Do you know how many hours your scheduled meetings are costing the company? We spend 31 unproductive hours in meetings every month, resulting in $37 billion wasted in time every year. This post outlines some common culprits for wasted meetings, and ways to minimize meeting cost while maximizing efficiency.

Reasons for failed meetings


When people aren’t paying attention to the content of the meeting, there’s no point in having that meeting in the first place. Some meeting participants may be daydreaming, others could be playing on their phones or laptops.

No engagement

Lack of engagement leads to multitasking, and hinders meeting participants from absorbing the content of the meeting. If your meeting is more like a lecture, expect participants to zone out.


When meetings get interrupted, it wastes the time of everyone in that room. Even worse, when they get postponed, they interrupt yet another day. Even if meetings are pushed back, that’s still something that gets in the way of a maker’s schedule.

Meetings run too long

The longer your meeting goes, the less is going to get absorbed. The principle of diminishing returns applies to meetings; the longer you make people sit through something interrupting their workday, the less is going to get accomplished.

Tips for efficient meetings

Only call them when needed

Ditch recurring meetings and only call meetings when you need to discuss something. You should also be selective about who you invite to the meeting. If your graphic designer doesn’t need to be there, don’t pull him or her away from other work that could be done.

Lean towards virtual meetings, or emails

Why are you calling the meeting? Can everything you want to go over in the meeting be done over an email? If so, just send the email. If not, lean towards virtual meetings (over Skype or any other chat platform). It’s much more obvious when the meeting is dragging on when it’s on a video call, and they’ll be less likely to drag on just because the room is still full of people.

Have a clear agenda

Don’t let your meetings run too long, and make it clear what the goal of the meeting is beforehand. Send all meeting participants a copy of the meeting agenda so they know what to expect and can prepare their questions beforehand. Follow the agenda and don’t get off track.

Set the default meeting time to 30 minutes or less

Is your default meeting schedule an hour? Change it so that when you schedule a meeting, it only lasts 30 minutes (or even 15). Don’t plan to waste up to an hour for it, or you may find yourself trying to fill the time needlessly.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick