Why don’t meetings end on time?
Generally, meetings begin on time, or within 5 minutes of the agreed time.
If you are going to arrive more than a few minutes later, it’s generally accepted to call or text ahead and let the other person know. But, 15 minutes is definitely the cut-off. If you’re going to be more than 15 minutes late to a business meeting, it’s typically the threshold that people will not tolerate, and will probably want to reschedule, or perhaps not meet again.
Yet when it comes to the end of meetings, there is no such courtesy. If you schedule a meeting with a person, and allocate one hour, that meeting could run well past the few minutes, and easily past the 15 minutes that represents the beginning of the meetings tolerance.
Sometimes a 1-or-2 hour meeting will run for 30 minutes or 60 minutes over and no one will even bat an eyelid. Yet if we were 30-60 minutes late for a meeting, we would probably end the relationship.
Why is it different?
If meetings run 30-60 minutes over within a business, what does it say about the discipline of the business? What is the likelihood they will be executing all their priorities? What is the likelihood that absence of structural discipline will prevent them from consistently achieving revenue and profit targets, and executing their strategy?
Meetings should have an agenda, and finish on time.
I’ve written about the 7 simple steps to more effective meetings before, and number 1 is “all meetings have an agenda and timings and subjects for discussion, including an ending time!“.
If your meetings regularly run over time, then attendees think that you just don’t care.