Are Your Internal Meetings a Waste of Everyone’s Time?

Ever been stuck in an internal meeting where the discussion about organising another follow-up meeting has been going on for at least ten minutes and you’re beginning to lose the will to live?

Or how about the hour-long briefing you’ve been asked to attend but when you arrive, you realise the subject is much broader than you were led to believe and you’re about to waste 45-minutes of your precious time before being asked to contribute to an agenda item scheduled for the final 15 minutes.

It’s little wonder that when employees consistently find themselves wasting time in meetings, job satisfaction drops, which often results in reduced creativity, production and higher staff churn.

The Facts About Internal Meetings

Internal Meeting - small meeting

According to The Business of Internal Events, a recent study from EventMB, the average employee can expect to spend 37% of their time at work attending meetings.

Obviously, not all of that time will be spent productively. In fact, as cited in the EventMB report, 91% of respondents to a survey conducted by Verizon confessed they’d daydreamed their way through a meeting, while 39% actually admitted to having dozed off.

Almost half of respondents to a Salary.com survey meanwhile called out meetings as the biggest waste of their time, even topping email and dealing with office politics.

However, when planned effectively, internal events with clearly defined goals, a format appropriate to the purpose, and the right people in the room can be both productive and extremely beneficial.

According to 64% of respondents from a survey of 320 internal planners, carried out by EventMB, internal meetings are a vital tool for employee retention.

In fact, once they stopped complaining, snoozing, and daydreaming, even 92% of the Verizon survey respondents admitted that well-run meetings are an excellent opportunity to contribute and a key factor in their job satisfaction.

How to Make Your Internal Meetings Impactful

As a planner of internal meetings and events therefore, what influence can you have over the reduction of time wasted?

Impactful meeting

Get your tech right

For starters, on average, 15% of a 60-minute meeting is wasted due to technology set-up, according to visual solutions supplier, ViewSonic. That’s nine-minutes of time lost to technical issues.

This wasted time at the start of a meeting often sets the tone.

If the meeting host is struggling to display their presentation onscreen or connect to the video conferencing, minds will start to wander, attention drifts and previously focused energy dissipates as attendees start to talk amongst themselves.

Resolving in-room technical issues before they happen should be a fundamental part of planning an internal meeting. Questions that should be asked include, ‘Will the host’s laptop connect to the in-room display?’ And, ‘How will subsequent presenter laptops or video conferencing connect?’

Change the style

In addition, try introducing different meeting formats to maximise time spent.

For example, if you book recurring briefing meetings, rather than securing a meeting room for a full hour, why not suggest a 15-minute stand-up format where team members are literally standing as they report on what they’ve just done, what they’re doing next, and what problems they see ahead.

These short stand-ups can take place anywhere and serve to keep energy levels high and minds focused.

If the meeting calls for a sit-down discussion, are the right people in the room? Does everyone know their role and why they were invited? If half the agenda applies to only three out of fifteen attendees, either the agenda or the guest-list will need a rethink. And if a key stakeholder can’t make it, advise rescheduling as you’ll likely be asked to schedule a follow-up anyway.

Take note

Finally, designate a note-taker. This could be someone from within your event planning team or a divisional PA or junior team member. When one third-party person is in charge of notes, the rest of the group can focus on participating rather than creating their own record.

Notes are also helpful for anyone who might have missed the meeting. Make sure notes are shared immediately afterwards and that all attendees know where to find them. A work management tool is a great place to file meeting notes and agendas.

group-of-people-sitting-inside-room

If internal meeting planning is part of your events role, use these tips and more to build a reputation for suggesting and introducing better meeting habits. You’ll be helping to improve job satisfaction and productivity and your bosses will thank you for it.

5 Must-know internal meetings and events trends

  1. Internal meeting planners are not exclusively planning internal events. In fact, 90% are also planning externally-facing events.
  2. Internal meetings tend to be simpler to manage than external events, said 44% of respondents. Except when they’re not – 15% said they were, in fact, more difficult to manage.
  3. Internal meetings don’t necessarily have extravagant annual budgets to work with – half of respondents said they had less than $100,000 to spend on their internal meetings each year.
  4. Internal meetings are vital tools for employee retention, according to 64% of respondents.
  5. When they want to measure ROI, 65% said surveys/feedback are their go-to metric, followed by engagement (63%).

To learn some tips and tricks that will help you maximise your internal events, sign up for the February Internal Events Webinar.

(Source: The Business of Internal Events survey of 320 internal planners by EventMB)


Mike Fletcher

Written by Mike Fletcher

Mike has been writing about the meetings and events industry for almost 20 years as a former editor at Haymarket Media Group, and then as a freelance writer and editor. He currently runs his own content agency, Slippy Media, catering for a wide-range of client requirements, including social strategy, long-form, event photography, event videography, reports, blogs and ghost-written material.