While it's true that meetings are often necessary to keep people up to date, some meetings can be a real waste of time. And since time is money, we really ought to keep track of how much money we waste on meetings. But how can we do this?
The people at Harvard Business Review sought to answer exactly that question. To that end, they've recently developed a quick and simple tool to estimate the monetary costs of any meeting.
The browser app does this by multiplying the man-hours a meeting takes with the estimated salaries of each attendee. The thinking is that whenever a worker is forced to be away from their desks, that worker is not exactly doing 100% what they were hired to do, translating to them being paid for 'nothing', thus losing the company money.
To test out their math for yourself, open up the web app in a new browser tab and type out how long the meeting is, how many people are in attendance, and their estimated salaries and the app lets you know in US dollars how much that meeting cost. The tool is even available for download in the form of a small app for your smart devices.
How Does This Help?
Knowing the monetary cost of a meeting can help in several ways. If it's your job to coordinate these meetings in the first place, you may be more motivated to make the meetings more efficient or help people spend less time in them.
You may even use the estimates to convince decision-makers on whether or not to have the meetings at all. If you're just a regular worker bee, you can better understand the value of your time in meetings which can help you be more a more effective member in the meeting rooms.
Avoid Wasting Time and Money Through Meetings
Of course, the real bad guy here aren't meetings themselves. It's the practice of having ineffective meetings. Should you discover that your company or department is wasting too much money on meetings, here are some principles to remember to keep your meetings brief, concise, and to the point.
- Make the meeting purpose clear and send an agenda out ahead of time;
- Manage the flow of discussion and keep unrelated comments to a minimum;
- Send out a follow-up email after the meeting that lists next steps, who’s responsible for them, and when they’ll get done.
- Feel obliged to invite lots of people — only include those who are critical to making progress;
- Move on to a new topic until everyone is on the same page;
- Let the group get too distracted by tangents — ask if you can address unrelated topics another time.
By using these tips and the estimation tool above, we hope we can save you, your department or your company a lot of time, headache, effort, as well as money on boring ineffective meetings.
Do you have any other tips on being more effective in the office? Do share them with us in the comments section down below!