money logoIn business we focus on things that have numbers around them. If we don’t measure or monitor then it’s usually not important.

But in meetings a lot of the costs are hidden in people’s time or spread across the travel budgets of many attendees. We also underestimate the cost of people; salary is only part of the equation, if we add in social charges, employment costs and opportunity cost the true cost of attending a meeting may be more than twice the apparent salary cost.

We work with some very large organizations with 100,000 people or more. In these organisations the cost of unnecessary meetings alone can easily exceed £100 million per year – every year!

In most of them there is no one really managing this expense. It’s hard to imagine any other business cost of £100 million per year that has no one responsible for it.

In order to raise awareness of the costs and benefits of our meetings, we developed an online meetings calculator below, if you enter your meeting details here you can see how your meeting compares with other organizations.

You can use the calculator to calculate the costs of a specific meeting or the cost of your meeting across the year:

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  • Please enter in US dollars, English pounds or Chinese Renminbe
  • Please enter a value greater than or equal to 1.
  • Please enter a value between 0 and 100.

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To set against this are the benefits we deliver from meeting. Many meetings are successful and good value for money, but if we don’t make this explicit we may undervalue these meetings just as we fail to cost the unnecessary ones.

One of our clients manufactures and sells soft drinks. At the start of large events they always begin with a slide that says how many additional cases of product they need to sell as a result of this meeting to make it worthwhile.

Can you come up with a similar measure of the benefits you need to generate to make your meeting worthwhile?

About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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