Latecomers not only demoralize and disrespect those who turn up on time and have to wait around but also hurt the meeting’s productivity—especially if you have a tight and structured schedule.
- Always start and end your meeting at the appointed time. Are your attendees tardy because they know that you don’t start the meeting promptly? Do you tend to wander off-topic?
- Confirm that there’re enough chairs in the meeting room. A latecomer can disrupt a discussion by dragging chairs over from other meeting rooms.
- Don’t reprimand or embarrass a latecomer during the meeting. Speak to her later. Does she understand that she has a clearly defined role in this meeting? (People are often late to events because they’re not entirely convinced about whether they really want—or need—to be there.)
- Don’t go over an agenda item to help a latecomer catch up. Recapitulate the key points only if the latecomer’s inputs are necessary to what’s left on the agenda.
- If you have a chronic latecomer, check if he has a schedule-conflict. Confirm that his participation is still relevant. If he doesn’t want to—or need not—attend the entire meeting, pull him to the top of the agenda. Let him contribute and leave.
- Try to corral the chronic latecomers by stopping by their desks en route to the meeting.
- Could you make the meeting more beneficial for all your attendees? Invite suggestions for mutual gain so that everyone feels more productive.