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  • 06.16.10

The Real Cost of Holding a Meeting that Sucks!

A meeting has value only when a decision is made or information is conveyed through the meeting. However, most meetings don’t accomplish either of these purposes. So, while Companies continue to hold twice as many meetings as are necessary, most of them are Meetings That Suck! One reason for this Meetings That Suck Syndrome is that we don’t realize what a sucky meeting really costs.

A meeting has value only when a decision is made or information is conveyed through the meeting. However, most meetings don’t accomplish either of these purposes. So, while Companies continue to hold twice as many meetings as are necessary, most of them are Meetings That Suck! One reason for this Meetings That Suck Syndrome is that we don’t realize what a sucky meeting really costs. However, by calculating a meeting’s true costs, we can see that Meetings That Suck cost more in lost productivity than any ROI they can possibly generate and, hopefully, we will stop the Madness of Meetings That Suck.

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To calculate the direct cost of a meeting, multiply the number of attendees by the attendees’ hourly wages, then multiply that number by the number of hours the meeting lasts. Do this for a 12 month period for all the company’s Meetings That Suck and you may have The Big One.

And while you’ll be unpleasantly surprised at the direct cost of all those meetings, don’t forget the hidden costs of Meetings That Suck. While the next three items can be difficult to determine, to calculate the real cost of every Meeting That Sucks, you have to include the following indirect costs:

1. Cost of Lost Productivity after the Meeting That Sucks or the amount of time it takes attendees to refocus on other tasks after the meeting (my estimate:10% of the time the attendee spends in these meetings).

2. The Lost Opportunity Cost of a Meeting That Sucks is defined as the value of the next best task you couldn’t perform because of the task you did perform attending the Meeting That Sucks. (see Gary Becker’s “Theory of the Allocation of Time”). The Lost Opportunity Cost generated is determined by what each of the attendees would have done with the time they spent in the Meeting That Sucks. (my estimate: loss of 5% of the organization’s total revenue stream).

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3. A Meeting That Sucks is an Energy & Attitude Black Hole, that generates fatigue and negative attitudes when attendees can’t answer the questions “Why was I there?” and “What did we accomplish?” (my estimate: 5% of the organization’s total revenue stream).

Now that you can see how much your Meetings That Suck really cost, it should be a no brainer that every meetings should be as productive and efficient as possible. Tips about eliminating Meetings That Suck in next week’s Morning Mantra.

Paul Glover – a “Certified Grand Master Manipulator of Time”

To read what I have to say about Productivity during the WorkQuake™ go to trainingeverydayleaders.com

P.S. I love this machine! Input the number of attendees and their average salary and the display on the TIM (Time is Money) Meeting Cost Calculator & Clock shows the dollars being eaten up by the meeting in real time. The next best thing to having me there!

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