So what can you do in such a situation? What are the best ways to be on time for meetings and to make sure everyone else arrives in a timely manner?
1. Know what time the meeting startsFirst and foremost, you should know what time the meeting is meant to start - if it’s scheduled for 10 am, then you need to be there at 10 am. However, you should also be aware of what this start time means exactly, which leads me to my next point.
2. Set a normThere needs to be a norm that helps you decide what time these meeting actually start. If a meeting is scheduled for 10am, what does it mean? Does it mean that it actually starts at 10am? Does it mean that people should get there five minutes early to get ready? In order to be able to start your meetings on time, you need to make sure that both you and the team are aware of these norms.
3. Don’t wait for latecomersIf a meeting is scheduled for 10 o’clock, then start it at 10 regardless of who is there and who is not. Instead of waiting for one or two latecomers to arrive, always try to start the meeting on time.
If people know that this is the standard rule for meetings, then they are going to make much more of an effort to be punctual. It’s probably the best way to get the entire team there on time and, more importantly, make sure you get there on schedule if you know such a standard exists.
4. Find a time that suits most peopleThere’s no point scheduling a team meeting if only a quarter of the team can make it. Make sure to find a time that suits most of you. Although it’s hard to find a time that suits every single person and not everyone will be able to make it, always try to find a period that works for most of the team. One of the easiest ways to do that is by filling out a Doodle poll.
5. Give yourself plenty of time to get thereHow often do you hear the excuse of being stuck in traffic for being late to a meeting? Although traffic is something you have no control of, it doesn’t give you a valid reason for being late to a meeting if you’ve already said you’d be there on time.
To avoid situations like this, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there and eliminate any chance of being late. If you know the traffic is particularly heavy at certain times of the day, leave 20 minutes earlier than necessary.
6. Set yourself a reminderWhether you use your mobile phone’s calendar or your computer, it doesn’t matter – but try setting yourself a reminder before an important meeting and make sure that there is a notification that alerts you before the meeting is about to begin.
To be on the safe side, you can even set up multiple notifications: one for the day before the meeting and another one just a few hours before the scheduled start time.
7. Set punishments for latecomersOne of the most effective ways of making sure your team is on time for meetings – as well as motivating yourself to be there on time – is to ‘punish’ latecomers. This way, everyone is guaranteed to make more of an effort to be there promptly.
Punishments don’t have to be too drastic, either. It could be anything from cleaning up the meeting room at the end of the meeting or taking notes of the most important points to getting some extra work for the day. Simple reinforcement procedures like this can make a big difference to attendance rates.
8. Avoid back-to-back meetingsOne of the most common reasons why people are late to meetings (or even miss them) is having back-to-back meetings. If you know that you have a meeting at a particular time on a certain day, then try to avoid agreeing to any other meetings within an hour to two of that timespan. This is even more crucial if you need to travel to another location to make the second meeting.
9. Prepare in advanceWhenever you can, try to get all the things you need for the meeting – reports, papers, or anything else – organised the day before. This way, you’ll be in less of a rush and less likely to be late for the meeting or forget some important details.
Do you have any other tips on how to be on time for meetings? Tell us in the comments below!