Start Meetings on Time

Anyone else remember the West Wing Episode Election Night in Season 4 where Debbie Fiderer (the replacement for Mrs. Landingham) insists meetings start on time, regardless of who was in attendance? (If you don’t, you can see a transcript here).

The best quote is from Debbie, “The meeting starts on time and if you’re not there when it starts, you don’t go in. ” If only all meetings and meeting organizers were run like Debbie runs the Oval Office maybe meetings would be efficient and productive.

I admit, I’m not always on time. I often get caught up in finishing just one more thing before a meeting, but when I know it is an important meeting or a time sensitive one, I’ll not try to finish that one more thing and just be early (which for me of course translates to on time).

As Richard Templar suggests in his book the Rules of Management, Expanded Edition: A Definitive Code for Managerial Success (a good read by the way) “Start all meetings on time. Never wait for anyone. Never go back over stuff for latecomers. If they’ve missed something vital, they can get it from others after the meeting, and it’ll teach ’em to be on time next time. Useful tip—never schedule meetings to begin exactly on the hour, always say 3:10 p.m. rather than 3 o’clock. You’ll find people will always be more punctual if you set an “odd” time. Try 3:35 p.m. if you want to be really wacky.”

I also like his suggestion of holding the meeting with everyone standing up and having the meeting that typically lasts the longest at the end of the day.

How do you keep meeting efficient and on time?

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