Ever came out of a meeting feeling like nothing was accomplished?  You may remember sitting through a meeting and constantly checking your phone, discussing the same things over & over again, or wondering why you were there in the first place.  Well, you’re not alone.

In the current business climate, it’s hard to find anyone who actually enjoys the casual, routine meetings that keep happening so often. Many hard-working people claim that barely anything gets accomplished at these meetings, and more time is put to waste rather than productivity. You leave these inefficient meetings feeling even more puzzled than before.

Meetings are supposed to enhance productivity and help to get everyone on the same page, and yet most participants claim that a lot of time gets wasted during these meetings.  Still, efficient meetings are the bread & butter of every successful business.

Meetings are necessary to keep the business moving forward with proper team coordination and workflow organization. When done properly, they always lead to a positive net gain for everyone involved, and that’s what every business wants to achieve.  So why exactly are there so many efficiency issues here, and what exactly can be done about it?

There’s an epidemic of inefficient meetings at businesses all across the world, and they lead up to huge loses for both businesses & individuals involved. It’s about time we address this issue, and there are enough resources out there that can help us resolve this once and for all.

The Real Cost of Inefficient Meetings

What is the real cost of inefficient meetings?

According to a study published in the European Journal of Work & Organization Psychology, ineffective meetings in the US cost businesses up to $37 Billion per year. That’s $37 billion lost every year due to inefficient meetings that result in diminished work productivity — and we all know that time = money. Businesses here are at a monetary loss that could otherwise be prevented.

The number may seem absurd, but with all things considered it becomes very much real.

Inefficient meetings diminish productivity, participants end up wasting their precious time that could otherwise be spent on more productive tasks. 50% of time spent on meetings leads to no positive results whatsoever, and that’s how productivity & money gets lost.

Professionals lose 31 hours of productivity on meetings every month according to the HR Digest, and you can imagine what happens with larger businesses that host hundreds of employees. Research conducted by Wolf Management Consultants showed that 95% of meeting attendees miss parts of meetings, and 39% claim they doze off at meetings. Such inefficiencies lead to heavy costs for businesses all over the world.

Inefficiency & Consequences

Following decreased productivity caused by ineffective meetings, some of the major consequences are:

  • Workflow interruption
  • Prolonged decision cycles
  • Lower employee morale
  • Worse teamwork
  • Inefficient work time
  • And lastly, a need for more meetings

All of these consequences lead to major loses for businesses, be it time or money. The costs of inefficient meetings cannot exactly be calculated but it’s clear that there are some major negatives to such occurrences. The costs can be summarized to loses in both time & money, a reduction in employee engagement, team morale, and overall team chemistry.

The good news is that this problem most likely has a solution. It’s time to identify the core cause of this issue so we can do something about it. There are many factors that lead to inefficient meetings, so let’s go ahead and explore some of them.

Identifying The Issue

There are many factors that cause meetings to be inefficient for team members.

Organizing a meeting is hard enough on its own, we have to spread the word out, come up with a plan of action, get everyone in the same room — all of it takes time and effort. And that’s just the beginning, as there are even more complex problems when it comes to business meetings.

You’ve probably run into some of these issues with meetings:

  • People arriving late
  • Unstructured meeting outline
  • Lack of a real goal
  • Time wasting activities like eating & checking phone
  • Topic repetition
  • Lack of communication or over-communication
  • In-team arguments & fights

All of these issues happen on a daily basis, and they all lead to inefficient meetings.

Some participants even feel like they shouldn’t be there at all since they have nothing or very little to contribute to the topic. Another popular complaint is just how hard it is to keep up with some topics, especially when there are lots of documents to keep track of. And still, it is necessary to do exactly that in order to get the most out of every meeting.

We’ve come to the point where such issues are even considered normal, after all, they keep happening over & over again. It almost seems like a cultural issue at this point, however, studies clearly show that most inefficient meetings come down to management issues.

If we can change the way we approach these meetings, we can get better results out of them.

How to Have More Efficient Meetings

There are years of research put into maximizing business communication, and there are some proven methods that can increase productivity. However, we have something completely different in our hands today, and it’s this thing we call technology.

What if we can use technology to get rid of the annoying, inefficient meetings?

Well, if we consider how the standard meetings are organized, it really does seem that technology can help resolve many of the issues we’re facing today. For one, it can dramatically reduce the time needed to organize the meeting & get everyone involved. It appears that the most logical solution is to use all the amazing technology to host meetings. It may require everyone to use certain hardware & software, but we’re already out here using our phones all the time.

Dozens of people involved in a meeting over phones, how could that possibly work?

But it does work, and many companies are already using this to their advantage. You can simply organize a meeting, notify everyone with one simple message, inform everyone of the outline, the goal, and share important documents that everyone can access using their phone. When the time comes, participants get notified early to hop on a call using their favorite device.

We can call this technology VoIP telephony, Video or Web Conferencing software, it doesn’t really matter.

It’s a process that resolves many issues, and all that’s required is a stable internet connection.

There are tons of VoIP Video Conferencing apps developed to improve business communication and to allow team members to collaborate using nothing but the internet. You can connect with your phone, laptop, tablet, and anything else that has a microphone, camera and has access to the internet.

Let’s explore some of the ways these apps can help you to host efficient meetings.

Four Benefits of Web Conferencing Apps

So, how can web conferencing apps help us to finally get rid of inefficient meetings?

There are many benefits that come with these apps, and some of them aren’t even directly related to efficiency. Still, with the world getting more & more used to operating online, these apps are set up to become the standard method of business communication.

There are four simple benefits with using Web Conferencing Apps:

1. Cost Savings

Cost efficiency is perhaps the #1 thing that web conferencing apps have to offer. Instead of spending money on venues, management, and other meeting expenses, all you have to do is invest in a simple app, train your employees how to use it… and that’s about it!

Although this works for all types of businesses, it’s even better for those that mostly operate remotely since you avoid the huge costs of hosting a meeting outside of your office space.

Cost savings are great, but saving time is where these apps truly shine.

2. Time Savings

If you haven’t realized just yet, web conferencing will save you your precious time. Apart from finding a spot with a decent internet connection, there are really no other requirements to join a meeting with your fellow team members.

Connecting to meetings is simple, and you also get timely notifications so you don’t forget. On top of that, most apps allow messaging & file sharing so you can stay up to date with important information & documents related to the meeting.

If you’re looking to save time, there really is no better way to go about it.

3.Enhanced Engagement & Productivity

Studies have shown that web conferencing features, such as screen sharing, translate to better engagement and increased productivity. There are also other features like screen sharing that we mentioned above which also help facilitate productivity.

This is not a surprise — web conferencing apps were built with productivity in mind, and there is no doubt that it will only get better as time goes on.

With technology such as cloud computing on the rise, we’re expecting to see a huge increase in online management and productivity, and all businesses should keep an eye on that.

4. Security

Security is a huge priority for many businesses, and VoIP is a way more secure form of technology compared to traditional forms such as email or phone calls.

Most of the communication shared via these platforms is secure, and there are additional options that can ensure even better security when dealing with top secret information.

These are just four basic benefits of web conferencing that can help you to improve meeting efficiency & move your business forward, and there are still many other smaller benefits that can come quite handy as well.

To top it off, there are many options you can choose from when deciding on your VoIP provider.

Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular software used for web conferencing today:

3 Popular Solutions for Video Conferencing

There are many options when it comes to efficient web conferencing, and businesses are free to choose the best fit. Most of the web conferencing software is offered individually, however, there are some options that come as a bonus with full-service business communication platforms.

Some of the most popular apps for online video conferencing are:

Skype for Business

Skype for Business

 

Skype for business, also known as Office 365, is Microsoft’s flagship product for online business communication.

It is a powerful online collaboration tool with modern solutions that enable efficient business communication. With Office 365, users get access to Office apps, messaging, calling, online storage, and the ability to hold large meetings with features such as screen & file sharing.

Skype for business is a popular solution for businesses that are looking to get into web conferencing, especially because most users are already somewhat familiar with the platform.

The standard plan starts at $8.25/month per user, and there are even more options with the premium plan that comes at a price range of $12.50/month. Overall, using Skype for online meetings seems like a safe choice, and it’s a great solution for businesses that are looking to get rid of inefficient meetings for good.

Meet by Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts Meet is Google’s official web conferencing solution, offered as a part of the popular cloud-based tool system called G Suite.

As always, Google prefers to keep it simple and that’s exactly what Meet is.

Each user gets the option to schedule a meeting which is automatically synced in with Google Calendar, and anyone can join using a simple meeting link URL. The whole system is synced with other Google tools, so everyone gets timely notifications about the meetings.

For businesses that prefer to operate on a single platform, Google Hangouts Meet is a great option if the business is already making use of the popular G Suite platform. Interestingly enough, Meet also lets users that are using similar apps (such as Skype for Business) to join the meeting without sacrificing their favorite user interface (in this case Skype).

Starting rates are dependent on your G Suite plan, starting with $6/month per user.

Zoom

Zoom Web Conferencing

Zoom is a powerful video conferencing solution that’s offered individually compared to the likes of Skype or Google’s Meet that come together with their respective platforms.

This gives Zoom certain advantages when it comes to providing the ultimate video conferencing service. Zoom provides HD videos, collaboration tools such as screen sharing, team chat, recording & transcripts, strong security, and cloud-based integration.

Zoom is a modern conferencing app that can be accessed from any device which gives businesses all the additional flexibility for efficient meetings. Users can join meetings from their phone, car, or personal computers. Overall, Zoom offers a lot of additional tools, and it seems to be a great option for teams that heavily rely on video conferencing to function.

The Basic Plan is free ($0) but there are certain limits to holding efficient meetings. The Pro Plan comes with most of the features, and it costs $14.99/month per user. Businesses can also upgrade to Business Plan for full functionality for just $19.99/month per user.

Other popular options include solutions like GoToMeeting, Zoho, or full-service business communications platforms such as RingCentral.

Price Comparison

Software Skype for Business Google Meet Zoom
Basic Plan Rates $8.25/user/month $6.00/user/month $14.99/user/month
Features Basic Basic Advanced
Platform Skype G Suite Zoom

Google Hangouts Meet is the cheapest choice to go with if we exclude Zoom’s free version that can be used for some purposes. When it comes to additional tools and functionality, Zoom is clearly the superior product but it does come at a higher price range.

Overall, businesses looking for simple solutions can safely rely on Skype or Google, and businesses that are more dependent on video conferencing technology can invest in more advanced solutions such as Zoom, RingCentral, Zoho or others.

Conclusion

As we just saw, inefficient meetings can be quite costly for your business.

When things go really wrong, team members end up wasting their precious time on unproductive tasks, trying to keep up with things that are of no use to their work. Every business should strive to eliminate these issues, and VoIP communication seems to be a great solution here.

Web Conferencing solutions can help businesses to hold more efficient meetings online, with features such as simple scheduling, notifications, collaborations tools, multi-device access, chat, cloud-based file sharing, and top-notch security protocols.

Perhaps the best thing about VoIP solutions is that businesses can choose from many options depending on their needs and budget. In short, there’s something good for everyone, and it all comes down to doing a little bit of research to make sure your business is on the cutting edge of things when it comes to holding meetings & maintaining productivity.