Timely Meetings – Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What do I have to do to make my meetings start on time?
  • hat do I have to do to make my meetings finish on time?
  • How long do I wait for latecomers?

This cast describes how to run timely meetings.

Mark was reminded of the importance of timely meetings when he was reading the recent interview with a SVP of Elle Group, in the New York Times. Among other inane and unprofessional, offensive things, the executive averred that she regularly shows up late to meetings to miss all the chit chat. (She also suggested that the chitchat was gender-based, but that's part of the inanity.) Okay, we are also routinely reminded about the importance of timely meetings by all the meetings we go to that start late, too.

In most organizations, culturally, the meeting of deadlines is treated with the same respect as timeliness in meetings. If your culture supports meeting lateness, we suspect that it also tolerates missed deadlines.

Do you want to know how sprinter trainers get sprinters to run faster? Believe it or not, to get a sprinter's legs to go faster, you just make his or her arms go faster.

If you want to start meeting more deadlines, start running your meetings on time. Here's how.

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"Timely Meetings" Shownotes not searchable?


Mike and Mark,

It appears the shownotes PDF are not searchable.  I've checked my Premium Content PDF download as well as the PDF on the site.

Thank you in advance,


  Hello Team, I am working


Hello Team,

I am working as a project coordinator on a big project. I did the project plan and assign team member to these task (not to do the tasks, just to supervise same because most of the task will be carried out by contractors). Now my company has Morning meeting, which consisted of all the  manager s. In this meeting we each report our efficiencies for the pass day as well as our plan for the next few days.  Each Morning, I report on what will be happen in the project, as well as who is responsible for that task.  Below is an e-mail that was send to the Production Manager by his supervisor.   I just need to know what’s could I have done better.  Do you think these morning meeting is working.

“I observed on this weekend as times in the past that contractors have little or no supervision on weekends. Furthermore Supervisors on duty are usually not informed of their presence.These persons sometimes need assistance which emphasizes my concern about us being informed .Even though the plant is normally down on a weekend would there be any concerns about “Food Security” .

Thanks, Steve.  I'll have

Thanks, Steve.  I'll have someone take a look at that.

Best Regards,

searchable text

Very odd. Searching in Acrobat still works on headers and footers...just not body text.

Agenda Template

I send these (filled-out, of course) to my team each week a day before our team meetings.



Thanks for the Great Advice

I hold a lunch meeting with staff to help with direct time concerns and to meet their schedule. 

Notoriously, people wander in late or wait until there seems to be a collection of people leaving the cubicle area before leaving themselves.

Today I started "only" 8 minutes late once I had 2 other people in the room and simply kept going as new people joined.  Folks coming in late were visibly uncomfortable, but the message was clear. 

When we went over about 5 minutes and the fidgeting began, I ended the meeting, even before hitting all items.  I ended with a statement of the value of everyone's time (specifically citing the dollar value of $2,145 per hour if we were "on the clock") and a comment that, to respect everyone's time, future meetings will begin and end on time. 

The message was loud and clear.

Thanks for the great advice.  Next action item, get a nice big analog clock for our conference room!!

What if the key meeting attendee is late?

Mark and Mike -

Thanks so much for all of the actionable content on Manager Tools - I really appreciate it!

I have a question on timely meetings - what do you do if the one key meeting attendee is late? Especially if that attendee is at a higher level? Or if all attendees are late? 

Note: most of our meetings are by conference call due to geographic differences (as if that should make a difference!), and our company culture supports late starts and late ends (forcing late starts to the next meeting, of course).

Thanks -


Cover agenda items that you can...

Hmmm. I see your dilemma.

I would start the meeting and cover any agenda items that can be covered until the key person is on the line.

If there is only ONE item on the agenda and it involves the key person then consider calling or texting the person.