Americans do their best to be on time. Nothing is more
exasperating for a person to have to cut short a meeting in
order to be on time for the next meeting—only to find that
the person he is meeting with is late. Here are a few recommendations
described on American guidelines for optimizing everyone's
- Whether you are calling the meeting or you got invited
to someone else's meeting, show up on time (if you called
the meeting try to be a few minutes early to ensure the room
- Meetings or events that do not start on schedule reflect
very poorly on their organizers. Announcing in advance that
you expect your meetings to begin on time, with the most important
business first on the agenda, will prepare the attendees to
EXPECT punctuality and avoid their assuming that "these things
are always late."
- If the doors to your meeting room are normally open before
the meeting begins, try closing them just when you do begin,
to help the attendees concentrate on your presentation. This
also focuses a little pressure on any late arrivals.
- Avoid chitchat at the beginning of the meeting. Once everyone
is there and is seated, start the meeting immediately.
- Stick to the agenda. If an unexpected issue is uncovered
that is not included in the agenda, schedule another meeting
to address it. If the issue is so important that it must be
dealt with immediately, make sure everyone is comfortable
extending the meeting and it does not conflict with other
agendas. Often you might be better off keeping only a reduced
group of truly interested people after the meeting to discuss
the issue rather than keeping everyone longer.
- At the end of the meeting, summarize action items and schedule
the next meeting if appropriate.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you will be recognized
as an efficient organizer and will encounter less resistance
to the attendance of your meetings. These are very important
points for the American culture.