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Dealing with meetings that run late and run into your meeting

Raymond Chen just posted a great post on his The New Old Thing blog about getting people out of a meeting room when their time is up.  You either barge right in and say “Oops! Sorry about that” and then back right out.  Or you just sit right down and apologize for being late for your own meeting.

If you are in a meeting and your time is up, it’s just proper etiquette to end the meeting if that room is booked for another meeting.  While your topic may be more important for the next meeting, making other people wait will push back everyone’s schedule.  It can ripple through the company and come back and bite you on the Blackberry..  It’s just a poor business decision to make everyone else wait.

Either politely ask if the next meeting can be be delayed a few minutes, or just book another meeting at another time to finish your stuff up.  With so many meetings include people calling in for remote offices, you really need to make an effort to keep your meeting on track.

If your one hour status meeting always seems to run 90 minutes, then you have a time management problem.  Either your meeting isn’t staying on topic, or the scope of the meeting doesn’t fit the time allotted.  Cut back on the scope or just book the room for 90 minutes.

At the last place I worked, our daily team staff meetings were “stand up” meetings.  We all stood in a quite away near our workspace, and we just stood and talked for a few minutes.  No beverages were allowed and off topic conversations were verboten.  This fails when you have remote team mates, then you would need to book a small room and everyone just stares at the conference phone.  The no sitting down and no beverage rules are still in effect.

I still think that Dave Barry said it best:

Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.