The Excessive Cost of Ineffective Meetings

Ineffective meetings may sound like what you have never had, or perhaps experienced a few times. But that’s most likely wrong. Many studies, research and surveys suggest that between 30 to 50 percent of our meeting times are wasted. Not referring to the bad meetings we know, but all meetings.

It’s totally awkward to believe that most managers and professionals you admire in corporate attire moving from one meeting to another are only wasting at least 30 percent of their time. Bad meetings make professionals lose about 31 hours every month (approximately 4 work days).

Information from Getminute opines that the US firms lose about $37 billion to ineffective meetings annually. That may be difficult to reconcile, but after evaluating meeting cost, time and low productivity associated with ineffective meetings, you would arrive at something more than the estimated damage.

Excessive Cost of Ineffective Meetings

Let’s consider a research by Wolf Management Consultants on Professionals who meet frequently. This will help us to ascertain a slight effect of bad meetings on workplace productivity. The research shows that 95 percent of meeting attendees miss parts of meetings, 73 percent accepted to take other work to meetings, and 39 percent say they have dozed at meetings. What can we see as the benefits or consequences of the high percentages? The author of Death by Meeting, Patrick Lencioni says “bad meetings not only exact a toll on the attendees as they suffer through them, but also cause real human anguish in the form of anger, lethargy, cynicism, and even in the form of lower self-esteem.”

In the weight of low productivity from bad meetings, the following are some notable consequences, if we neglect the meeting cost. Ineffective meetings would:

  • Prolongs action and decision cycles
  • Lower employees engagement and morale
  • Reduce alignment
  • Interrupt employees workflow
  • Generate conflict and resentment geared towards the office management
  • Promote more meetings and re-work
  • Disengage and obfuscate responsibility
  • Steal employee work time
  • Provide inefficient work plan

We can consider some attitudes that lead to bad meetings for our evaluation

  • Late arrivals
  • Doing other work in the meeting
  • Unstructured outline
  • Taking phone calls/texting
  • Filibuster of hijack of meetings
  • No show, no excuse
  • Not participating
  • Eating in the meeting
  • Fighting

Let’s now look at some attributes that can promote the potency of meetings.

  • Provision of agenda that describes the meeting
  • Good time schedule, when all participants would be available
  • When meeting starts in time
  • In line with working agreement
  • When someone presiding the meeting follows the agenda strictly
  • Extension of time for a topic only on an agreement
  • Full participation from every member, with necessary trust and contribute to all topics freely and honestly
  • Closing in time and in an orderly manner
  • Noting summary of the meeting and communicating decisions, actions, and plans shortly after the meeting.

The frequency and cost of ineffective meetings is not a reason to identify meetings as an activity that does not of upholding good productivity.

To forestall the worst impacts and bad meetings, two moves are necessary for every workplace. First, office cultural practices should promote lectures on how to collaborate and meet effectively. It should be a frequently organized lecture to enhance its efficacy. Secondly, all organizations should outline a basic meeting culture or practices which would be adopted in all meetings.

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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