Meetings are taking over our workday. A recent study found that most workers attend a total of 62 meetings every month — which is an average of 3.1 meetings a day. At the end of the month, we spend an average of 31 hours in unproductive meetings.
It is a waste of time, and it is a waste of money.
In fact, U.S. businesses waste a total of $37 billion in salary costs annually for unproductive or unnecessary meetings.
What could your salespeople do with an extra 31 hours of time a month? What about managers? Customer service reps? How much could you grow your company with just a sliver of the $37 billion spent on unproductive meetings?
And it gets worse — in addition to the actual time wasted in meetings, the average worker spends another 4 hours and 15 minutes planning for meetings a week.
Something's got to change.
Do You Need Meeting Management Software?
It already feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. Quite frankly, it doesn't make sense to waste hours planning and sitting in useless meetings when you could be focusing on, you know, actual work.
Luckily, there is a solution to all these wasted resources — and it starts with revamping your meeting culture to focus on the quality of meetings instead of quantity.
Here's how to make planning more effective and reduce unnecessary meetings across the board:
- Ask "Do I really need to hold this meeting?" Use the flowchart below from the Harvard Business Review to reduce meetings. Fewer meetings = more productive work time.
- Use meeting management software for planning: Meeting management and visitor management software can streamline and even automate the planning and visitor sign-in. This can save you hours every week — and ensure your business makes the most of current resources.
- Create an agenda: Every meeting should have a plan, including the purpose of the meeting, priorities, and an ideal outcome.
- Follow up: Immediately after the meeting, assign tasks to ensure actions are taken based on decisions made in the meeting.
Meeting management software is just one step in reducing the amount of time we waste on meetings. But, implementation can feel overwhelming — how do you prepare for the shift? How will it impact your current workflow? What documentation will you need to change? Will anyone even use it?
Here's what you need to know to take back hours of your workweek with meeting management software.
Here's How to Implement Meeting Management Software
Meeting management software reduces frustration by helping planners locate and reserve meeting rooms, sending out reminders and directions, reserving equipment, and handling associated service requests.
Depending on the software you choose, your tool might offer additional tools like agenda creators, task management, visitor management, meeting displays, and the ability to add catering orders.
Does this sound like a big deal? It is — meeting management software can truly revolutionize the meeting planning process. It can also feel a bit overwhelming to find and implement the right tool company-wide.
Here's how to implement meeting management software, from start to finish.
List Your Meeting Pain Points
What is your biggest pain point when it comes to meetings? For example, do you struggle with ghost meetings, canceled meetings, finding the right location, making sure you have the correct equipment, sending out updates, or the visitor sign-in process?
Send out a feedback survey to all employees to ensure the solution you select addresses all the struggles your company faces. Then, create a list of the most common meeting struggles your company faces — this will ensure you select a platform that solves these issues.
Set Your Goals
What is the one thing executives want to know when implementing any new process? "What's the ROI?", right? The ROI of meeting management software is not just about dollars; it mostly about how much time you will save.
Setting goals, based on the problems you know you need to solve, will give you quantifiable results to show how the software is working. Create goals based on how much time the company can save, adoption rates, and resource usage. Then, track these goals as you implement the software.
Review Vendor Options
Which platform is the right fit for your company? There are several tools on the market, and some do meeting management better than others.
Here's the thing — each company has their own unique needs and pain points. Take the time to consider what you need and which solution offers the tools you need to overcome those challenges.
Start by looking at a platform like G2, which aggregates reviews and features for a variety of software solutions.
As you compare visitor management software options, keep these features in mind:
- Pricing: How much does it cost, including user/seat fees and additional feature costs?
- Ease of use: Is it easy to use, for example, does it integrate with your current email system?
- Support options: Do they offer support by phone, email, or ticket? Are they available during your business hours?
- Security: Do they offer cloud-based storage and is your information secure?
- Features: Does the platform offer solutions to your biggest pain points?
- Reporting tools: Does it offer analytics and reporting tools to help your company prove ROI and look for other Opportunities?
Once you've selected a meeting management tool that meets your needs, it's time to make sure your employees know how to use the program —- and understand all the benefits. Benefits are the key here. Employees are more likely to use a tool when they understand how it will make their jobs easier.
Then, implement a training system that fits the way your company works. Some platforms may offer in-person training or online resources.
AskCody, for example, offers a robust knowledge base that is searchable and features a range of how-to guides.
Consider that different employees may have different needs — some people may do well with self-directed training, while others may prefer a classroom setting. Ideally, look for a system that is intuitive to use and does not require hours of training.
Implement Your Meeting Management Solution
Now you are ready to launch your shiny new meeting management software tool! How can you make sure it goes smoothly? Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth launch.
- Establish a point of contact: Have one person in charge of fielding questions and reporting any issues. (In larger companies, you may need to select a team as the point of contact.)
- Provide documentation for workflow changes: Make sure employees understand what the software does and how it works with tools and processes already in use.
- Make sure tracking is enabled: Workflow management tools can provide access to a wealth of information about how long meetings last, how many people attend, and much more. Make sure you are tracking that data to make reporting easier.
- Document challenges: Are some employees struggling to install the software? Are there issues with your current technology? Make sure to document any challenges — even if they are easily solved.
Review the Changes
Ideally, the solution you select will integrate seamlessly with your current tools and processes. But, every great game deserves a highlight reel, right? Review the changes the software implemented at one week, one month, and six months. Include feedback from users, but also reports on the amount of time saved, improvements to the visitor sign-in process, and any other positive changes you have experienced.
This data is critical for proving the value of the software —- and, hey, it won't hurt come year-end-review time when you can show how much time and money you've helped save your company.
When it comes to business, implementing a major change can feel overwhelming. But, it won't take long for the right meeting management software to make your work life easier. In just a few days, you could go from dreading the meeting planning process to having more time to focus on the work that actually earns you revenue — instead of sitting through another useless meeting.