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Many of us have gone to training courses, classes, meetings, and conferences. Obviously, the topics vary depending on our field and position but the concept of continual development is the same.

A good meeting can:
-be inspirational and relevant
-engage the team.
-give us tools and knowledge to work toward our vision.
-bring everyone together in the same room to network and progress.
-reinforce the message of who we are as a tribe.
-recognize success.
-be productive.

We return to or regular jobs and we might have a page or two of notes. Sometimes we have a checklist of 25 new policies/procedures/action items/”best practices“. If we are lucky, we took away (really absorbed) 1-3 key topics. Sometimes our regular work keeps us from working on the 25 important things or even those 3 key topics.

Try this exercise at your next meeting (or hour long conference call):
A = number of attendees
H = Estimate their average hourly rate (don’t forget to add 50% for taxes and benefits).
A x H = Hourly meeting rate

Here is what it might look like: The meeting has 40 attendees. Let’s say everyone in the room makes $100k ($150k after taxes and benefit cost) or approximately $72 per hour. $40 x $72 = $2800 per hour. This meeting uses a minimum of $23k in labor if it runs for 8 hours.

Don’t forget the other expenses:
-Prep time that includes conference calls, PowerPoint decks.
-Travel time and travel costs.
-Meeting space and meeting costs (projector, paper, printing, gratuity. Etc).
-Everyone not completing their regular duties. They aren’t serving customers, creating the next thing, or completing that project.
-Personal cost. Steve missed his daughter’s dance recital, Julie has a sick mother, and Dave cut his vacation short a day.

-it was worth it.
-we accomplished our goals.
-we figured out how to overcome that obstacle that was costing us more than the meeting.
-we figured out how to make the sale.
-the team is energized.

-it was a huge waste of time and resources.
-the presenter who spoke for 2 hours and nearly put everyone to sleep wasn’t the right choice. A subject matter expert isn’t always the best presenter.
-we weren’t prepared. We spent 30 minutes on technical issues and still didn’t hear the audio.
-some of this could have been covered a different way.
-we didn’t need to do it at all.
-we did it because we were supposed to (check the box complete).
-we didn’t realize the value if everyone’s time and the real cost of the meeting.
-we tried to pack too many things into a short of time
-we rolled out this new thing too early or didn’t think it through.

How would we spend $23k+ if it was our money? Would we focus on delivering the best content and presenters? Would we make sure we delivered value to the individual and the organization?

Often there is a survey at the end. This is often called a ‘smile sheet’ because most people are not honest. We might fear being honest because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. And we don’t want them to know WE were the ones that said it was lousy.

Have the courage to calculate costs to the organization and each individual. Have the courage to deliver value to both.

Note: This is not a post about canceling meetings (from a hotel manager who lives on travel spend). Just make them worth it!

Do you have an effective strategy to assign a value to your meeting?

Use your favorite internet search engine (or app store) to find a meeting calculator that works for you.

meeting calc