Meeting Cost Reduction Strategies: Tips and Best Practices

These eight meeting cost reduction strategy tips are a must-know for any business. Learn how to do it right and how Fellow can help.

By Mara Calvello  •   April 4, 2023  •   8 min read

A productive and efficient meeting is a true art form that can be difficult to master. Plus, it’s easy to run the risk of thinking every conversation or decision needs to be its own meeting on the calendar.

Meetings that aren’t optimized can cost your business a pretty penny. Check out these meeting cost reduction strategies to start saving money. 

Why meeting cost reduction is important 

When your company is smarter about the meetings employees are having, and when these meetings are as succinct and efficient as possible, these unnecessary expenses are reduced and the bottom line and profit margin of your business increase.

Cost reduction is vital in all business areas, but when it comes to meetings, it’s always in the company’s best interest to have its team members use their time wisely.

Fellow users spend 16% less time in meetings

Meetings don’t have to cost you so much. Increase meeting engagement and productivity with a collaborative agenda that the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!

Benefits of meeting cost reduction

Taking the time to consider meeting cost reduction methods can provide your organization with several benefits. Let’s break some down.

1Increases profits

As we stated above, meeting cost reduction will increase profits. When your highest performers and company leaders aren’t wasting time in unproductive meetings, they have more time to go through their to-do lists and work on the day-to-day tasks that earn the business money and boost revenue. 

2Frees up time in your schedule

Have you ever powered up your computer first thing in the morning, checked what’s on your calendar, and realized most of the day is full of meetings? That likely gives you very little time to work through tasks and make any progress on your actual work.

When a meeting cost reduction strategy is in place, fewer meetings are on the calendar, giving employees more time to complete their work.

3Improves efficiency

The proper meeting cost reduction strategy will also improve your company’s efficiency. For starters, because there are fewer meetings for your team to attend, the ones that do occur run like a well-oiled machine. Smart decisions are made, the right questions are asked, and everyone knows their responsibilities.

And, when employees aren’t attending meetings, they’ll feel focused on the task at hand and efficiently work through the projects on their to-do lists.

4Reduces the number of resources 

Finally, meeting cost reduction limits the resources your team needs to succeed. From people to time, employees can do more with less.

Common challenges of meeting cost reduction 

Meeting cost reduction does come with its own set of challenges. Keep these in mind as you work to reduce the cost of your team’s meetings.

1Budgeting correctly

No matter what type of cost reduction an organization tries to accomplish, budgeting correctly is always challenging. Forecasting what a budget may look like often relies on many internal and external factors outside of anyone’s control. 

2Managing customer relationships

Managing customer relationships can be challenging when working to reduce the cost of your team’s meetings. Customers and other stakeholders always want to be looped in and likely come to a meeting with many questions. Sometimes this can cause a meeting to run longer or be less productive than an employee had hoped.

3Controlling the time and effort involved

A great meeting doesn’t happen by chance—there’s time and effort involved before, during, and after. It can be difficult to control how much of employees’ time and effort goes into ensuring a meeting is as productive as possible. 

How to improve meeting cost reduction

Looking to improve meeting cost reduction? It’s as simple as following these eight steps and meeting best practices.

1Use a meeting cost calculator tool

The first meeting cost reduction strategy is to always use a a meeting cost calculator tool. Fellow calculates your meeting cost based on how many attendees there are and the value of their time, as part of Fellow’s Meeting Guidelines.

Understanding the cost of your meetings will:

  • Enable thoughtful meeting creation by enabling you to think consciously about the cost of your meeting
  • Help you assess whether the meeting is worth having
  • Remove unnecessarily costly meetings and make time for more execution

Fellow can help you improve productivity through better meetings, so your teams can collaborate on meeting agendas, record decisions, and foster a culture of accountability—all in one place. Plus, Fellow has meeting guidelines which provide structure, set expectations for the meeting participants, and build consistency for recurring meetings.

Your company’s meeting expenses are probably higher than you think. So much so that Fellow has built a built-in tool to help you calculate meeting costs. Did you know that the average cost of a meeting is $156? 

2Come prepared and on time

Another way to improve how meetings are run to reduce costs is to ensure everyone is prepared and punctual. Attendees should review the agenda before the meeting begins. This allows them to consider questions, talking points, and important factors to note beforehand and also ensures the conversation is as productive as possible.

Being on time is key. Every moment attendees wait for everyone to join is wasted, which comes at a cost. If an attendee is running late or they’re in a meeting that is going over time, they should let the host or administrator know to get started without them.

3Encourage participation

If you’re on the meeting invite list, chances are good the host wants your thoughts and opinions—so speak up! Having meeting participation from everyone in the room ensures that all ideas are heard and every corner of the conversation is up for discussion.  

Having participation from everyone is a sign of a strong and collaborative team. And since the purpose of a meeting is usually to solve a problem, encourage teamwork, or enhance creativity, the more voices that are a part of the conversation, the better! You never know what new and exciting idea or solution will come up when everyone joins in.

4Minimize meeting distractions

Many types of distractions could affect the productivity of in-person and virtual meetings. Some of them are:

  • Incoming emails
  • Text messages from friends
  • Direct messages from other team members

It’s possible to minimize these distractions and interruptions by closing inboxes, muting notifications, or updating your status to signify you’re in a meeting and would like not to be disturbed. It’s also a good idea to find a distraction-free workplace so you can focus.

Working from the office? Set yourself up away from a distracting team member. Working from home? Consider closing the office door or finding a way to seclude yourself so it’s easier to focus.

Whatever helps each attendee concentrate on the conversation and tasks is a must-do.

5Set clear meeting objectives

Another helpful tip is to always set clear meeting objectives. These outline the outcome you want once the meeting has come to a close. Setting this ahead of time means that all attendees understand why a meeting is taking place and what will be discussed, giving it the best chance of being a successful conversation. Plus, this helps to ensure no one leaves the meeting thinking, “this could have been an email.”

Thankfully, using a meeting management tool like Fellow to plan and organize your meetings with a collaborative agenda means there’s always a place on the agenda for the objective to be stated.

6Optimize the use of meeting tools and technology

Meeting tools and technology are an absolute must-have when reducing the cost of your meetings.

Virtual meeting software and tools like Fellow can provide teams with a structured and collaborative platform. This is where meetings come to life—with clear notes, a long list of integrations, and coaching elements. 

When teams use Fellow, they can make the most of virtual meetings, giving attendees and participants a boost in productivity while making it easy to collaborate throughout the conversation.

7Assign action items

Next up, don’t forget to always assign meeting action items. These are tasks assigned to one or more team members from meeting notes. Specific attendees will be responsible for their action items and should report back once the tasks have been completed.

With Fellow, you can assign, visualize, and prioritize all your meeting action items in one place and sync them with Jira, Asana, and Zapier to streamline meeting productivity. Plus, Fellow ensures clear decisions are made about who is doing what, and by when after every meeting!

Some examples of action items are:

  • Sending an email to a client or customer
  • Finishing a section or portion of a project
  • Outlining a long-form blog with keyword research
  • Getting an answer for a question that was posed or brought up

8Send a meeting follow-up email

Last but not least, send a meeting follow-up email. This is an email sent to all attendees once the meeting ends. You may send this email to your team members, your boss, or anyone you interacted with during a meeting. It can also be sent to key stakeholders who couldn’t attend but would like to be informed of the meeting outcome.

Sending a follow-up email will help remind your attendees of the key points discussed during the meeting while also showing appreciation for their input and participation and adding the next steps they should keep in mind. It can be closed with a reminder of when the next meeting will occur.

Make the most of meetings

Making meeting cost reduction a priority is a must for businesses looking to improve efficiency and productivity. So much of reducing the cost of the meetings your team members attend boils down to being prepared, having a thorough agenda, and remaining focused as the meeting takes place.

When it comes to meeting cost reduction strategies, you have to start somewhere. And a great place to start is having tools like Fellow at your team’s disposal that can ensure effective and productive meeting habits take place during one-on-ones, all-hands, and everything in between.

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