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Some bosses gather their staff for a meeting every week. Others do so every day. Such meetings are helpf..." />

Manage Your Meetings

Date: 10/01/2012

Some bosses gather their staff for a meeting every week. Others do so every day. Such meetings are helpful with communication but can be very costly and counterproductive. Some general managers schedule a general meeting with all their department heads.

Not everyone is interested or concerned with every topic. The agenda for meetings should only include those subjects that the attendee needs to know about. Otherwise, the time spent could be otherwise used more productively.

The next time you go to a meeting add up the per hour salaries of those attending. It could amount to one thousand dollars or more. If so, daily hour-long meetings would cost your organization several hundred thousand a year, weekly meetings around fifty thousand.

The opportunity cost, what could be achieved by doing something more profitable, could be much higher.

The frequency of the meetings or those in attendance are not the only factors that involve unnecessary cost. The length of time for each meeting is a problem, also. Making sure that there is a planned agenda and that the chairman controls the discussions by strictly keeping to the agenda limits the excessive cost of wasted time.

Starting meetings on time rather than waiting for stragglers is important. You don’t want expensive managers sitting around waiting for the tardy.

Many of the ideas mentioned here about internal meetings also apply to discussions with suppliers. Buyers should limit the amount of time spent with each supplier. They should avoid small talk. They should get to the point and insist that salespeople be brief. They should prepare an agenda and have it ready to discuss particular problems. Meetings with salespeople should be planned ahead of time and any needed data ready so that additional meetings may not be necessary to discuss the same issues.

The message here is that use of your time is a cost and must be treated as such. Make notes and keep a record of what you gained from each meeting. If you gained nothing, the meeting was a waste. Correct the problem by better planning. Try publishing the cost of each meeting.