Here is a trick question, “When do you show up for the 9 o’clock meeting?”
If you said 9AM, you are late.
The 9 o’clock meeting starts at 9AM.
You need to be there a few minutes early.
To be ready. To get settled. And to be prepared.
The 9:10 Meeting
I used to work for a company that had a daily 9AM status meeting.
The thing was, it never started at 9AM.
Why? Because people were always late.
Shuffling in at 9:03. Hustling in at 9:05 with a cup of coffee. Apologizing at 9:10 for being late and re-starting the meeting.
In fact, the meeting was eventually nicknamed the “9:10 Meeting” because it never started on time.
9:10 was a more accurate description.
Does this sound like your workplace?
9 Ways to Start That Meeting On Time
Are your meetings guilty of starting late? Want to get started on time?
Here are 9 tips to help you start that meeting on time:
- Start Regardless of Who is There - Start the meeting on time. It doesn’t matter if the senior most person isn’t present. I have seen an 11 person meeting begin with 2 people in attendance. Hint: It is very easy to make decisions with 2 people.
- Make It Clear When the Meeting Starts - Set expectations with your team. Make it clear that you expect to start the meeting at the appointed time. If you implement #1, it will very quickly become apparent to attendees that the 9AM meeting is not the 9:10 meeting.
- Don’t Give “Just a Couple More Minutes” – Ever heard that one? “We’ll give just a few more minutes for those that are running late.” Don’t. (See #1 and #2).
- Pick a Good Meeting Time – If your meeting is always starting late, maybe you need to pick a better time. Be aware of your team’s schedule and other obligations. If you have them running from one meeting to the next, they will be late. Also, be cognizant of their work schedule. If your crew is arriving at 9AM, then don’t set a meeting at 9 sharp. Make it 9:30. The same goes for after lunch.
- Make It a Short Meeting – Most meetings are allocated too much time. Very few topics need an hour-long meeting. Instead, schedule it for 30 (or 15) minutes. It is easy to be 5 (or 10) minutes late to an hour-long event. People will be less likely to miss 10 minutes of a 15 minute meeting.
- Reward Those That Are On Time – Let the early bird get the worm. It can be as simple as bringing refreshments. Or perhaps, those that are on time get first dibs on new projects.
- Don’t Let Latecomers Join - This one is tough. However, have you ever been to a meeting that restarts 3 times to “catch up” those who are late? Don’t let this happen. Instead, do not let people join who are late. They can “catch up” on their own time. Some may think this is harsh, but it is about respecting those who were on time and ready to work.
- Set a Consequence For Last to Arrive - One company had a rule that the last to arrive was responsible for taking meeting notes. Another required that last person to clean up the meeting room when all was said and done.
- Invite Only Those Who Need to Be There – Want to set yourself up for success? Don’t invite extra cast members. It is much easier to get 3-4 people to a meeting on time than 8-10.
Meet on Time
When meetings start on time, they are more likely to finish on time.
They are also usually more productive.
Defend your meeting time and respect your attendees’ time, as well.
Make sure the 9AM meeting actually starts at 9AM.
What are your best tips for getting meetings started on time?