in companies attending meetings they don’t need to attend or ones that they have absolutely nothing to contribute. Many even accept it and even if they do not attend, they just keep their Calendar blocked. What a waste….
The other part of cost is when your meeting is not effective. This cost is incurred by both company and the attendees. Some meetings give you more value that others. And the question is does your company have a method to gauge the effectiveness of a meeting. Does it ask people to find if their meetings are effective, the one they run, the one they participate and the one they just show up but don’t contribute.
Don’t you think Companies should start evaluating the effectiveness of meetings? Not just companies, even you should, if you are part of it. Just to get a sense of how effective is your time being utilized.
Let us take a scenario. Say you need to get an agreement from 9 people. The first thing is that getting a slot on 10 (Very Important) people’s calendar is a pain, next, getting anything done with 10 people (including you) is not easy.
Some people tune into a waking sleep as soon as they see there are more than 3 people and if you wake them up for something, then on they won’t allow anyone else to speak. So we have lot of personalities in play.
The question is how do we avoid this. Would it be more effective and cheaper if we do meetings with only 3 or 4 people and then bring others on the same page through emails and other modes of communications. Or may be do the meeting after you create enough momentum to cruise through. It is all in the planning.
Forget about the Company cost. I think if you are the one trying to arrange and run the meetings , it would be really eye opening for you to create a simple matrix to gauge the effectiveness of your meeting.
It can be as simple as something like the one below. You can try your own way of collecting similar data and checking your meetings for next few weeks and see the insights. It is fun.
The above matrix is not real, it is made-up. But you can try making yours.