It’s a common problem – feeling like your time has been wasted by attending a meeting. In fact, as many as 25% of weekly meetings are described as wasted time.
That’s a massive:
- 4 wasted hours per week
- 208 wasted hours per year
- 6,240 wasted hours in a thirty-year career…nearly three whole years!
Needless to say, that’s a lot of time that could have been better spent elsewhere. And if that’s just for us as individuals – what does it mean for businesses?
The scary reality is that inefficient meetings cost UK businesses an average of £1,768 per employee, per year. The larger the meeting, the more serious the problem, with The Harvard Business Review finding that one company’s weekly executive committee meeting was costing 300,000 manhours a year.
The financial cost incurred through travel to and from face-to-face meetings, accomodation and expenses can also be staggering, with businesses potentially spending further thousands of pounds per person. As a whole, ineffective meetings are costing the UK economy up to £30 billion per year.
But how can we truly make a change? How can L&D help reduce the amount of time our people are wasting in meetings, and make teams more productive? Here are three ways that can really make an impact.
Help people choose the right type of meeting
People are busy. As pressure increases to accomplish more and more during each working day, it’s important our people are efficient and accomplish goals quickly. This means they need meetings to be delivered in the most effective way possible, minimising their need to travel or otherwise waste time. So, what are your options?
Well, the increased popularity of agile working combined with improved technology makes businesses less reliant on traditional face-to-face meetings. And, while they still have a place in business, consider whether a telephone or virtual meeting could be just as effective. This may be an opportunity for L&D to upskill people on the use and delivery of virtual meetings and conference calling.
Give people the tools to create a useful agenda
Obviously, meeting participants need information and time to prepare in order to contribute effectively to meetings. Despite this, up to 30% of UK professionals say that they regularly attend meetings without being provided with an agenda. This is hugely frustrating, as planning an informative agenda is an important stage in preparing for an effective meeting.
If L&D can provide their people with the skills and tools to create a useful agenda, and highlight the importance of having one in place, meeting structures will be more efficient and you’ll no doubt see a reduction in wasted hours.
Enable people to give meaningful feedback
It’s important to collect feedback from the meetings which you conduct. This helps you understand what was effective, what can be improved and can also encourage other participants to analyse their own performance in the meeting.
L&D have an opportunity here to enable people to give feedback. Give them the skills and confidence to be assertive and constructive in their feedback, creating opportunities for continuous improvement, in and out of meetings.
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Of course, there are pros and cons to each of these, and not every option will work for every company. But L&D can make a real difference to organisational performance and impact the bottom line by upskilling people appropriately. Imagine reducing the time wasted in meetings by 50% or making them more productive to achieve better outcomes. The potential savings are huge.
We take a look at these in much more detail, guiding you through the pros and cons of all of the options and providing some useful top tips in our brand-new guide – Making Meetings Work.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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