The ROI of bad webmeetings

Apr 02 2013 by Wayne Turmel Print This Article

If you feel like you're wasting time and money with online meetings that don't get the job done, you're probably right. Do you know how much you're wasting, though? The answer might surprise you.

The numbers we're talking about are fairly conservative, and I'm warning you that if you play along you'll probably get a little depressed. The good news (once you dry your eyes) is that at least a healthy percentage of that lost investment can be reclaimed with some forethought, planning and effort.

First, let's start with the basic facts, then plug some numbers into them:

  • Study after study reveals that people feel 2/3 of their time in online meetings is wasted.
  • The average online meeting lasts a little over an hour. ( It's actually about an hour and a quarter, but let's keep the math simple and use an hour as our base)
  • This math won't include the cost of the platform itself, or the phone bill. Just the human costs (time, sanity, and we won't include after work bar tabs).

Okay, so let's do some simple math:

  • How many people are on your average meeting?
  • Multiple that number by their hourly salary. As a base, $50,000 is about $25 dollars an hour, so let's work with that. Five attendees works out to $125 for an hour meeting. Right?
  • Not so fast. There is the amount of time you spend preparing for the meeting. Surely that adds at least half that much time, or another $65 or so. Of course, if each person isn't spending at least half an hour preparing for the meeting you may have discovered at least one reason they don't go so well. We're up to $190 or so
  • Of course, a bad meeting leads to either rework or another meeting so it's safe to assume that leads to another meeting. Let's call it $400 even.
  • If 2/3 of that meeting is wasted, we've flushed $266 and change right down the tubes.

Now, how many meetings a day do you hold. WebEx alone hosts over 11 million meetings a day. The numbers are now making my head hurt.

What if you could get some of that money back? Heck, if you could make it so only half your time was wasted, wouldn't that mean real money?

Help your team and the people in your organization learn to use technology to really produce productive work, and build the leadership skills to make these tools work. Remember, Genghis Khan ruled half the world without GoToMeeting. What's your excuse?

more articles

About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

For almost 30 years, Wayne Turmel has been obsessed with how people communicate - or don't - at work. He has spent the last 20 years focused on remote and virtual work, recognized as one of the top 40 Remote Work Experts in the world. Besides writing for Management Issues, he has authored or co-authored 15 books, including The Long-Distance Leader and The Long-Distance Teammate. He is the lead Remote and Hybrid Work subject matter expert for the The Kevin Eikenberry Group. Originally from Canada, he now makes his home in Las Vegas, US.