- Author: Mark Bolda
I had a friend, a former local businessman, share with me in the course of a conversation how much he valued that my meetings are consistently now being run on time. I couldn't have agreed with him more, and share some of our thoughts below.
The key point we got into about the importance of running a meeting on time is this is being done out of respect for the time of the audience. I almost see it is a contract with the audience; you give me your attention for this span of time, and I will share with you what you came to see and hear. Underlining the adage we all know that time is money, most of the people in our audiences are working people, many times in charge of their own farms and businesses, and their day consists of a lot more than attending an extension event. For example, get the workers ready at seven, meet a salesperson at 1230, and then the electrician for the pump comes at 330, not to mention the myriad of tasks that confront the businessperson at every turn. If your meeting is supposed to end at noon, but instead runs until one, it's not just a disappointment because they might not be able to see and hear what they wanted, but is creating problems for the rest of a lot people's day if they choose to stay the duration.
Some of this lands on the speaker too I know. A speaker can't show up with fifty slides for a twenty minute speaking slot and expect to get through all of it in that short of a time, so they end up going over and pushing not only into other people's speaking time, but inevitably are delaying the entire audience's day as well. Organize your thoughts and slides prior to showtime. A presentation is not for showing all your knowledge on the subject at one go, nor is to be used as a data dump. Use your own time efficiently, and consequently you use the time of your audience efficiently as well.