How to Glean Useful Data About Your Business Meetings

One of the aspects of the everyday goings-on in the office that tend to get overlooked is the large number of meetings that can happen in one day. Though they are absolutely essential in some cases, your employees might actually be wasting a lot of time running to and from meeting venues if they are not sure of the end goal they themselves want to achieve.

The Current Numbers: How Many Hours a Day Go to Conferences?

According to statistics from Atlassian, the average employee ends up having to attend at least 62 meetings each month. That adds up to a whopping 744 meetings each year. In that same article, Atlassian notes that there are at least 31 hours are allotted to unproductive meetings in any given month. If you multiply that by, say, a hundred employees in a company, you will see that an astonishing 3,100 hours are being flushed down the drain by meetings nobody even has to hold. Perhaps those thousands of hours are fine, though, because surely at least something of value is being accomplished in each and every conversation? Unfortunately, the respondents of that survey all agreed that half of all of those meetings they have in a year are just a waste of their time.

Solving the Issue

Before anything else, you will need to gather useful data about each and every meeting that your employees are conducting and attending. But how do you do that? You could do it the old-fashioned way, with stopwatches, attendance sheets, and handwritten minutes of the meeting. If you want to go digital, then you may be able to find a few free services online, such as this Meeting Cost Calculator by Harvard Business Review.

Going Digital

But to make things easier on everybody, it would make more sense to invest in some sort of technology that can collate everything for you. You could try a service like BlueJeans that provides data about video communications,keeping track of things such as who attends what meetings, what devices they tend to use, and how the quality of their call is. You might just find that the culprit behind your unproductive web conference happens to be the poor internet connection that you decided to subscribe to in order to keep costs down. This is where you will be able to find problem areas, such as poor audio and video reception, among other things.

Convincing the Crew

But how do you convince the whole company to hop onto a web conference service, especially if they have become used to meeting each other in person or hopping into a car and driving off to meet up with prospective clients or business partners? This can be especially hard to sell to some higher-ups who have become accustomed to the traditional way of doing things. Thus, gather data and research that shows how digital platforms have improved many companies’ performance and productivity in the past few years. As they say, the numbers do not lie.

What to Watch Out For

Now that you’ve got everybody on board, and now that you have your web platform that can preferably record meetings, it is time for a few questions to guide you while you analyze the results of your conferences.

  1. How many people were in the meeting? Were they absolutely the most crucial people to have on board? Did every single person pitch in a helpful idea? Were there any people who spoke less often who could have been excluded from the discussion all together?
  2. How long did the meeting go on? Did it go under time or over time? If it ended before the allotted time, what was the reason? Was it because every item on the agenda was resolved, or was it because the participants did not have enough information to discuss everything thoroughly?
  3. Did everybody arrive to the meeting on time? If not, who were the people who arrived late, and just how late were they? Were there any technical reasons as to why they did not start punctually? Are there any people who left the meeting early? If so, why?
  4. How much of the time was simply dead air? Were there any points were people went on far too long discussing something that turned out to not be that important at all? Did people have too many side conversations that were irrelevant to the subjects at hand?

In Short: Be Smart About Your Time

With this information in mind, we hope that you will have what you need to jumpstart your company into having more productive conversations instead of shallow dialogue between employees. Try to apply an analytical approach to each meeting and evaluate it as if it were a product in and of itself. Good luck with your business!