When you set up your meeting agenda, you set up the date and time for the meeting. Obviously, you expect people to be there on time. Apart from causding the meeting to start 10 minutes later than you intended, there are also other reasons people should never be late for meetings:

1. It’s annoying

It’s as simple as that. You plan everything carefully to be at the meeting on time – if it’s away from your office, then you even have to factor in potential traffic problems, parking, and so on – and ten minutes before you get there (hopefully) or only when you get there (usually) you are told that the meeting is going to be delayed by 15 minutes.

2. It wastes time

15 minutes might not seem like much, but when you factor in the fact that 4 people are in the meeting, you suddenly realise that an hour is wasted. You can’t do very much – maybe read a quick blog post or two, or send out an email, but you can’t get to involved in your work, because

3. It disrupts the meeting

You’ve probably heard of context switching. Context switching means that it takes time for you to stop doing X and start doing Y. You have to change your mindset, rearrange your thoughts and get a handle on the new material. Starting to seriously work in those 15 minutes means that it will take you even more time to get into the meeting. Of course, the 15 minutes also

4. Cause scheduling problems

This isn’t the only meeting on your calendar. And what about that client that you promised to call at 16:00? In short, this 15 minute delay has just played havoc with your entire daily schedule, one that you worked hard on to be able to achieve during your day as much as possible. And not only that, but

5. It wastes money

Remember I told you that a 4 person meeting that’s delayed by 15 minutes means you’ve just lost an hour? Want to know how much money that hour cost you? A lot. Every time this happens, that’s the amount of money that has just been tossed away. Because once this happens,

6. It makes the next meeting late

I don’t mean the next meeting on your schedule. I mean the next time the same person organizes a meeting, people will assume that THIS meeting will also be 15 minutes late. I’ll tell you a quick anecdote – I had a friend who would always be late, everywhere. When we used to pick him up to go out Saturday nights (this was a VERY long time ago), we told him to be ready on time. He was invariably 20 minutes late. So we started giving him the wrong time, telling him we’ll be by 20 minutes earlier that we were actually planning to. Of course, after a few times he realised that he had more time than he thought – and we ended up being FORTY minutes late.

The same thing will happen with the next meeting. And when that happens

7. It makes the meeting organizer look bad

If his meetings are consistently late, then that’s how they will be treated. As an office joke, as someone who no one wants to go to his meetings. Meetings are there to drive your business forwards, remember? Not stop it.

Now print out this list, so that  the next time people are late to your meetings, you can pull it out and hand it to them.