The most common complaints I hear from people about meetings are:
- Lack of focus and clear agenda
- Time wasting
- Ineffectual discussions
- Repetitive topics
- Lack of engagement
- Unnecessary attendance
- Poor time management
- Lack of preparation
- Lack of follow-up and action items
- Virtual meeting fatigue
- Overabundance of meetings
It’s important to note that these statistics provide a general sense of the issue, and the extent of time wasted on meetings can vary from organization to organization. The key takeaway is that unproductive meetings are a significant concern for many professionals and businesses, and efforts to improve meeting efficiency and effectiveness can lead to substantial gains in productivity and employee satisfaction.
Meetings Waste Time and Money When Not Effective
There’s good reason for the common complaints, as research shows that executives spend an average of 23 hours per week in meetings. Evidence shows that over 33% of that time feels wasted to management — either as unnecessary or poorly used. With these numbers, over two months of an executive’s time is spent in meetings, per year. With an estimated cost of $1,000 per hour for several company managers to meet at one time, it’s not surprising that an estimated $37 billion is wasted, per year, on poorly planned meetings. Wasting time on irrelevant issues and a general lack of focus from employees are two key, telltale signs that you are not planning effective meetings. The cause of ineffective meetings is really no mystery.
Since coordinating activities are essential, setting effective meetings could be the difference between achievement and profitability or failure and dissatisfaction in your organization. Despite the critical need for effective meetings, only 25% of managers and executives have ever received formal training on how to conduct a meeting.
Training for Meetings is Key to Effectiveness
Most organizations that have conducted “meetings training” indicate significant improvements in the effectiveness of their meetings and an overall performance improvement. One reason why meetings training has such an impact is that meetings are a very public display of activities. The actions and behaviors of planning and conducting an effective meeting can be experienced by many people. When training is conducted, the new vocabulary of meeting effectiveness moves through the organization quickly. Improved meeting behaviors socialize rapidly throughout groups and teams as individuals experience and talk about what’s happening in meetings. Expectations rise as more and more people experience the difference in good meeting behavior and the outcomes delivered. Soon, the entire organization understands what makes for an effective meeting, becomes aware of those practices happening in real time, and begins to gain accountability and make intentional adjustments along the way.