How to stop wasting time (and money) in unproductive meetings

Getting meetings right can really boost your productivity and make for a more motivated workforce – here’s how to supercharge them

Meetings have a bad reputation for time wasting.
A recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that senior executives are spending more than 40% of their working week either in or planning meetings.
Meanwhile, one organisation was found to be spending the equivalent of $15 million a year on a single weekly meeting with mid-level managers. Not cost effective at all.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If unproductive meetings are enough to send you to sleep and you’re worried about them hitting you in the pocket, there are a few steps you can follow to make them less of a bugbear for everyone involved.
The Highland Room at the Vine Conference Centre
First of all, you can work out how much (roughly) each meeting is costing you by considering the employees involved and multiplying their hourly rate by the average duration of the meeting. Do this for everyone in attendance and you’ll soon start to get a clearer picture of the overall cost.
For example, three employees paid at National Living Wage at £7.50 plus a member of management at the equivalent of £35 per hour in a two-hour meeting would cost £115. This might not sound like much to a mid-sized or larger firm but it can soon add up for smaller businesses, especially if it’s something they’re doing every day.
To avoid paying out unnecessarily, ask yourself whether the meeting itself is really necessary or could it be condensed into another catch-up later in the week. And don’t forget to add the cost of meeting room hire, refreshments and travel if your meetings or training are held outwith the office.
Getting meetings right can really boost your productivity and make for a more motivated workforce. There are other ways to save money too.
Look for a good venue, for example, which can help you to make savings and can throw in the extras for free, such as parking, refreshments and equipment. You might even be able to negotiate a deal by booking a block of meetings or engaging in some sort of contra deal.
The HIghland Room at the Vine Conference Centre
Next, supercharge your meetings and speed them up by having a clear agenda at the outset and focus on what you want to achieve. Make sure you have all the subject points noted down in bullet point form to keep you on track and to avoid deviating from the subject at hand. Go in focused and positive to help your team feel the same and inspire them to want to take action as soon as they leave the room.
Try to streamline your meetings if you can. Allocate a strict duration and stick to it – something that’s a lot harder to do when you’re holding meetings in-house and there’s no immediate rush to vacate the boardroom.
Here are some other tips:
  • Just because you’ve booked the meeting room for two hours doesn’t mean you have to drag it out over two hours if you manage to cover the essentials a lot quicker. Don’t feel obliged to talk for two hours when you’re actually done and dusted. Instead, give yourselves a pat on the back for being so productive and just book the meeting room for an hour next time.
  • Look out for great meeting room offers, such as ours here.
  • Make sure to share the agenda with all your delegates so that everyone is literally on the same page and less likely to stray off track. Send it in advance to give everyone a chance to think about their input to speed things up on the day.
  • Be sure to start your meetings on time to avoid them running over or incurring extra costs.
  • Make sure you have invited the right people to the right meetings and save money by eliminating anyone who isn’t fundamental to the discussion.
  • Don’t end your meeting without a clear ‘call to action’. Everyone needs to have a firm idea of what the next steps are, what’s expected of them, what they must personally do next and a set timeframe.
You might also like > Scheduling meetings effectively when you’re self-employed

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The Vine Conference Centre is available for conferences, meetings, concerts, product launches and events of all types and sizes. Whether your group needs space for a single meeting or multiple rooms for a conference, its versatility means the team can accommodate your requirements in an atmosphere of professionalism and attention to detail. The venue has FREE on-site parking for up to 100 cars, with ample free public parking only minutes away from the venue. It's less than 15 miles from Edinburgh Airport and situated only minutes away from the M90 motorway.