When I was a teacher, we had after school meetings scheduled every Wednesday. And, we had administrators who insisted that every second of those meetings had to be used.
Pretty much everyone present universally disdained these meetings. In fact, it became a sad joke how much everyone hated them.
If you lead meetings of any sort, here are four reasons why you should start and end on time (and maybe even let everyone out a little early). And, I would suggest scheduling meetings to be short to begin with as well.
Work Isn’t Everyone’s Life (or Passion)
I loved teaching, but it wasn’t my entire life. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) family, friends, fitness, hobbies, and even a little down time. I was happy to go above and beyond the normal requirements to my job, but I still had a life outside of it.
The leadership of a business is far more invested than an average employee. As a boss, you may absolutely love work and have nothing going in your home or your social life. Just keep in mind this isn’t always the case for your underlings. Also, remember that you are paid more to be more invested as well.
The Content May Not Be As Relevant As You Think
Leaders aren’t always in touch with the needs of their employees. In fact, sometimes they’re out of touch completely. When I taught, my biggest needs were opportunities for collaboration with fellow grade level team members and time to grade papers.
The leadership rarely consulted with us to determine our needs, so we would have long meetings on topics that didn’t always help us do our jobs. And, when they went over the allotted time, they actually hindered us from doing the most important parts of our job.
Most People Hate Pointless Discussions
Almost every discussion type meeting I’ve ever attended has been twenty percent useful contributions and eighty percent pointless chatter. I’ve heard way too many comments from people wanting to feel important or hoping to impress the boss. If meetings stick to the agenda, they often not only end on time, but are helpful. However, the longer they last, it becomes more likely that everyone is zoning out anyway.
You’ll Be Admired
A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting that included a fair bit of pointless chatter. However, at the end of the allotted time, the person leading the discussion said he liked to end meetings on time and we were stopping (even though we didn’t cover everything on the agenda).
I couldn’t believe it. I left feeling invigorated that a leader would show such flexibility and a genuine respect for the time of other people. If you are a team leader or other administrator, sticking to the agenda and ending the meeting on time, will make you a very liked and admired leader with your employees. It’ll also make your company more effective since wasted time means less overall productivity.
Almost everyone hates meetings that go too long. If you are a boss, now you should have an insight into why. Check out another post How To Keep Meetings on Time for another way to make meetings helpful and bearable.