How many of you get upset when you have a doctor’s appointment at a given time and you don’t get to see the doctor for at least a half hour after the scheduled appointment time? Then to make matters worse, they take you to an examination room half way through your wait just to wait longer to see the doctor. There might a good explanation as to why appointments are running late but that probably doesn’t help matters. Doesn’t it feel wrong when they are late? Isn’t your time just as important as theirs?
Great Advice on Respect for Meeting Attendees
When I first entered the management ranks, I had a manager that taught me some simple rules to follow, which I have used throughout my management career. One of those rules was never be late for a meeting.
My first thought was “What’s the big deal if I’m a few minutes late?” Then he asked me if I knew why? Since I really had no idea, I answered “No, why?” He then asked me what message do you think you are telling the other attendees when you are late? Once again, I didn’t have a clue.
His answer was so simple yet so powerful. He told me when you are late for a meeting, you are really telling the other people attending the meeting that your time is more important than theirs. If you really think about it, it’s true. How would this be any different than the doctor appointment?
Regardless of your position within any company or organization, this professional courtesy should be extended. Everybody’s time is valuable to them. You can be the President working on a major deal or a salesperson waiting on customers. In both scenarios, their time is valuable to them. Sure the consequences of what they are working on can be different but the value of their time is equally important. Psychology Today has a great article regarding the message yo send to others.
Being Late Causes Stress and Just Wrong
It also can pertain to your personal life as well. I like to go walking and I have a brother that likes to go walking as well. We would agree to meet at a particular place at a given time. It is my practice to arrive early so he isn’t waiting on me. However, he has made it his norm to be anywhere from 10-20 minutes late. When I tried to talk to him about this, he couldn’t figure out why it bothered me so much. Needless to say, we don’t walk together too often.
The next time you attend a meeting, try to get their a little early and observe who’s early, on-time and late. It’s okay to be a couple minutes late occasionally because things do pop up but make sure being late is the exception and not the norm.