Effective Meetings – What are the real research numbers?

SmartDraw is on a mission to improve meetings. In an email newsletter today, it shared the following research statistics:

1. There are estimated to be more than 11 million business meetings in the US every day.
2. Most executives attend about 62 meetings every month.
3. An average of 5.6 hours per week is spent in meetings.
4. Research has found that over 50% of meeting time is wasted, equating to about one day per week of lost time per employee.

These are good numbers, but they don’t “work” together – at least not as averages. If executives attend 62 meetings a month, that’s 15 a week. If they’re spending an average of 5.6 hours a week in meetings, that’s only 20 minutes per meeting. A meeting of 20 minutes signals that it’s more likely to be well-run. I’d be worried if the average was 5.6 hours per day … but then perhaps that is the average for executives.

For point 4, if 50% is wasted and that equals about a day, then the average time spent in meetings should be 16 hours – two days a week.

Regardless of the numbers, SmartDraw advocates various good practices for meetings – having an objective for meeting, a purpose, an agenda, etc. It also recommends that its software can help.

Another good resource about how to re-think meetings is The Modern Meeting Standard: Read This Before Our Next Meeting. It’s a book, and conveys good practice in an easy-to-embrace way.

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