A lax policy toward starting time is one of the main causes of late-running meetings. Make sure people show up on time for meetings by using these three tactics:

1. Schedule the meeting for an offbeat time. Elizabeth Wilcox, a project manager for Washington, D.C., real estate consulting company JM Zell, says that shifting a regular conference call from 9:30 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. worked wonders.

“The 10-minute difference seems small,” she says, “but it made a strong impact. Everyone was on the call early —for a change.”

2. Close the door when the meeting begins. If the meeting was set to begin at 8 a.m., start at 8 a.m. regardless of who is missing, even if it's the big boss. It sends a clear signal: This group won't wait for latecomers.

3. Make them pay. Fine them a dollar for every minute they're late. If that doesn't work, raise it to three dollars. Use the money for charity.