There’s A Special Place In Hell For People Who Don’t End Their Meetings On TimePosted: September 4, 2013
I’m not talking about needing an extra five minutes to tie up loose ends once in a while, that’s normal. I’m talking about people who have a blatant, habitual disregard for the fact that meetings are supposed to end at a certain time.
I’m on a new project team where this is a problem. The project manager routinely lets our weekly one-hour meetings run over by 20-30 minutes. What makes the situation even more blasphemous is that the meetings are right before lunch.
This might not sound like a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to me because I spent my summer trying to bulk up. Being that I’m a girl, “bulking up” really means that I worked my ass off for 3 months to gain about 1 pound of muscle. Any avid weightlifter can attest to the fact that when you’re trying to gain lean-mass you are hungry ALL THE TIME, and when you get hungry it’s not the “yeah, I guess I could eat” kind of hungry, it’s the “FUC*ING FEED ME NOW OR I WILL LOSE MY SH*T” kind of hungry. Because it feels like your body is eating itself from the inside out.
So I sit in these meetings and compulsively scribble in my notebook, because that’s the only way I can make myself sit still and act like an adult as the minutes continue to tick by.
(Side note: My editor’s, or as I revealed last week, my sister’s only response to this entire post was “Why don’t you just eat a snack?”. Jesus Christ! That is not the point of the post! And her response to that was “Well, there’s really no excuse for being unprepared. Especially if this happens every week.” This might have been the least helpful, and most annoying edit ever. But it’s ok because I love my sister, and I don’t pay her to edit my posts so she can give me whatever kind of crappy feedback she wants.)
My personal issues aside, I think that letting meetings run over-schedule is really unprofessional. Here are 5 reasons why you should try to wrap it up in a timely manner:
- It shows that you have respect for other people’s time. Everyone is busy. Wasting people’s time in an unproductive, inefficient meeting is disrespectful. Get through your agenda and then let people go do their work.
- It shows that you’re organized and prepared. Meetings should have a specific purpose. If there’s nothing specific you need to accomplish in a meeting, then you probably don’t need to have a meeting. Clearly stating the objective of the meeting helps people stay on task.
- It shows that you understand what is important to the bottom line. Part of the reason our meetings run late every week is because we go off on tangents that are completely irrelevant to the objective of the meeting, and sometimes even irrelevant to the objective of the project. There’s a time and a place for these kinds of discussions, and it’s not when you have 10 other people sitting in a conference room. If you can, take it offline.
- It shows that you’re a competent leader. The responsibility of whoever is leading the meeting is to make sure that the meeting’s objective is accomplished within the scheduled timeframe. Making sure that people stay on track (and reigning them in when they don’t) shows that you have everyone’s best interests in mind. And if you’re staying on track and still running out of time, it means you should have scheduled a longer meeting. Remember that for next time.
- It will make people hate your meetings less. Every week I dread going to our group meeting because they’re boring and always run long. If you run an efficient, productive meeting, people will be less likely to hate going to your meetings… especially if they’re right before lunch.