How-To-Measure-The-Real-Cost-Of-A-Meeting - Meeting Leadership Podcast Episode Image

Do you understand your MROI? Meeting Return On Investment?

With the ridiculous amount of time that we all spend in meetings why don’t we stop and measure the actual cost of them?

Well MLP #020 is going to change the way you spend time in meetings. Because in this episode you’re going to learn the Meeting Cost Calculator Formula.

Meeting Cost Calculator Formula

+Hourly Hourly Wages

+Room Cost


Total Meeting Cost Per Hour

In the show we’ll also work through an example to help you understand the importance of applying this simple concept.

And once you do this you’ll never waste a single second in a meeting again!

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Show Highlights

(:00) Show Opening

(:27) Skip intro Podcast content starts here!

(1:17) How To Measure The Real Cost Of A Meeting  Introduction and big picture

(2:29) MROI Meeting Return On Investment

(2:47) Meeting Cost Calculator Formula Introduction

(3:46) Meeting Cost Calculator Formula Example 1: Executive retreat meeting cost per hour

(4:47) Meeting Cost Calculator Formula Example 2: Meeting with 10 people making $40/hr

(5:11) Meeting Cost Calculator Formula Example 3: Volunteer meetings

(5:43) MROI: Meeting Return On Investment How you will win when you use the meeting cost calculator formula

(6:09) MLP 034: How To Measure The Annual Cost Of Meetings –

(6:46) Meeting Leadership Academy –

(7:11) Podcast Outro

Click Here To Read The Show Transcript

Show Transcript


00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard Talking

Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard and I just want to stop for a second and say, thanks. Thanks for the support you’re giving to this show. Thanks for coming here and getting new leadership skills, getting the ways that you can take out to run highly productive meetings and putting those things into action. The feedback that I’m getting from the audience, what I’m hearing from what people are actually doing with the material here on the podcast, it’s a super motivator. It keeps me going and thanks to you, I’m here today to talk about another highly valuable leadership topic. Something that every leader should keep in mind. Whether you are a manager of a small team, whether you are the CEO of a large organization, or maybe even you’re just a volunteer board president and you’re putting in the time to prepare for and lead meetings.

01:17 – How To Measure The Real Cost Of A Meeting – Introduction and big picture

Because today we’re going to talk about how to measure the real cost of a meeting. Can you imagine being able to understand this information and then the next time that someone’s talking about the latest cat video or something that really is wasting everybody’s time, you can pull this out and say, “Hey, we’re off track. We’re losing money or we’re losing time, or whatever that is because I figured it out.” Well, today we’re going to give you the tools to do that. And just before I jump right into it, I want to pull back for a second and look at the big picture. Now get this, according to there’s more than $37 billion lost every year in the United States alone due to unproductive meetings. Now if we take a second and I do some of my bad MBA math and I extrapolate that for the global economy, it’s possible that more than a trillion dollars is being lost every year around the world due to unproductive meetings. Now can you imagine that in $100 trillion global economy, 1% of everything that we do is a bad meeting. We’ll after this episode that’s not happening with you anymore. And for all of us, you’ll be taking a few bucks back and making your meetings significantly better.

02:29 – MROI – Meeting Return On Investment

And while I might think that it’s a lot of fun to measure the total amount of money that’s being wasted around the world on bad meetings, the rubber hits the road when someone like yourself actually does the calculation for the meetings that you attend. And then you figure out your M-R-O-I your meeting return on investment.

02:47 – Meeting Cost Calculator Formula – Introduction

But before you calculate your M-R-O-I, you have to stop for a moment and actually get kind of a unit measurement. And in this case we’re going to work towards helping you figure out how much one meeting costs for one hour and to help you learn how to do this, I want to introduce you to the meeting cost calculator formula. The first line that you want to get filled in for that formula is this, you want to add up the all in wages for everyone that is in the room. That means their base pay plus whatever benefits are on top and that gives you kind of an all in wage in terms of cost. And the second cost that you want to add in is the cost of the room itself. Now there might be a rental fee, there might be the cost of the electricity, et cetera. That’ll be your second line. And finally maybe somebody brought some refreshments, might be the muffins and the coffee or whatever that was. Maybe you got lucky and somebody brought some lunch, but that’ll give you the third line. And if you put those three things together, you can get a decent rounded average for the actual cost of the meeting for one hour.

03:46 – Meeting Cost Calculator Formula – Example 1: Executive retreat meeting cost per hour

And don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to write that formula down because I’m going to be putting it into the show notes directly and you can get those by visiting and now let’s take a moment to apply the meeting cost calculator formula to a couple of real world examples. For example, let’s say you’ve got six executives getting together and they’re at a retreat. Now each executive average is like $2,000 an hour. There’s your 12,000 right there. They’re at a retreat that cost another 10,000 so there your 22,000. It is absolutely reasonable to imagine that an executive retreat could be running at $30,000 an hour. Which is just fine if those executives are making great decisions that move their organization forward, that really drive profitability for their company, but if that is not the case and all they’re there to do is golf, smoke cigars, and not really getting anything done, well that sends a really bad message and it’s absolutely not respectful of the dollars that are being spent per hour on those meetings.

04:47 – Meeting Cost Calculator Formula – Example 2: Meeting with 10 people making $40/hr

And now let’s imagine another scenario. Let’s say you’ve got 10 employees in a meeting, they make $40 an hour. The room is costing about $75 and someone brings the muffins and the coffee and that meeting is worth $500 an hour. And without even knowing how those meetings are going, how much of an impact would it have if the senior manager in that situation started to apply this formula? Would they make a better use of their time?

05:11 – Meeting Cost Calculator Formula – Example 3: Volunteer meetings

And the final scenario that I think could really benefit from the meeting cost calculator formula, it’s in volunteer meetings. Now I know you’re going to say, “Gord, people aren’t making money in those meetings.” But if you bring this formula in for just one moment and say, “The equivalent of dollars that are being spent on the meeting time right here, right now are X and we’re not getting anything done for it, then maybe it will help you to sharpen the saws.” Stephen Covey would say, “Sharpen your skills and really start to make those volunteer meetings count.”

05:43 – MROI: Meeting Return On Investment – How you will win when you use the meeting cost calculator formula

And now that you truly understand your meeting cost per hour, then you can start to really measure your M-R-O-I, your meeting return on investment. Is that last hour that we just spent going to make us more profitable? Will it be better for employee retention? Will it be better for volunteer satisfaction? And those are the types of questions that you can start to answer when you apply the meeting cost calculator formula.

06:09 – MLP 034: How To Measure The Annual Cost Of Meetings –

And if you like the idea of calculating your meeting cost per hour, then I hope you stick around for episode 34 of the podcast. And in that one I’m going to explore how to calculate your meeting cost per year. And that is a highly valuable exercise for anybody in the C-suite. Because when you start to do it, first thing you do is you get a box of Kleenex out because you’re going to cry a bunch of tears. But if you can get that type of discipline into your thinking and start to make every meeting count throughout your organization, can you imagine the impact that that is going to have overall on not only you, your employees, but your customers and your community. It’s absolutely a game changer.

06:46 – Meeting Leadership Academy –

And I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. If you really want to improve your meeting, return on investment, grow your leadership skills and up your meeting effectiveness, then visit to learn more. And with that, I want to say thanks again for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

07:11 – Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Links From This Episode

The Effective Meetings Professional Development Workshop

For leaders who want to improve the overall productivity, and profitability of their meetings.

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