Thursday, October 04, 2012

The One Thing That Will Make Your Meeting Better

Complaints about meetings are common.  Research indicates people consider 1/2 the meetings they attend to be 'mostly or totally unproductive'.   Therefore, if you are in charge of organizing or facilitating a meeting there are a few simples rules to follow, which I'll expand upon in future posts.  But the easy, #1 way you can improve your participant's perception of your meeting is this:

Start the dang meeting on time!

First reason is Time=Money.  A few years back I coached an Executive Director of a larger nonprofit.  The monthly staff meetings always started 10-15 minutes late waiting for her to come in and get things rolling.  I sat her down and tallied up the lost time:  15 minutes x 50 staff x 12 meetings ultimately equals 150 hours of lost time per year!

Nothing says "I do not respect your time' like wasting it by starting 10-15 minutes late. .  Get started, even if all the players aren't there.  It sends a cultural message that you value their time. And here's the most important reason: Your best organized and most enthusiastic people will be there on time.   Delaying the start wastes their talents in favor of those who are less organized and less enthusiastic.  Why favor the weak over the strong?

Get to be known as a person who starts 1:00 meetings at 1:00....not 1:15, 1:10 or even 1:01.  Watch how much more respect you get from those who attend.


Karen Yowell said...

Hallelujah Brother!

Maybe we could apply college rules 10-15 minutes and you can leave? I belong to an organization that has monthly conference calls for officers. The best one was the leader who told us to call in a minute or two early. The call started at 1:00 attendance was taken the call was started, late comers had to wait till the end to get credit when attendance was re-called for the stragglers. My time is valuable!

Michael Brand said...

Hey Karen, I once was consulting with an organization where the Director said if the agenda wasn't posted on the interweb 48 hours in advance, you didn't need to go to that meeting (emergency meetings excepted). Director backed up the line employees every time! That brought a major culture change.

Unknown said...

Michael, I couldn't agree more, I have been the Chamber Director for 2 years, and I'm proud to say that everyone of our meetings start on time. I would also add that you need to have all of your paper work in order, so that your board can follow what is going on. I always get our financials, minutes, and agenda to everyone 3 days before the meeting. Our board meetings usually average 45 minutes. My philosophy is the same as yours, time is money. Great post