So, I'm spending my Sunday taking a few on-line courses that are available to my firm's employees 24/7 (I love that option; I can grow my knowledge and skills whenever I want—in my jammies or with beverage in hand, pausing if I need a break—you get the picture).
So anyway, one of the courses I finished today was talking about the sins of meetings (did you know there are seven of them, and that they are deadly?).
The webinar guy (from LeadershipIQ) talked about people who show up late for meetings. That's just downright annoying, if you ask me. If I'm the leader of the meeting, I must confess I still don't have a set way of addressing the tardy person, if that person should even be addressed/acknowledged when they walk in late to the meeting.
I remember attending an educational session in which the speaker said she wouldn't acknowledge the tardy person; wouldn't allow them to break into (upset the rhythm of) her presentation.
I recall being at another session and someone walked in late. The speaker backtracked to bring the tardy person up to speed on what they missed.
Today's webinar guy talked about how meetings cost your company money (he had an example formula, something like: 8 people x $50/hour x a 3-hour meeting = $1,200). And he said that tardy attendees should not be allowed to continue to be tardy. And he gave some examples of what some firms (or meeting leaders) do to try to curb the tardiness, such as: If there are 8 people in the meeting, buy only 7 doughnuts or coffees. Or, the person late to the meeting buys dinner for everyone.
Those tactics might work, but do you think the person who is habitually tardy gives a hoot if they never get a doughnut? I think not.
The webinar guy offered this solution: When that annoying person shows up late, tell him/her (something like) this, "Your being late is a waste of my time and a waste of everyone's time in this room. You just cost this organization [insert dollar figure here] because of your tardiness. Your tardiness is not going to be allowed to continue."
And then don't invite that person to future meetings.
The webinar guy suggested you bluntly, calmly, and rationally tell the tardy person the results of his/her tardiness.
I kind of like that tactic. It's bold, and sometimes you should be bold. Right?
What I'm not sure of right now is whether I'd say that in front of everyone (right when the tardy person walked in), or whether I'd wait to speak to the tardy person privately. I do know that if I did it privately, I'd be sure to let the other meeting attendees know the reason why the tardy person is no longer invited to our meetings.
How do you handle tardy meeting attendees (or what ways have you seen others handle that situation)? Share your ideas in the comment box below.
Judy A Beebe, CDFA, is the Principal Technical Associate - Office Administration
for WSP-USA in Seattle, WA