The Hidden Cost of Inefficient Meetings: A Wake-Up Call

Jodie | 18 Sep 2023 | News | Performance

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, time is money. Every minute spent in a meeting represents a resource that could be invested in innovation, growth, and productivity. Yet, the harsh reality is that many companies fall victim to a pervasive problem – multiple meetings that lack actionable outcomes and follow-up.

Last week, we asked leaders ‘What is the most challenging element when developing your company’s budget?’ – The results:

60% – Constant meetings and no action.

40% – Going back and forth on budget limits.

In this article, we’ll explore how this ‘trend’ can erode efficiency and offer you insights and tips to hold more purposeful, efficient meetings.

The Alarming Reality of Inefficient Meetings

Statistics paint a concerning picture of how inefficient meetings are affecting businesses:

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 71% of senior managers consider meetings unproductive and inefficient.

An Atlassian study reveals that the average employee attends 62 meetings a month, half are considered a waste of time.

In the UK alone, it’s estimated that businesses lose £26 billion each year due to unproductive meetings, as reported by Doodle’s State of Meetings report.

The “meeting after the meeting” phenomenon is prevalent, where attendees hold additional discussions to compensate for the lack of action during the formal meeting, wasting even more time.

Related Article: Mastering the Budgeting Game: A High-Stakes Gamble
The Hidden Costs

These statistics are not just numbers on a page; they represent a significant hidden cost to businesses. Inefficient meetings can lead to:

Reduced Productivity: Valuable time that could be dedicated to meaningful work is squandered.

Decreased Employee Morale: Continuously unproductive meetings can lead to frustration and demotivation among your team.

Missed Opportunities: Important decisions and actions can be delayed, affecting the company’s competitiveness.

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Tips for Holding Efficient Meetings with Purpose

As a business leader, you have the power to reverse this trend and transform meetings into strategic assets. Here are some practical tips:

Set Clear Objectives: Define the purpose of the meeting in advance. What are you hoping to achieve? What decisions need to be made? Communicate this to participants before the meeting.

Keep It Concise: Respect everyone’s time by sticking to the agenda and time frame. If a topic requires further discussion, schedule a separate meeting for it.

Invite Relevant Participants: Avoid the temptation to include everyone. Invite only those whose presence is necessary for the meeting’s goals.

Assign Responsibilities: Clearly define action items and assign responsibilities during the meeting. Ensure that each action item has a deadline and an accountable person.

Follow Up: After the meeting, send out meeting minutes or notes summarizing key decisions and action items. Ensure everyone knows what they need to do next.

Implement Meeting Technology: Consider using collaboration tools and project management software to streamline communication, track action items, and reduce the need for excessive meetings.

Regularly Review and Adapt: Periodically assess the efficiency of your meetings. Ask for feedback from participants and make adjustments as needed.

Lead by Example: As a business leader, demonstrate the importance of efficiency by being punctual, engaged, and prepared in meetings.


In conclusion, the inefficiency of multiple meetings without actions or follow-up can harm your company’s bottom line. Business leaders have a responsibility to lead the way in changing this culture. By implementing purpose-driven meeting practices, you can reclaim valuable time, boost productivity, and set your company on a path to success.

It’s time to make every meeting count.

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