I’m making a case for meetings and events starting on time. Join the conversation.

July 31, 2009 at 3:55 am 6 comments

I’m casting my vote for meetings and events that start on time. Yes, even on Maui. Not doing so disrespects the people that got there on time and endorses being late and causes the meetings to run long. Why should many people wait for the last 1 or 2?

All our time is valuable, not just that of the late arriver. The person that waits to start the meeting for that last person is thinking more about that person than all the people that made the effort to arrive on time and are ready to begin. In other words, why should your start time depend on the people that aren’t there instead of the people that are there? Plan to start the agenda with a non critical item if you have to.

If the event is a business presentation, it doesn’t even make good business sense or reflect common courtesy to do that. Perhaps you are using your event to prospect for new business. You aren’t making a good first impression on all those people waiting patiently in their seats. Also, who do you want for a new client? The one that is on time or the one that is late?

And if you are the one running the meeting, please don’t take everybody’s time to repeat material for someone that arrives late. This supports late arrival and will also cause the meeting to run late. 

If you are running late to get to a meeting, do you expect that the others will be waiting for you to arrive before starting? I know I don’t. I slip in sheepishly and expect to get caught up on the material later, not on everybody else’s time.

And sometimes this means you have to plan to arrive places a few minutes early so you’ll be on time. Ever notice how nice that pre meeting, unhurried, ‘catch up with your friends’ time can be?

Some people are hearing this as saying they should arrive on time to meetings. Not necessarily. Arrive when you want. This is only about the starting time of the meeting, not people’s arrival times.

If you want to share your thoughts about this, please post a comment.

BTW, if I’m ever late, please start without me. I would expect no less.

Maury King


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Philip Thomas  |  August 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I agree with your sentiment.

    However, true as it may be, try not to let it bother you; you are, in fact, on Maui!

  • 2. Craig  |  August 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I agree, start and end on time.

  • 3. flowerwild7  |  July 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    While I agree with the “Start on time essay” I have to say, to assume the disrespect of others etc is just an assumption and a personal judgement. ” The person that waits to start the meeting for that last person is thinking more about that person than all the people that made the effort to arrive on time…..”.
    As a person who has a challenge budgeting my time, I wholeheartedly agree with it not holding others up. I find it has actually been an excuse (which I made up) that I have told myself to support this habitual lateness. “They never start on time anyway”. Over the years I have learned to advise a group, colleague, or partner to be sure not to wait for me. I will take responsibility for catching up or missing out.
    Meanwhile, knowing I have this challenge I do my best to attempt early arrival which often gets me there on time. Judge me if you wish but do not blame me for starting late………

    • 4. Dazzall  |  July 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I am virtually always on time. I know I feel disrespected when something doesn’t start on time, especially when the leader says ‘we’ll just wait a few minutes for the late arrivals’.

  • 5. flowerwild7  |  July 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Feeling disrespected is a truth for you, to say “appears to be thinking of the late arrivals over the present attendees” would be a truth for you, the action of waiting is not always purposefully intended as disrespect, especially when not all people mind waiting. However, I agree a leader should always be considerate of the on time arrivals.
    Just saying…..

  • 6. Lila  |  August 17, 2015 at 4:59 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Maury. The excuse of “It’s Maui” or “It’s island time” is just that…an excuse for being late and it’s rude.


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