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Punctual Prizes

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

If you have difficulty getting meetings started on time because people straggle in, then awarding a door prize at the top of the meeting might encourage on-time attendance.

Materials Needed

  • slips of paper on which on-time attendees sign their names
  • a door prize of some value

Time Required

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This activity can be completed in 1 minute at the top of your meeting. The real benefits are time-savings that result from people showing up to meetings on time; that can save delaying a meeting and save time having to repeat information for latecomers.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

Larry Davis, principal at Doctors Inlet Elementary School in Middleburg, Florida, seldom has trouble getting staff meetings to start on time. Everybody is there on time, Davis said, because "the first item of business is always the door prize. We draw the name of a staff member out of a hat. The one selected gets a free meal at Outback Steakhouse."

As staff members enter the meeting room, you might have one staff member hand that person a slip of paper on which to write his or her name. Those name slips are dropped into a bowl or hat. (Alternatively, you might hand out numbered raffle tickets. Give half of the ticket to the staff member and put the other half in the bowl or hat.)

At the precise time the meeting is set to start, the first order of business will be drawing a name or ticket from the hat or bowl.

If people are often running off to other commitments before the official end of your meetings, you might hold off the drawing until the very last order of business. That will ensure that people who were there on time will also stay until the end.

The idea that you express how much you value on-time attendance by awarding a prize is often a bigger key to getting people to show up on time than the actual prize itself. Of course, it helps if staff members know that the prize you offer will be of some significance. That encourages participation, and shows the real value you place on on-time attendance.

You might vary the prize from meeting to meeting. The prize might not be announced in advance but it will always be of similar value. That way, if a teacher is not a fan of Outback Steakhouse, for example, they might anticipate that the prize will be for something they will appreciate more.

Idea source: "Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them" ( -- August 20, 2002)