Let’s face it, meetings aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite activity, and a meeting that runs long leaves everyone tired and dragging and behind on the rest of the day’s goals. And a meeting that starts late can be just as bad. But if you’re planning a meeting for your employees, there are steps you can take to ensure your meeting starts on time and finishes on time.
The first thing you must do is let your employees know you will not tolerate tardiness. Teachers and schools reward and punish students who are always on time or never on time and in a way, you, as the boss, manager, or meeting planner are much like a teacher. If you want to change your attendees’ behavior, you must change your own behavior. If someone is more than five minutes late to a meeting, let them know that this will not be tolerated unless circumstances are extreme. When everyone is on time, reward them. You’ll set the standard for proper behavior and let everyone know you are taking these meetings seriously.
But before you can punish or reward your employees, you have to make sure they know when your meeting will begin and they are expected to be on time. When you first announce your meeting, make sure you clearly state the time when your meeting will begin; make sure you you state that meetings will begin exactly at this time and that attendees should not be late. You can also send out a reminder, usually via email, about half an hour before the meeting begins.
Next you’ll want to follow through with your plan. If your meeting is to begin at 10:00 AM, begin it exactly at 10:00 AM, not 10:15 and not when everyone’s finally arrived. That means you must be on time, too. If you’ve made a big deal about being on time to your employees, you’ll be awfully embarrassed if everyone’s sitting there, waiting, when you’re ten minutes late. As a matter of fact, it’s probably best to be at least 10-15 minutes early, and it’s probably best to go over your agenda, make sure you know your material and what you need to cover.
So, if you’ve done all this and you still don’t have everyone attending on time, then it’s time to let your employees know you mean business. Close the door to the meeting room and put a note on the door that says the meeting was supposed to start at 10:00 AM. Latecomers will most likely be worried about the consequences and try harder in the future. Finally, if you do begin a meeting later than you intended, make sure you end it on time anyway. Chances are, your employees do have other tasks to accomplish and it’s wrong to punish those who were on time for your own faults.
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