How to Make Meetings Pay for Themselves

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I remember when I worked for a midsize university how heavily my supervisor’s time was occupied by meetings. There were days that she literally went from one meeting to the next from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Were many of these meetings really necessary? They probably were not. Typically, when an organization has an excessive amount of meetings, it means the structure of the organization will not allow for much independent decision making.

Meetings are one of the biggest drains on most managers’ and employees’ time. When you stop to think how much they are actually costing the organization or company, it can be mind boggling. One rule of thumb is to multiply the number of people in the room times the hourly salary they are earning, times the number of hours spent in the meeting. Using that formula, it is easy to see how costly meetings can be. If you are a manager, supervisor or business owner who would like to make the meetings you organize pay for themselves, read on.

First, define the purpose of each meeting and communicate to the participants your expectations of the results. By giving them clear expectations, you will make it easier for them to produce them.

Next, avoid using meetings to diffuse the responsibility of what actually needs to be accomplished. Decide in advance if certain responsibilities can be delegated to a specific team or individual. By using that approach, you will reduce the bottlenecks that prevent good ideas from becoming implemented in your organization.

Finally, set a time limit on how long the meeting will last. Start and stop on time. By allowing only so much time to be spent on each part of the agenda, you build in accountability for results. It is like the concept that an activity will take as much time as you give it.

So, there you have it. Implement these suggestions in your next meeting and make your meetings pay for themselves.

Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. He helps companies and organization become more profitable by increasing their value and lowering their costs through the professional development of their managers and employees.

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