Start on Time

For perhaps the hundredth time, I logged in on time (even ahead of time, to check whether my IT infrastructure worked) to an online webinar, virtual classroom, Internet audiocast – no matter how you name it – generally, to some Internet-based synchronous event. I should have been synchronized with the presenter. But, unfortunately, the presenter was not synchronized with me.

Poor performance. The hour-long session (that I was able to join only between two conference calls) started after a six-minute delay. And five minutes before the end of the session, we heard a voice from the audio conference bridge: »Your session will expire in five minutes«. According to the agenda, we were less than two-thirds of the way through the session. Poor performance.

Sorry to say, but I have made the same mistakes (rarely, fortunately) when teaching instructor-led training classes. The coffee was so good, the discussion during the break so interesting that I simply returned to the classroom late. A couple of faces sitting behind the desks were stony. Not happy. They wanted to finish on time. Even worse, when I was at the stage, in front of my students, I noticed that one or two attendees were still missing (bathroom, phones, God only knows what) – and I waited another couple of minutes for them. Never again.

I have come to realize that whenever you are conducting an event – classroom training, webinar, conference – you have to be a »dictator,« and people appreciate that. If the session is scheduled to start at 10 am, then it’s precisely 10 am when you start. In today’s world of tight schedules, people want that. And soon they will recognize the presenters, instructors, conference leaders who start on time. Starting on time means that you have enough time to cover your content, you have enough time for participants to ask questions, and, finally, you were ON TIME!!! One of the most important criteria for measuring airline performance is on-time departures and arrivals (well, they’re measured by average delay – but still, minimum delays qualify the best airlines). So, in the virtual world, no matter whether you’re on stage or in the audience – be on time!