Business meetings are where decisions by key people and stakeholders take place.
That said, business meetings are a tremendous waste of time and money. The London School of Economics and Harvard Business School reports that executives spend 18 hours a week on meetings according to Forbes.
That is almost half of their entire work week! However, the problem is not just confined with the higher-ups.
Employees also face the same conundrum—47 percent of those surveyed consider having too many meetings like an obstacle to their work productivity.
But what makes business meetings a time vacuum is not the topics for discussions, it's the process. Improving how business meetings run will be everybody much more productive at work. However, this is not always the case. To help businesses make the most out of their meetings, they need to pinpoint the exact reasons why meetings are such time-wasters.
Related Article: Meeting Mania: How to Curb this Corporate Addiction
Fact # 1
“The average time participants spend to prepare for, travel to, and attend this in-person meeting involving five people is 53 hours and 24 minutes.” - Meetings in America: A Verizon Conferencing White Paper
Meetings eat up time that you could have spent finishing a task instead of prepping, but the biggest time-waster in preparing for a meeting is the travel time.
Going from one place to another to conduct your meeting is a waste of time. More importantly, it is a waste of resources. Imagine the hours and amount spent on your gas and taxi tab to attend a meeting that will only take a couple of minutes to finish!
The Fix: Meetings are becoming more wasteful, considering that you can conduct one in the comfort of your home.
A tool like ClickMeeting lets you set up or attend a virtual meeting in a remote location. No need to travel from one place to another – all you need is a laptop and an internet connection, and you are good to go!
Aside from being able to attend or hold a meeting from a remote location, ClickMeeting lets you moderate a Q&A session after the meeting and hold a video or audio conference.
Regarding the latter, participants can connect via phone or VoIP. This is important especially if your location has an unreliable internet connection. You can just join the meeting via the phone instead so keep up with the agenda.
This makes meetings much more efficient as it cuts down the prep time and the resources spent on attending a face-to-face meeting.
"Ineffective meetings, unclear objectives, and lack of team communication are the top three time-wasters." - Microsoft Office Survey
At the heart of every ineffective meeting is improper preparation. Despite hours of time spent on doing the legwork prior to meetings, there are still things that slip through the crack.
The bigger issue is not being able to set the meeting agenda and relay the information to the team. As a result, people do not have any clear idea why a meeting is taking place.
Fix: A solution to this issue is Solid, a tool that lets you organize your agenda, tasks, and decision in one fell swoop.
All information about your upcoming and finished meetings syncs in your Google Calendar. The tool then analyzes the information and delivers notifications straight to your email on what needs to be done.
Solid also show the time left for your meetings, and the items up for discussion. This ensures that your meeting is running on time.
You can show the interface of Solid on a projector so attendees can see the agenda and get a bigger picture of what the meeting is all about and why they attended it.
Related Article: Can You Run a Business Entirely From Your Phone?
"It takes 57 Google searches for people to research before a meeting." - Charlie
Another problem that people encounter before attending meetings is their inability to profile the people they will meet during the meeting. As a result, they do not get to address the people in the room properly or know their company roles.
More importantly, the meetings become a missed opportunity for individuals to connect not just on a business level, but also on a personal one. What if you share the same hobbies as the person you are meeting?
Fix: Charlie is a desktop and iOS app that combs through 100,000 online sources about the people and companies you are meeting.
With just a few clicks of a button, you will receive a comprehensive report about them. See publications that mention the person, the latest blog posts, common passions, and more.
Best of all, you can receive the report minutes before the meeting will be taking place. This tool is perfect for busy people who need information handed to them in an instant. Charlie is also an excellent outreach tool that allows you to connect with people on a more personal level. This could lead to more productive and efficient meetings.
Business meetings are problematic when organizers do not know how to set proper meetings.
Hopefully, the tools featured in this post will help you organize a productive meeting that cuts down the time and helps you get more things done.