Making Your Meetings Count

Meetings: Wasted Time and Productivity

Meetings consume a substantial chunk of the workday. For example, the National Statistics Council found that 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings. Yet, almost half (47 percent) believe, of all of their daily activities, meetings are the biggest waste of time. This is more than social media and even email!

When you begin to do the math, it becomes patently obvious that your meetings need to be fully optimized and run at maximum efficiency. Unproductive meetings and inclusion of participants who aren’t needed directly impact bottom-line results. Consider the following for a company of 10 employees who spend 37 percent of their time in meetings. Assuming half of those meetings are a waste of time and an average employee salary of $60,000 annually (a conservative number), you’re squandering $111,000 a year, or over 10 percent of what you’re paying employees!

6 Recommendations to Improve Your Meetings

The upside is that there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your meetings are productive and participants stay engaged:

  1. Attendees. Only include those who can actively contribute to meeting’s objective and desired outcomes. Employees who simply need to be kept in the loop likely aren’t needed in the meeting. If a key contributor isn’t available, then reschedule the meeting to a time when everyone can attend.
  1. Clear Objective and Preparation. Everyone involved in the meeting, starting with the meeting invite, need to be clear on the objective(s) and what will be discussed and even decided. If participants need to review proposals or other content beforehand or prepare talking points, this needs to be communicated with ownership assigned.
  1. Q&A. Make sure you include sufficient time for Q&A and “sidebar” discussions. The rule of thumb would be at least 15 percent of the meeting should be dedicated to these issues. Participants will feel more empowered, and they may unearth important issues that add significant value or avert potential problems in the future.
  1. Moderated Listening. Meeting moderators should spend about 25 percent of the time talking and the remaining 75 percent listening. Attendees need to assume the same stance; no one should dominate the conversation and moreover all should be diligent to avoid meandering conversations that are off topic or do not contribute to the meeting’s objective.
  1. Rat Holes. Set up a parking lot for issues that are outside the scope of the meeting. Meetings quickly devolve and get off track when discussions go down rat holes that unproductive and have no potential for resolution.
  1. Roles and Responsibilities. A DACI (driver, approvers, contributors, informed) model should be employed for every company project. This ensures that everyone knows her or his role and responsibilities. A DACI model proves quite effective for meeting management as well.

Making Your Meetings Fun

In addition to the above, you can do some “fun” things that actually promote attendee engagement and make your meetings more productive. The following are a few ideas:

  1. For those who show up late, you have them sing a song as their recompense.
  2. Incur $5 pizza party contribution from the moderator when a meeting runs over.
  3. For reoccurring meetings, shift the responsibility for meeting minutes between attendees.
  4. Start your meetings at odd times (e.g., 9:49 AM). This will help ensure that you get them started on time.
  5. Begin every meeting by giving participants a chance to vocalize their key successes or challenges for the week.
  6. Kick off the meeting with a fun activity that puts everyone at ease. Could be anything such as answering questions on current affairs, naming their favorite restaurant and dish, identifying the most useful content asset they received in the past month, etc.

Davinci Meeting Rooms

Not every business has the right meeting room space in their offices for meetings, and some may not have a permanent office space. In other instances, some meetings occur outside of the office or within a region where you don’t have adequate or appropriate meeting room space.

This is where Davinci Meeting Rooms can help. Tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses have turned to Davinci Meeting Rooms over the past decade, which offers more than 4,000 rented meeting rooms—from conference rooms to day offices—in over 1,100 countries in 30-plus countries. Find out more by downloading the Solutions Guide: “Davinci Meeting Rooms: Your Meeting, Your Way, Anywhere.”

Patrick Spencer

Patrick Spencer

Patrick Spencer (Ph.D.) is the President and Founder of TIRO Communications that helps companies develop, build, and manage content, customer, advocacy, and demand-gen programs. Included in its offerings is TIRO Cognition Insights, a data analytics tool that enables B2C and B2B businesses to pinpoint what their customers and competitors’ customers are saying and to identify corresponding actionable product, services, competitive, sales, and marketing intelligence. LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn Website:

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