How do I remind people to arrive to meetings on time?

    Spotlight 12/2016
    Wie erinnere ich meine Kollegen höflich daran, pünktlich zu Meetings zu erscheinen?
    © Martin Barraud/
    Von Ken Taylor

    Alex K.: "We lose precious  time for the meeting"


    Dear Ken

    What is the best way to remind people politely that they should arrive at meetings on time? When I organize a meeting at work, people often arrive up to ten minutes late, making up all kinds of excuses. As a result, we lose precious time for the meeting. Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Best regards
    Alex K.


    Ken Taylor: "Always be punctual yourself, and start the meeting exactly at the stated time"


    Dear Alex

    Your problem seems to be a common one, and there is no easy answer. Some management experts suggest agreeing on fine(Geld-)Strafe, Bußgeldfines or on some form of “naming and shamingöffentliches Bloßstellen, Anprangernnaming and shaming”. But I’m not at all sure this is the best way of dealing with the question. I would suggest a three-step approach:

    • First, raise the problem in your next meeting. Suggest that you agree on some rules for the future. This is, of course, easier to do with a new group.
    • Second, have a timed / named agenda, such as:
      10 a.m. Reports from groups (3 x 5 mins., John, George, Sue)
      10.15 a.m. Report from safety audit (10 mins., Helen)
      10.25 a.m. Discussion with sales (20 mins., Keith)
      Always be punctual yourself, and start the meeting exactly at the stated time — even if the named person is not there.
    • Third, if there are persistentständig, permanentpersistent offenderZuwiderhandelnde(r)offenders, take them aside in a one-to-oneZweiergesprächs-one-to-one situation and ask them whether there is a problem with the meeting time, place or any other issue that causes their lateness. Simply bringing up the subject curehier: behebencures the problem with many people.

    Good luck with your meetings in the future.



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