#17: build a better (on time) meeting

so, have i mentioned this before? i have aholy discontent for bad meetings.

along with chewed gum, and sloppy joes, and cold weather, i equally hate bad meetings.

but, i’ve been complaining about bad meetings for too long – figured i should turn my frown upside down and do something helpful. do something to encourage bad meetings to fall out of fashion. hence, the weekly monday series: build a better meeting.

today’s tip: start and end meetings on time.

it’s simple, really. but oh-so-hard to accomplish. i’m a simple girl. i believe that if a meeting is scheduled for 9-10 am, it should start at 9 and end at 10. but then again, i’m simple. i don’t like a ton of fuss.

most meetings i attend, start late and end late. i wish it weren’t true. and, i’m definitely responsible for my share of leading late meetings. maybe together we can fix this.

a couple (on time) tips:

  • start the meeting on time. even if only one person is there, or only one person is missing. and please please don’t say the phrase, “let’s just wait a few minutes until everyone gets here.” it devalues the people who made it on time.
  • make sure you can always see the time. wear a watch, or place a super large clock on the wall directly in front of you. if it’s difficult to lead the meeting and pay attention to the time, set an alarm clock that beeps when time is up. then, you can set it and not have to think.
  • end the meeting on time. even if you don’t get through the entire agenda, and communicate that to the group -“i value your time more than the items on this list. we’ll get to these things next time.”  it might encourage participants to work hard at the next meeting to help you get through the list. when they know there is not an infinite amount of time, they’ll feel encouraged to work hard!

cheers to on time meetings! oh, and i’m super grateful to my friends matt and dan who helped brainstorm today’s tip. after all, build a better meeting is a collaborative project – if you’ve got a great tip for building a better meeting, email or tweet me: amy@lemonlimekids.com | @adolan

2 responses to this post.

  1. Meetings are such valuable time, but we have turned them almost into jokes. If everyone just started a meeting on time people would take it seriously. I have had a manager lock the door at the start time and if you are late you do not get in. It gets the point across


    • Posted by amyedolan on August 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      i couldn’t agree more, john! meetings often feel like such an ineffective use of time. your manager really locked the door? did it work? did people start arriving on time?


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