How to handle a no-show at a meeting

What to do if a speaker or key staff member fails to show for an important meeting?

Planning and preparing a meeting can be hard – getting everyone there can be even harder.

Here’s what to do if someone fails to show up for your meeting.

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The Speaker
If you’ve organised for someone to make a presentation or provide training, their absence might put the meeting in jeopardy. But you do have a couple of options.

Firstly, try and organise a back-up beforehand. Talk with your speaker and see if they can recommend someone who could take over if they can’t make it. If they don’t know anyone, get a copy of the speaker’s notes and presentation and get them to run it past you. Worst case scenario is that you brief everyone from the notes.

Secondly, have an alternative. Ask your staff to always have a presentation ready that they could do at a moment’s notice. Not only will this save you if your speaker doesn’t show up, it means that staff will have to be prepared at all times.

Staff members
While having a full turnout isn’t vital to the success of your meeting, having key staff members missing can be annoying and affect staff morale.

If the missing employees have let you know beforehand, then it’s fine – just make sure they catch up after. But if the no-shower gives no notice, then you’ll need to talk to them about it.

In the meeting, simply work around the missing person but do make mention of it at the start. This makes other staff members aware that you’ve noticed their absence.

Afterwards, take them aside and find out why they were missing. They will probably have a good reason but if not, let them know that attendance is not voluntary and you’ll be keeping an eye out for them at the next meeting.

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Of course, it could be that for one reason or another you can’t actually make your own meeting. If this is the case, the first thing to do is to let everyone know as soon as possible.

If you believe the meeting can’t go ahead without you, cancel and try and organise another date as soon as possible.

To make sure that you don’t have to cancel always brief someone else beforehand that could handle the meeting. Alternatively, you could try and host the meeting remotely. There are a number of ways to do this from web conferencing to Skype.

 

Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

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