I am NOT a fan of meetings, and luckily, being a freelance writer, consultant, and speaker means darn few meetings. But if your company executives believe meetings are actually important, you may need some help. Interestingly, Popular Science Magazine decided to Make Meetings Efficient this month.
The short sidebar article didn't give my preferred advice, which is for companies to avoid meetings as much as possible. But they did list some tools to help meetings be, well, more efficient.
My favorite example is the Meeting Miser, an online application from PaysScale.com. Put in your country, city, and state, then the titles or job functions of your meeting attendees, and hit the Start button. While some idiot vice president drones on while gesturing toward a boring PowerPoint slide (#12 of 49), you can keep an eye on the PayScale Meeting Miser.
As each second goes by, the Meeting Miser totals the amount of money the meeting has cost based on estimated salaries for the jobs listed for all attendees. As yet another sales prospect list crawls across the screen, each tick increases the amount of money wasted by being in that meeting. You've wasted $197 ... tick ... $198 ... tick ... $199 etc. The more ticks, the higher the total.
Will the Meeting Miser stop the VP subspecies known as Blowhardius PowerPointius? Not at first, But PayScale lets you track the money spent in a meeting to a report, so you can keep a cumulative total.
My favorite feature is the meeting alarm. Want an alarm to go off when you've wasted $200 worth of combined salary time? Set it and forget it, at least until the alarm rings and everyone realizes how much time and money has been wasted. Then watch as the idiot vice president schedules yet another meeting to address new ways to increase productivity.