Steve Kaye, Ph.D.

Article Summary:

How to calculate your meeting costs.

Meeting Cost Estimator: How to Calculate Your Meeting Costs

Most people treat meetings as a free resource that can be used to deal with any issue. As a result, huge amounts of time and money are wasted on trivia.

A meeting is a business activity (not a social event) and should be designed to earn a profit. Here’s how.

1) Calculate the cost of the meeting by multiplying the number of participants (N), their labor rate (R), and the length of the meeting (t). Then add all other expenses (E), which should include travel, materials, refreshments, room rental, and other expenses.

Cost = N * R * t + E

2) Estimate the value of the results expected from the meeting.

For some issues this step will be easy. Resolving a manufacturing inefficiency, for example, could save thousands of dollars. Or developing an effective strategic plan could earn millions.

This step becomes difficult for less tangible results, such as exchanging information in staff meetings or making some policy decisions. In those cases, you will have to guess the value.

3) Determine the return on your investment (ROI) by comparing value versus cost.

ROI = Value – Cost

If this analysis predicts a loss, either revise the meeting’s scope or cancel it. After all, a meeting, like any project, must earn a profit.

In addition, a profitable meeting will be an effective meeting.

Steve Kaye, author and IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, helps leaders hold effective meetings. His facilitation produces results that people will support, and his innovative workshops have informed people nationwide. Call 714-528-1300 or visit his web site for over 130 pages of valuable ideas. Sign up for a free newsletter at

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