How often do you sit in meetings and think to yourself “wow… this is a colossal waste of time“? My guess is your answer is some version of “far too often.” The next time you are feeling that way, do some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations. Make an estimate of what you get paid by the hour. And then look around the room and make some further estimations of what everyone else there gets paid by the hour. Add it all up. And the number you get doesn’t even come close to capturing the cost of that wasted meeting.
Why? Because in addition to the hard dollar cost of the value of your time in that meeting, there is also the opportunity cost of what is not being done at that moment by all the people in that room. And in addition, if any of the people in the room are somehow connected to revenue generation or product development, one could argue that the cost of that terrible meeting goes up even more.
As a business society, we waste an unconscionable amount of time and money in poorly run meetings, conference calls or presentations. But meetings, conference calls and presentations are the blood flow of your business. These are the places where ideas get generated and exchanged, where alignment is created, plans are made, strategies get adopted. Meetings, conference calls and presentations are where things happen, and organizations move forward.
In a healthy organization, the meetings, conference calls and presentations are well run. There are agendas, and plans, people show up on time and are engaged, the speaker or facilitator is prepared and doesn’t waste people’s time. Messages are delivered clearly and succinctly. Decisions get made. Alignment is created. Blood flow is healthy.
In an unhealthy organization, none of those things happen. Blood flow is constricted, slowed, limited.
Creating a business culture of great communication is not just about great communication. The correct communication behaviors are a means to an end. The end is a healthy business, with oxygen flowing through the veins of the organization. Time to market is reduced. Alignment is created. People are motivated. Things get done.
Some organizations invest in communication training because they want to invest in their employees. This is a great motivation. But it only captures part of the benefit. Organizations that invest in great communication also benefit as a whole, with higher output and far greater productivity.
Think about your meetings, conference calls and presentations as the time and place where things happen in your business. Think about healthy blood flow. Think about distributing oxygen throughout the business. Think about getting things done.
Have a great day.