When did punctuality become a rarity rather than the norm? I've long grown accustomed to it, but I can't remember the last seminar, speech, or talk that started on time, whether it's late by five minutes, fifteen, or longer.
Being punctual is more than just a matter of courtesy, it's a matter of mutual respect: the audience's respect for the speaker's time and, vice versa, the speaker's respect for the audience's time.
The most common rationalization I've observed is the 'wait a few more minutes for those who are running late to trickle in'. Why is *their* time more important than the speaker's or than everyone's already in the audience? Needless to say I'm not talking about specific individuals or VIPs whose absence necessitates waiting, whether by virtue of their position or connection to the occasion.
There are numerous and legitimate reasons to be late. I've been late, but not once did I expect the speaker or everyone else to wait for me before starting and I suspect most people feel the same. So why do it?