JS Tip 234: From the Managing Meetings Workshops: Start on Time


Start the meeting on time.

Start the meeting on time.

Start the meeting on time.

When you delay the start of a meeting to accommodate late-comers, you do two things:

One. You encourage future late-coming. Participants realize you won’t start on time and you’ll wait for them.

Two. You discourage those who have arranged their schedule, watched the clock, and made it to the meeting on time. They drum their fingertips on the tabletop and wonder, “Why should I come on time if they won’t start on time?”

Three suggestions:

One. When you call a meeting, identify the time and announce, “We’ll start promptly at [the start time].” They’ve been notified.

Two. Send a thirty-minute reminder before the meeting. Ask people to be on time. They’ve been reminded.

Three. Close the doors at the start time. An open door means “You’re welcome to come in.” A closed door means . . . well . . . you blew it. Now you’ll have to open the door and embarrass yourself.

And don’t recap the meeting for those who come in late. They missed it. They can read the minutes.

Respect the people who have come on time. Identify the costs to those who are late. Start the meeting on time.

If you have suggestions for better meetings, let us know. We love this stuff.