Poorly Run Meetings Drag on the Economy

Poorly run meetings drag economy.

Would 30 billion in cost savings or added productivity make a difference to our lagging economy? I think so.   To get that huge number wouldn’t require a government bailout or an act of Congress. It’s would be much simpler than that, involving ground-up involvement.  Consider these facts.   Each day 11 million meetings take place in the U.. 2.6 billion in a year.  Based on an average salary of $30.00 per hour, the U.S. spends $80 billion on meetings each year,   37.5% of which are considered “poorly run or unnecessary.” Equally $30 billion is wasted on unproductive or poorly run meetings each year.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “If I didn’t have to go to meetings, I’d like my job a lot more.”    In fact, the research supports that notion.  Employee’s perception of meetings mirrors their overall job satisfaction.

Meetings have become the bane of business.  How many of you have gone to a meeting and left asking yourself: “What was the point of that? Why was I invited? Will any actions take place?” Sometimes just getting people to a meeting is a trick in itself.  One company I worked with forced late arrivers to sign a song: incentivize promptness through embarrassment.  Back in the 90s the amount and quality of food offered to employees at Microsoft determined how many people showed up for a meeting: Incentive attendance through food.

Office politics, laziness and avoiding accountability are behind why we have ineffective, boring meetings.  Well-run effective meetings inspire engagement, drive decisions and produce accountability for results.  Here are sound ideas for how to make your meetings engaging and effective:

Meeting Preparation

  • Establish reasonable goals. This will determine the meeting focus, agenda and the meeting participants.
  • Make sure you need a meeting.  Since 65% of all meetings are not called for making decisions, can you accomplish your goals through email, SharePoint or other communication medium?
  • Determine who must attend and what you want their involvement to be: Brainstorming, help making a decision, or providing feedback to an issue or initiative.
  • Distribute reading materials 48 hours in advance. Attach a standard agenda sheet that clarifies the purpose, the desired outcome, who is asked to attend and why and list of reading materials.

During the Meeting

  • Establish and follow meeting code of conduct.
  • Start by reviewing the anticipated outcomes and agenda.
  • Facilitator keeps discussion on track.
  • Avoid PowerPoint presentations at all costs. They distract more then they engage.
  • Involve each participant in the discussion by calling out quieter individuals and limiting airtime for those who easily dominate the conversation.
  • Determine next step actions by clarifying who “owns” the actions and when they are to be completed.

After the Meeting

  • Publish action item list with 24 hours.
  • “Owners” of action items schedule time in their calendar to complete their items.

Since 80% of time in meetings is devoted to less than 20% of company’s long-term value. So, without having to lay people off or cut expenses, companies can see real improvement in productivity by making meetings more effective and engaging.

To get more resources on effective meetings visit: www.MFILeadership.com