What do meetings actually cost?

Business Process Improvement CourseI read an article by Natalie Brooke that appeared in the Huffington post, entitled What’s the Price Tag of Your Office Meetings. Most of us would agree that some are actually necessary.

Clearly certain meetings are extremely necessary, each meeting has an actual cost. What grabbed my attention was her findings during a study of a large community bank’s meeting schedule. The results were staggering. A conservative estimate demonstrated that approximately 3,000 hours were spent in meetings during the year of the study. The hourly compensation and extra expenses totaled approximately $600,000 dollars!

This organization had close to a hundred different types of meetings with some being daily, while others were weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or annually. Although your organization may be substantially smaller, some of Natalie’s recommendations may work for you. If you wish, you can read the original article here.

Here are some recommendations:

Decide if the meeting is necessaryThe first step is of course determining whether the goal can be accomplished via email discussion. If the meeting is purely informative, electronic means of communication will typically suffice.

 Email documents pre-meeting – Email any data or power points at least 30 minutes before the meeting begins for participant review. Instruct attendees to bring laptops, if possible, in order to have the documents accessible during the meeting.

Only invite contributing personnelBe selective and if they are not going to serve a purpose, they should not be there.

Have a firm start and end timePromptly begin the meeting without late comers and don’t allow the meeting to exceed time limits. If the allotted time is absolutely not enough, try electronic communications before scheduling another meeting.

Create an agendaIf the meeting is not important enough to create an agenda, then it is not important enough to schedule. The agenda define the objective, minutes, and action items of the meeting. It should be distributed prior to the meeting.

Have a Chair PersonThe chair person is responsible to manage the time, agenda topics, and taking notes. They are an integral part of effective meetings and may be delegated depending on the size of the meeting.

Begin the meeting with a review of the last meetingBegin the meeting with a brief discussion of the outcome of the last meeting and allow individuals to give updates on their assigned action items. This serves to refresh participants’ memory and allows loose ends to be tied up.

Follow UpFinally, distribute the notes and minutes from the meeting to all attendees. Sufficient technology is available to allow low-cost teleconferencing. This may be feasible for your situation.

Related Articles:   Handling Annoying Team Members   and   Dominant Personalities … of team members!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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