Meetings are an essential function of church communications. We cannot create digital spaces in a vacuum. Input from leaders in your church is essential to conveying the correct message. Ministry leaders are essential for unique insights for their audiences. Yet meetings are expensive. Not only do we take up time, but it actually costs money. This article explains how much they cost, as well as how to reduce it.
The Cost of a Meeting
This is a pretty simple formula, people multiplied by time. Take the hourly rates of everyone in the room and multiply that by the number of hours the meeting lasts. Do not forget about volunteers. Consider what social media and marketing experts make at an agency. As of 2019, it is about $20-35 per hour. Now start doing your math. The number should surprise you. The average staff meeting likely costs a few hundred dollars. With that in mind, here is how you make them cost less.
The easiest way to keep the cost of meetings down is to avoid them altogether. Before you organize a meeting, identify the goal. There should be a clear outcome. If you cannot determine an objective, then a meeting may not be the right tool. Surveys, emails, and one-on-one conversations may be what you need first. Do those cheaper steps first to reduce the frequency and expense of meetings.
Manage Technical Obstacles
Preparation is the key to reducing time. Technical glitches are often a reason meetings do not start on time. A computer is having issues. The phone will not connect. The TV or projector is not working properly. If you are the organizer, be ready a few minutes early. Get the presentation loaded on your computer ahead of time. Test phone and internet connections beforehand. It is better for one person to work through this than a room full of people wait while it happens.
Remove Waste with Agendas
Create an agenda and stick to it. Not every conversation is helpful for a meeting. Some personalities like to drift off-topic. A strong meeting leader keeps the discussion on task. Side conversations are also a huge distraction. Ask anyone having a personal discussion to save it for after the meeting. Lastly, do your research ahead of time. Meetings are not the time to be looking at your website to talk about possible changes. Do that beforehand and come prepared with ideas and suggestions.
Some people in your meetings are there so they are informed of decisions. Keeping everyone abreast of meeting outcomes is a great thing. Yet it can often be done another way. Meeting notes are a great way to archive the decisions and action items of a meeting. They are also the perfect tool to keep others informed. Move people from the conference room to the meeting notes distribution list.
Create and enforce policies for your meetings. Determine if one is even necessary. Prepare the room and the technology you use. Run a tight schedule and stick to the agenda. Conduct research ahead of time. Keep the attendee list as small as possible. Use meeting notes for a record of the decisions, and to inform anyone not attending. The better you use and run meetings, the more effective your team will be. We are all busy. Implement these steps to more efficiently use your church’s time and money.
Note: This article was heavily inspired by Kevin M. Hoffman and his interview: Designing Better Meetings with Gerry Gaffney
Photo courtesy of Christina Morillo