Looking for an easy-to-use tool to help monitor the time and dollars spent in meetings? If the answer is yes, then trying the free internet-based tool from Payscale called Meeting Miser may mean the end of the search. This tool will calculate the cost of a meeting based on the location of the meeting, the job category of the meeting attendees, and the start and end time entered by the user. Job categories and hourly costs available in the tool are based on data loaded into the internet database.
Since meetings are mostly an overhead function using a time and costing tool like Meeting Miser could make leaders more aware of what they are spending. However, it will not tell them if that time was effectively used or not. For it to truly impact the bottom line, leaders need to determine which meetings need to discontinue, shorten, or improve in order to increase productivity while reducing overhead costs. Discontinuing unnecessary meetings will reduce cost, but discontinuing most meetings will impact productivity. The answer to reducing costs is moving bad meetings to good and good ones to better. This movement can make a great deal of difference in the length of time and amount of productivity required from people in meetings.
When using the Meeting Miser tool to measure the time and cost of a meeting, it is important to save time by completing key information in the tool before it is scheduled to begin. Leaders utilizing this tool may want to request a human resources team member to pre-load any missing company job categories and pay data into the database to have more accurate data for the area and the company, especially if the tool is to be publicized and used company-wide. It also must be noted that this tool is not an exact cost of meetings because it uses a range of rates based on monthly salary or an hourly base rather than exact pay of the meeting attendees. This tool only gives the approximate cost and the actual time of a meeting based on timely clicking of the buttons. It should not be used as an accounting tool, instead consider it an indicator for estimated measurement only.
However, managers and team leaders can utilize the Meeting Miser tool to estimate what their meetings are costing and how much time is spent in them. Department leadership can tell their direct reports about the tool and ask they use it anytime they have a meeting. Besides during meeting tracking, this tool allows users to save their meetings and produce a report of attendance costs. Armed with this information, leaders can then weigh the value of the meeting time against whether or not valuable work was accomplished during the meeting. If leaders find meetings that have no value or are low-value, they can then determine if another method of communication should be used instead of holding a meeting.
The Meeting Miser tool requires little training as it is easy to follow for most people used to working with computers. Using this information may be helpful as part of a demonstration on how to utilize the tool. Following the demonstration with general guidelines for holding meetings may also be a good tool for training potential leaders. General meeting guidelines may be found in a meeting management book or compiled by searching the internet for information on meeting management.
The Meeting Miser tool will help both leaders and meeting attendees to understand how much of an investment in both time and money the organization is making to increase communication and job productivity. The data from the tool should be a useful measure for increasing awareness about what meetings are costing the company so that everyone can be encouraged to hold only necessary meetings and make the ones they do hold more effective. Using this tool will show approximate cost of meetings, but it is important to keep in mind that meetings are a very important business communication tool. For this reason,please note that using the tool does not tell the leader if the meeting had value or not. To determine if a meeting has value; the leader must ask the attendees for their opinion or review their meeting evaluation results. However, the best measurement may be to review the written records against the proposed agenda.
If using the agenda to measure meeting value, then the leader must make sure more than forty percent of the agenda was accomplished. The more of the agenda completed the higher value of the working meeting. Everyone needs to make sure the ones they hold are effective and not just look at costs. Meeting effectiveness needs to be measured as well to make sure the meeting is worth the cost.A valuable meeting will accomplish real work or sharing of key information that can not be provided as well in another format. A meeting where actual work gets done will include idea generation, problem solving, decision making, and assignment of actions to be done outside the meeting.
When looking for a tool to monitor the overhead cost of time and dollars spent in meetings, Meeting Miser is a good option since it can estimate the cost of a meeting by location and job category of attendees. This tool can be used by any manager or team leader to estimate what their meetings are costing and how much time is spent in them. It can easily be distributed to others by letting direct reports know about the tool and asking that they use it during meetings. After meetings, the leaders can use the Meeting Miser data to weigh the value of the meeting time against whether or not valuable work was accomplished during the meeting and then plan for improvement in necessary meetings or use other methods instead of holding a meeting if there is format that fits the communication purpose as well.
In conclusion, use Meeting Miser as an easy way to make leadership and meeting attendees more aware of what is being spent on meetings and how that could impact the bottom line. It should not be used as a tool to eliminate meetings; rather leaders should determine what meetings are necessary based on the overall value produced by meetings.