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Meetings Costing Companies Millions

Meetings are meant to be an engine of productivity in the workplace, but what’s meant to be an efficient way for people to get together to discuss ideas, debate issues, overcome obstacles and drive outcomes, often does not turn out like that at all. The truth is that many meetings end up being about as valuable as a Snapchat post – people talk, the ideas quickly disappear into the ether with no outcomes or follow up.

In the past, meetings were a sign of productivity and success. These days, meetings are labelled as a waste of time and companies are avoiding having them as much as possible.

More than $37 billion per year is lost in the USA alone on unproductive meetings according to research compiled by online meeting service provider Fuze. This research further show that executives consider more than 67% of meetings to be failures, yet there are 25 million meetings per day in the USA alone.

From another perspective, businesses can’t simply stop having meetings all together. Instead, they have to make them more productive. Factors that make meetings unproductive may include the following:

  • Lack of organization

  • Lack of preparation

  • Multi-tasking (checking emails, messages and distractions during a meeting)

Avoiding these downfalls is a lot easier than you think. What makes a meeting successful is not what happens during the actual time spent together. What’s more important is creating a plan for the meeting beforehand and sticking to it.


What are the major causes of unproductive meetings:

  • Multitasking

    • 92% of survey respondents confessed to multitasking during meetings

    • 41% admitted to multitasking “often” or “all the time”

    • 69% admitted to checking mail

    • 49% admitted to doing unrelated work

  • Remote participants aren’t engaged

    • It can be hard for remote participants to follow along, stay engaged and feel like they can contribute

    • In fact 80% of messages we receive comes from body language – sometime that is hard to pick up when you are on the phone.

  • Lack of planning and structure:

    • Facilitating effective meetings is a skill that can be learned and honed. Considering the amount of time we spend in meetings, more companies should invest in improving meeting effectiveness.

  • Lack of accountability

All meetings should be planned with individuals that are accountable for the meeting and responsible individuals must prepare for each agenda point. The meeting outcome should drive actions with clear accountability and responsibility for each action.

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