How expensive are your meetings?

Meetings often become standard routine — without taking a closer look at what they achieve and how much they cost.

Like any business expenditure, whether it’s for inventory or a machinery upgrade, the benefit must outweigh the cost.

And meetings cost a lot.

Often times it’s more than we think.

The Harvard Business Review shared recently that, “In a study of time budgeting at large corporations, Bain & Company found that a single weekly meeting of midlevel managers was costing one organisation $15M a year!”.

Seems unbelievable, right?

Well, expensive meetings happen even at the smallest companies.

So how can we determine the cost of our meetings?

While many aspects play into whether or not a meeting is successful from a financial perspective, a few key components can be measured.

Meeting costs to consider

Some aspects of a meeting are costly, while others are generally small.

Here’s a list of common elements that contribute to the large price tag on meetings:

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]Employee time:[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″]Consider the hourly rate, or calculated hourly rate from a salary, for each person attending the meeting. Multiple the rates by the number of hours spent in the meeting. In most every case, this is a meeting’s largest expense.[/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]Materials:[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″]Calculate costs like the printing of agendas and meeting notes. You can even include a cost percentage of the larger materials at use, such as a projector screen or tablets.[/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]Refreshments:[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″]If you cater meals, snacks, or beverages to your meetings, add those into your expenses.[/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]Overhead:[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″]Some companies use consultants and outside talent to assist with meetings, especially for process improvement or new program implementation. Be sure to capture these costs, including any paid travel expenses.[/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]Opportunity costs:[/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″]In addition to the attendees’ wages, you may also need to consider opportunity costs. For example, what is the amount of sales lost by a salesman attending a meeting? The productivity lost should be balanced or overpowered by important decisions or processes discussed in the meeting.[/vc_column][/vc_row]


Cost vs. Gains

Determining an estimated cost of your meetings gives you an indication of how much is being spent.

With this in perspective, you can begin to determine if your meetings are worthwhile, based on the expenses and outcomes you are seeing.

Ask yourself a few questions.

  • Do your meetings improve processes which in turn save you substantial money?
  • Do you find important momentum and key decision making during your meetings?
  • Or do your meetings reflect a more general discussion without much precision?

Though you won’t always be able to pinpoint a dollar amount of benefit from your meetings, looking at them through a financial lense helps you determine if your meetings offer more value than expense.

Want to make your meetings more meaningful and financially advantageous?

Utilise an agenda — each and every time.

“Most meetings are ineffective because the agenda is unclear and the participants are too focused on the political dynamics in the room rather than on being part of the solution to the problem,” shares Glenn Llopis in a recent Forbes article.


Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!