meetings often start late and run over time, but it doesn't have to be this way.
It's time to take your meetings more seriously! Whether you're the meeting organizer
or the attendee, commit to starting and finishing your meetings on time. Expect
attendees to be punctual and the meeting to finish on schedule. Intolerance for
tardiness will set a behavioral standard for the group, and participants will
likely conform if expectations are well-defined and consistently enforced. Listed
below are some tips to help you and your group stay on time.
the Meeting Organizer:
||state that the meeting will begin promptly
at the scheduled time and that all participants should be on time
||send a reminder e-mail thirty minutes before
the meeting begins and encourage meeting participants to arrive on time
||ensure that you begin the meeting at the scheduled
time. If you've encouraged others to be prompt, don't embarrass yourself
by showing up late.
||close the meeting room doors at the scheduled
time. There's nothing like late attendees to disrupt the flow of a meeting!
Consider posting a note outside the door stating the meeting's time. This
may seem harsh, but it clearly communicates how serious you are about
keeping your meetings on time. If the tardy participants don't consider
your meeting important enough to arrive on time, perhaps they shouldn't
have committed to attend at all.
||if your meeting starts a little late, you should
still finish the meeting at the scheduled time. It's inconsiderate to
assume the participants' schedules revolve around your meeting, so wrap
up the meeting when you promised.
||consider creating a "latecomer jar" to which meeting participants
must contribute one dollar for each minute they arrive late to meetings.
At the end of the week, you can buy muffins or donuts for everyone who
attended the meeting
courtesy of the latecomers!
If You're the Attendee:
||quickly review the agenda before heading to
the meeting. It's a good idea to remind yourself why you're attending
the meeting. Reviewing the agenda helps attendees be better prepared for
the meeting and, in turn, will help focus the meeting, enable all of the
agenda items to be covered and allow the meeting to finish on time!
||make your way to the meeting ten minutes before
it actually begins. This will give you enough time to visit the washroom,
pour a cup of coffee or deal with any issues that may come up along the
way. Plus, you'll get the best seat for the meeting!
||consider speaking up if the meeting organizer
shows up late. There are several ways to do this tactfully without insulting
anyone. For example, if the organizer consistently arrives ten minutes
late to your weekly meetings, ask him if it would be more convenient to
start 15 minutes later next week.
||try to ask only relevant questions during the
meeting. If your comment isn't directly related to the topic at hand,
don't mention it. Getting off track is one of the main reasons that meetings
go over time. If your group can avoid getting off track, you'll all spend
less time in meetings.
||leave the meeting when it was scheduled to
end. When the organizer extended the invitation to meet, he stated when
the meeting would finish. It was on this condition that you accepted the
meeting and committed your time. If you have work to which you must attend,
politely tell the organizer that you have to leave and excuse yourself
from the meeting.
By acting on these ideas, you can indicate how important punctual meetings
are. You may even influence others whose meetings frequently run over time.
1. Meetings in America: A study of trends,
costs and attitudes toward business travel, teleconferencing, and their impact
on productivity. A network MCI Conferencing White Paper, 1998.
How to Establish a Time Limit for