Punctuality. It’s not cool, it’s not particularly interesting, but when it comes to any kind of group work, it’s vital. Whether you’re meeting one person or twenty, and especially when meeting virtually as most of us are right now, starting on time is essential to have an effective gathering.
This will make me sound very old-fashioned, but phones have made it far too easy to be late. A quick text to let someone know you’ll keep them waiting for 10 minutes, whether in or out of the office or online, somehow justifies it. But it’s not ok, it sends a clear message that you value their time less than yours, and therefore them less than you.
I would argue that if something is unimportant enough to be late for, you shouldn’t be spending time having a meeting about it.
In a group work setting, starting on time sets the right tone for the whole meeting. It is a way for every participant, no matter their seniority, to demonstrate that they care about every other person in the room and it is a collective assertion that the matter in hand is important. I would argue that if something is unimportant enough to be late for, you shouldn’t be spending time having a meeting about it.
Starting well is fundamental for making workshops work. If not everyone is present at the start of the session, you end up either with some participants not having the full picture, or with the participants who were on time having to sit through endless recaps.
At our Well & Truly workshops and trainings, starting on time is just the first step in starting well. We also incorporate simple, energising movement, a warm-up exercise that starts to allow for some vulnerability, as well as clearly setting out the objectives and questions for the day.
So, do your best to start on time. It is a simple way to demonstrate respect and care and it lays the groundwork for a good group session.