9 Ways to Start the 9AM Meeting On Time

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • DanielHayes

    When I was in the military we had a saying, “If you’re only 10 minutes early then you’re 5 minutes late!”

  • DanielHayes

    When I was in the military we had a saying, “If you’re only 10 minutes early then you’re 5 minutes late!”

    • TMNinja

      @DanielHayes Yes… I remember that from my Navy days, too.

      Of course, we also had the “10 minute rule” for late professors in college. :)

      • DanielHayes

        Touche’

  • ShannonSteffen

    My meeting strategy has always been to start whether or not everyone has arrived and to always have an agenda for the meeting. I always arrive 15 minutes early to every event, meeting or function. This allows me the time to collect my thoughts and plan for the conversations before even having them. Hence, success.

  • http://exciramedia.com/ Shannon Steffen

    My meeting strategy has always been to start whether or not everyone has arrived and to always have an agenda for the meeting. I always arrive 15 minutes early to every event, meeting or function. This allows me the time to collect my thoughts and plan for the conversations before even having them. Hence, success.

    • TMNinja

      @ShannonSteffen Awesome! If only everyone was as on top of their meetings! :)

    • Sarah

      You can’t arrive 15 min early when u r in back-to-back meetings. Appreciate the sentiment, though

  • TMNinja

    @DanielHayes Yes… I remember that from my Navy days, too.

    Of course, we also had the “10 minute rule” for late professors in college. :)

  • Pittampalli

    Great advice // RT @TMNinja Trick question: When do u show up for the 9AM mtg? “9 Ways to Start the 9AM Meeting OnTime” http://t.co/hgSgpiCU

  • Pittampalli

    Great advice // RT @TMNinja Trick question: When do u show up for the 9AM mtg? “9 Ways to Start the 9AM Meeting OnTime” http://t.co/hgSgpiCU

  • DanielHayes

    Touche’

  • jacquespijl

    @MichaelHyatt @TMNinja
    And have meetings on your feet, standing up, research shows they will be up to 30% shorter! What a gain!

  • jacquespijl

    @MichaelHyatt @TMNinja
    And have meetings on your feet, standing up, research shows they will be up to 30% shorter! What a gain!

  • skooloflife

    Craig,

    You’re probably somewhat familiar with my thoughts on meetings. I think most o them are a giant waste of time because people go off on tangents. The most recent company I worked at would have 1 hour meetings where we discussed the air conditioner in the building and the office move for 45 mins. it’s interesting to see how inefficient something is when you dial in from another location :).

  • skooloflife

    Craig,

    You’re probably somewhat familiar with my thoughts on meetings. I think most o them are a giant waste of time because people go off on tangents. The most recent company I worked at would have 1 hour meetings where we discussed the air conditioner in the building and the office move for 45 mins. it’s interesting to see how inefficient something is when you dial in from another location :).

    • TMNinja

      @skooloflife We couldn’t agree more. :)

  • TMNinja

    @michaelhyatt Thx, Michael. Much appreciated. Hope you are having a productive day! :)

  • TMNinja

    @michaelhyatt Thx, Michael. Much appreciated. Hope you are having a productive day! :)

  • TMNinja

    @ShannonSteffen Awesome! If only everyone was as on top of their meetings! :)

  • TMNinja

    @skooloflife We couldn’t agree more. :)

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  • chuck.shareabill

    This might be a little tricky to implement in a workplace where the overarching culture is to be late, running from top to bottom, and implementing this strategy might actually be controversial. If that’s the case at your workplace, it might help to get the buy-off of your manager before implementing this. The worst thing would be to make a big deal that this will be your new meeting policy, only to have your people go to your manager and complain, leading your manager to direct you to ease up. This actually happened to me at one of my jobs, and I took a serious credibility hit with my people.

  • chuck.shareabill

    This might be a little tricky to implement in a workplace where the overarching culture is to be late, running from top to bottom, and implementing this strategy might actually be controversial. If that’s the case at your workplace, it might help to get the buy-off of your manager before implementing this. The worst thing would be to make a big deal that this will be your new meeting policy, only to have your people go to your manager and complain, leading your manager to direct you to ease up. This actually happened to me at one of my jobs, and I took a serious credibility hit with my people.

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  • angeldodger

    @stevemargetts Bring those to LGx, but obviously not as the first thing on the agenda!

  • angeldodger

    @stevemargetts Bring those to LGx, but obviously not as the first thing on the agenda!

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  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    I think that there is one time sink that postpones the beginning of (almost) every meeting nowadays: technology.

    It’s not that the meeting isn’t starting on time, it’s all the preparation that has left undone; Whether the internet connection isn’t working or the projector is not warm enough to show your presentation.

    With a little bit of preparation, this could be prevented.

    Cheers,

    Timo

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    I think that there is one time sink that postpones the beginning of (almost) every meeting nowadays: technology.

    It’s not that the meeting isn’t starting on time, it’s all the preparation that has left undone; Whether the internet connection isn’t working or the projector is not warm enough to show your presentation.

    With a little bit of preparation, this could be prevented.

    Cheers,

    Timo

  • TMNinja

    @pennysailer Thanks, Penny! Best wishes! :)

  • TMNinja

    @pennysailer Thanks, Penny! Best wishes! :)

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  • jeff1

    #4 reminds me of the 22 minute meeting proposed by Nicole Steinbok: http://igniteshow.com/videos/22-minute-meeting. We need fewer 60 minute meetings and more accurately scheduled meetings that actually leave time to go to the next meeting.
     
    Think of it like the 5 minutes you had in High School in between classes…why did we stop doing this?

    • Sarah

      Spot on! We need bells in our office!

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  • guestperspective

    Make it a standing up meeting.

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