Monday, November 26, 2007

The Unmeasured Medium of Meetings

If you’ve ever found yourself in a meeting where the most interesting thing to do is silently calculate the cost of the meeting to your company, this is for you: Payscale’s Meeting Miser allows you to enter your company’s city, then the job titles of those people present. Click the start button and watch the dollars add up in real time.

It’s a free tool, provided somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Yet Meeting Miser strikes a chord because the internal business meeting is a largely unmeasured and unaccountable medium. Whereas you need to complete an expense report to buy a $35 toner cartridge for the office laser printer, you can blow $500 of people’s time in a meeting at will. Of course, it’s harder to measure the return on investment of a particular meeting than it is to justify the toner cartridge, but does that make it not worth trying?

In a world where you rarely hear the complaint “I was in too few meetings today,” perhaps a more serious version of Meeting Miser—integrated into a company’s scheduling and human-resources systems—would be an interesting experiment.

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