Powerful statistics on costs of meetings

5th June 2015

Authored by Fiona Stratford, Meeting Magic Facilitator

Understanding the costs of meetings helps clarify why meeting facilitation can add value to organisations.

Understanding the costs of meetings helps clarify why meeting facilitation can add value to organisations.

Wow, really???!! I heard some statistics today that got me thinking–managers within businesses spend between 50% and 75% of their time in meetings, with the higher percentage relating to more senior managers and directors.This is interesting in itself but the scary bit is that of those meetings some 42% result in NO action.

So the accountant in me just had to work out some costs relating to this.

If you take an average daily cost to employ a manager at £250 a day and they work 220 days a year then the cost of the ‘no-action meetings’ is £12k each year for each manager.For a senior manager or director the cost is nearer £35k each year for each manager or director.

So let’s imagine a business where there are 100 managers in the earlier part of their careers and 15 or more at the senior level. That is an annual cost to the business of £645k!!

What would be the cost in your business? What is it for you personally? How happy are you for wasting so much of your time?

I have looked here at a hidden or ‘sunk’ cost. And, I can already hear the criticism that it would never produce real cost savings. This may be true. Consider, however, the opportunity-cost involved in this. What would your business be like and how much more would you achieve if all of your meetings resulted in actions that consistently brought business benefits?

Getting close to this is definitely possible but it isn’t as straight forward as it is often thought. It is very easy to imagine that if you have a clear agenda for every meeting with expected outcomes then all will be sorted. I suspect that you know from experience that this is not the case–it helps but it is not the answer.

We are human, after all. Each of us is unique. We make decisions at an emotional level. If we are not feeling connected with others in the meeting what impact does that have? And, conversely, if we are enthused by what we are trying to achieve because we can see why it matters, what impact does that have? How can we play our part when in all likelihood we are mentally elsewhere. My colleague, Katherine Woods, published an article recently that explores this and other related ideas by looking at how conversations support meeting collaboration.

At Meeting Magic we have helped people in business experience and benefit from better meetings in lots of different ways. If you are looking to make a difference in your business then please do get in touch. We’d love to talk to you. Call us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form. We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

To contact Fiona drop her an email or call +44 (0)1628 471 114.