Do You Know the Real Costs of Bad Meetings?

It seems almost everyone has suffered through bad meetings at one point or another: meetings without an agenda, meetings that don’t result in anything, meetings that rehash old topics, meetings that meander and run late, meetings with no clear objective, meetings that lead to more meetings, meetings that happen just because…


Research over the past decade has shown that meetings have become a significant problem for most organizations. We highlight three major negative impacts below.


#1. Unproductive meetings are financially costly


In a previous post 6 Resources on Meetings – the Good, Bad and Ugly, we shared an infographic by TED. Given the powerful data it shows on meetings, we thought it was worth sharing again.



Questions for reflection:


  • How much do meetings cost your organization?

  • How much could you save with more productive meetings?


#2. Poor meetings contribute to an unhealthy organizational culture


William R. Daniels, senior consultant at American Consulting & Training, says it beautifully in a Fast Company article, “Meetings matter because that's where an organization's culture perpetuates itself.” When meetings are seen as a distraction from the ‘real work’, they promote feelings of stress and frustration about the person’s work, their colleagues and their company.


Research highlighted in The Payoffs and Penalties of Holding Meetings says


“the biggest benefit of having a good meeting is not having a bad one — because the negative effects of bad meetings on employee satisfaction, team productivity, and company performance are much more dramatic than the positive impact of good sessions.”


Questions for reflection:


  • What do your meetings say as a reflection of your organization’s culture?

  • Is this what you want it to be?


#3. Inefficient meetings restrict the overall success of the company


Time is our most valuable company resource and yet we let meetings squander it. According to the HBR article Your Scarcest Resource,


“data suggest that most companies have an opportunity to liberate at least 20% of their collective hours by bringing greater discipline to time management.”


Questions for reflection:


  • How are meetings holding your organization back?

  • What could you achieve with 20% more time in your workweek?


Be part of the change


More and more individuals and companies are recognizing that the pains and losses from poor meetings can be solved. Effective meetings start with shifting the current mindset so meetings are seen as a critical aspect of collaboration where real work happens. Putting this into practice requires the discipline to apply good meeting practices and hold others accountable.


How are you going to help your team make this shift? We welcome your ideas!


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