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How screwing up a meeting could cost you $23,760

How screwing up a meeting could cost you $23,760

Ever felt like you have way too many meetings and can’t find time to actually do your job? That same job that meetings are supposed to help you do, not prevent you from doing?

We all know the problem: you spend so much time in meetings that it takes up all your working time, giving you no time to actually do what you’re supposed to do. There are, on a daily basis, 25 millions meetings in America.

Those meetings force you to make up for lost time on your personal time, and that really is not good for anyone.

Breaking news: Your employees hate meetings

47% of all workers actually think that meetings are the main time-waster at the office.

The real problem is not the meetings per se. The actual issue is the amount of meetings we all get, multiplied by their unproductivity! Indeed, it only takes 11 minutes for someone’s attention to drift in a meeting, making it impossible to really follow and participate in a long one.

A meeting could make you lose $23,760

Well-organized meetings have a real value. They stimulate dialogue, create fresh thinking and move the business forward. The discipline to conduct them effectively must be developed as a core competency of your team. (…) A successful meeting ensures the right people are invited and the material is presented as effectively and judiciously as possible.” – Christopher Frank

As considered in his article, the weekly cost of meetings for a 10-person team is approximately $23,760. Impressive, isn’t it? 

You NEED to consider as well the amount you spend there before throwing another useless, unproductive meeting.

It costs MONEY, money you should spend wisely.

I don’t mean to say you should abolish meetings. Those are a real investment if well organized, and they could be a time and money saver.

As Frank implies, there are ways to organize your meeting in order to make it efficient. But there are also tools to help you in your task!

money count

Multitasking doesn’t work!

Almost everyone admits to multitasking during meetings. But it has been proven that there is a 40% drop in productivity when you multitask and a 50% spike in errors!

In terms of multitasking, we’re all guilty! But we really shouldn’t allow ourselves to do so. Why? Because it has a cost…

We just can’t focus anymore.  It only takes 1 minute and 15 seconds to get distracted in our task, mostly excused by people by saying that they are “multitasking”. The problem is that it takes 25 minutes to properly reconnect! Imagine how unproductive it can get in a meeting?

 

Multitasking

To avoid multitasking during meetings, there are a couple of solutions that could help you:

First, if not necessary, forbid all smartphones, computers or tablets during the meeting. If the people attending it won’t need them, there’s no use in tempting them with those devices.

Another way to avoid multitasking is to make video conference meetings. It has been shown that only 4% of people will multitask while on a video conference, as opposed to 57% during a phone conference call, for example. Video conferences will increase your productivity and the impact of discussions, but it will also allow you to take quick decisions!

How to organize an efficient meeting!

There are a few tips that could help you plan your meeting properly, and make it as efficient as possible. Here are the ones you NEED to consider before holding the meeting:

  1. Define your purpose – Is it a decision-making meeting in order to find a solution? Then you don’t need new information or additional analysis. Is it an information-sharing meeting? Then the attendees don’t need to prepare for it, as only the presenter will talk, and everyone else will listen, most of the time. Or is it a brainstorming meeting? Then people should come up with ideas and creative people should definitely be attending!
  2. Define the issue in five words or less, if possible. It will allow your attendees to focus on the main subject and will give them a much clearer understanding of the purpose of their attendance at your meeting.
  3. Ask yourself “Who has already weighed in and what did they have to say about it?”. It will prevent you from revisiting previous conversations and will move the dialogue forward.
  4. Then again, ask yourself “What will surprise me in this meeting?”. Asking the question in a meeting will stimulate new discussion paths and uncover fresh learning. It will prevent all meaningless conversations and expose new learning.
  5. Bonus – You have to email an agenda 24 hours in advance to all attendees. It will remind them what to focus on. Then, quite obvious but not so easy to put in practice, start and end ON TIME. Don’t lose the precious first 5 minutes of the meeting waiting for people! Then, as previously mentioned, you need to leave your attendees’ devices at the door. If they won’t need them for the meeting, then they shouldn’t have them. Finally, keep focus and follow-up by email within 24 hours as a reminder to the attendees.

Improve your social skills

People tend to think that if a meeting has failed, it is most likely because of its host. Well no, it isn’t the case. Sometimes it is, but the attendees need to start taking their responsibilities when involved in a meeting.

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People need to work on a few social aspects while attending a meeting, in order to keep it calm and in good conditions. Here are some reminders on how to handle situations while attending a meeting:

  • Be patient. Easier said than done. But still, you need to remain attentive to what’s going on and listen to the conversations held around the table. Even if you disagree or if you think people talk too much, you need to be patient. Your turn to talk will come. This also involves not being judgmental. Don’t judge a person just because you don’t agree. Besides, everyone is allowed to make mistakes.
  • Listen for something new. Stop listening through the filter of your own personal interest, and start listening to what people have to say. Great ideas that you never thought of might come up. You’ll have the opportunity to listen to someone else’s point of view.
  • Be a focused speaker. Be clear, concise, relevant and respectful. And if you don’t have anything to say that would add value, don’t talk, nobody obliges you to. Start listening.
  • Don’t interrupt people. If you get interrupted, let the person finish his or her comment and then resume yours. Don’t make a fuss about it, and talk about it later, after the meeting, not during. You may just say, while the person interrupts you, “if you don’t mind, I’d like to finish my sentence and then get your opinion about my idea”. Keep it professional.

Use the best tools you can get out there to plan a meeting 

To help you organize and plan your meetings properly, there are a few existing tools. Here are some you could use to avoid drowning in meetings:

  • QuickBase – P&G eliminated 18-24 days of meetings per person per annum using it. Intuit QuickBase serves as a central repository for project data and activities. Since implementing QuickBase, P&G has made significant operational cost savings, achieved better productivity and more confidence in the speed and accuracy of project data.
    quickbase
  • Doodle – It may seem obvious, but it is a really effective way to plan a meeting considering everyone’s availabilities.
    Doodle_Logo
  • GoToMeeting – If what you need is a video conference, then this is the tool (besides Skype)! It is an easy web conferencing and online meeting tool allowing you to organize web conferences with up to 25 attendees.
    gotomeeting
  • MightyBell – You can quickly ask everyone involved for available dates and times, then seamlessly schedule the meeting and send out invites. You can even create a Mightybell circle if you consistently schedule meetings with the same group of people. And all members can use the tool to organize future meetings, post relevant information or simply chat with each other.
    mightybell

 

You’re now all set to organize proactive and meaningful meetings!

Just remember: No problem? No meeting!

About Camille Petteau

Camille est étudiante à l'IHECS. Passionnée par le marketing, la publicité, la photographie et la cuisine.