What Time Should You Have Meetings?

by Krishna on September 20, 2007

What is the best time to have meetings? Here are some thoughts about different times of the day.

  1. Early morning meetings
    • Having a meeting as the first thing in the morning can be good if you just want to get it over with. This is ideal for short stand-up meetings or calls to understand whether things are going smoothly in the project. Once the meeting is completed, people do not have to worry about being distracted for the rest of the day.
    • Most people are usually full of energy in the morning. This makes for a more productive meeting with greater involvement and deeper understanding of the issues being discussed.
    • If different people start at different times in the day, it may not be possible to have such kind of a meeting. Some people will be rushing for the meeting while others have to interrupt what they are doing to join the meeting.
    • A longer meeting can be difficult for people who need to be able to respond to emails. Email communication, in my experience, tends to be heavy in the mornings and tapers off in the afternoon and evenings.
  2. Late morning meetings that end in a lunch break
    • This allows people time to finish off important work they have to do before the meeting and prepare necessary presentations or updates for the meeting.
    • There is an incentive (food!) for people to not keep the meeting from dragging too long. However, people can stay on the discussion longer, if required, unlike an evening meeting where they usually have a hard stop.
    • This time is also good for customer meetings because you can invite them to lunch and continue your discussions informally. Great for establishing relationships.
    • However, if you have too many hungry people in your meeting, you may also see a lack of involvement and a tendency to simplify the discussion and make rash decisions.
  3. Meetings after lunch
    • These are sometimes difficult to schedule properly, especially if you have to travel to get to the meeting. You may have to cut into your lunch hour to reach the meeting.
    • Most people are very agreeable when they have had a good lunch. They tend to listen longer to you and indulge you more. The downside is that they may be paying less attention to the specifics of what you are talking about.
    • Afternoon meetings usually tend to go on for longer durations since there are less factors pressuring one to end the meeting sooner.
  4. Evening meetings
    • This is not a good time to have an internal meeting because most people are trying their best to wrap up their work and leave for home.
    • In the summer, people leave in the early afternoon. So this possibility may not even exist for you.
    • Some customers may like to have meetings at this time since it causes less conflict with their work.
  5. Late evening meetings
    • This time may work for the senior managers in the organization, because most of the employees have already left for the day and they have the time to themselves to discuss key issues.
    • It also works for fragmented organizations, where employees work in different locations and can collaborate only outside the working hours of those locations.
    • The biggest problem is that it eats into the only time that senior managers have to themselves before they leave for their homes.

So it all depends on your organization, the meeting participants and what you are trying to accomplish. In my next post, I will talk about what days of the week you should hold meetings.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: