Meetings are a reality of the business world. From the largest company-wide seminar, on down to 15-minute scrums with the people who work on a project you're leading, there's a wide range of ways to exchange ideas with your team. But there are a few things you should know about business mettings that may change the way you conduct them.
1) About $37 Billion Dollars are Spent on Meetings Per Year
Meetings are expensive. According to a study done by the Bureau for Labor Statistics in 1995, Americans spend about that much per year on holding meetings. The average cost of a meeting? $658 for an internal meeting (without travel). Traditional meetings mean losing out on time that the attendees could be using to do something else, so typically, they're reserved for important subjects...or at least they're supposed to be. But in reality, we live in the age of meetings to plan meetings, or meetings about meetings that already happened.
By the way, that $658 price tag on meetings? That's for an internal meeting, when everyone is there. If you need to leave the office by car, the price nearly doubles. Need to leave the office by plane? You're looking at an exponential increase.
2) Most People in Your Meeting Are Doing Other Stuff...or Sleeping
CBS News reported some pretty sobering statistics about what the attendees in your meetings are actually doing. 73% of meeting attendees admitted to doing unrelated work during meetings. It's possible that the previous statistic, about how much meetings cost, could be lower, since it sounds like many people continue doing what they would have been doing if they hadn't been in a meeting, but then another 39% of professionals (including executives) admitted to sleeping in meetings. That's over a third of meeting attendees admitting that they've caught a few moments of shut-eye in a meeting. Not everyone sleeps though...but 91% of professionals will admit to daydreaming, and 96% will admit to missing meetings (certainly always on accident, right?)
That means, by a healthy estimate, that at your average meeting, you're probably lucky to be reaching 10% of the people there, even though you're paying for 100% of them.
3) On Average, Most People Attend About Two Meetings a Day...But It Could Be Less
Another study by Wolf Management Consultants showed that about 50% of the time spent in meetings is entirely useless, usually due to the lack of any kind of agenda or plan regarding the meeting itself. Aimless meetings are, by far, the most vocal complaint most people have about attending meetings. It causes people to speak without any regard for time, repeat things that were said (either in the current meeting, or previous meetings). Not having a roadmap in regards to the purpose and direction of your meeting is one of the biggest signs that you're not holding meetings, you're giving yourselves an excuse to hang out and talk on the company dollar.
4) People Think That Meetings Could Be Improved By Technology
Verizon Business recently did a study that said not only are a full third of meetings unproductive, but that not enough is being done to harness the use of technology in holding them. 89% of people that Verizon polled responded that they believed better technology could improve their meetings. Obviously, while Verizon was more focused on the teleconferencing side of the issue, it stands to be noted that advancements could be made on the collaboration side as well. Too many meetings consist of one or two people doing all the talking, and the rest of the attendees struggling to pay attention. By getting those attendees involved in what the speaker is saying (say, by using a wireless presentation system) you can increase the amount of information flowing out to them, as well as give the speaker an inflow of information at the same time.
How Do I Solve These Problems?
While it's starting to seem like a meeting is generally a bad idea, the opposite is true. You can do a few things to make your meetings run smoother.
- Get an agenda and hand it out beforehand. Meetings run faster and smoother when everyone knows what they're there to discuss.
- Before you call a meeting, ask yourself if you could cover that material in an email instead, or through annother collaborative platform, like a chat program or a Google Doc.
- Think about adding some two-way communication into your meetings. Too many meetings are a speaker talking to a crowd. See what sort of exercises you can run, or problems you can collaboratively solved.
- Think about adding in a hardware collaboration solution that works with your displays. Most modern wireless presentation systems, including wePresent, work with just about any platform, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. wePresent even supports Chromebook!
If you'd like to learn more about wireless presentation, you can get in touch with us about a demonstration, and see exactly how we can get your meetings back in order.