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March 25, 2018

Tardiness and Professionalism

Have you ever had an appointment with a client or colleague and ended up cooling your heels because you were on time, but they were running late? How often have you sat at a restaurant table, waiting for a guest who was tied up in traffic?

Everyone has had to wait for someone at one time or another, but if you’re the person who frequently keeps others waiting, you are damaging your professionalism and relationships and losing productivity. If you find yourself always running late, here are a few things you can do to stay on time.

  • Before leaving the office the night before an appointment or meeting, prepare everything you will need to take with you and place it where you can grab it and go the next day.
  • Set an alarm or notification on your calendar or phone so that you leave with enough time to arrive promptly. Allow for possible delays, such as slow elevators, no taxis, public transportation breakdowns, and so on.
  • Use an agenda to facilitate your meetings and start and end them on time.
  • Be assertive about your time when attending other people’s meetings. Inform the meeting leader that you must leave at a certain time to get to another appointment, gather your belongings about five minutes before you must leave, and then depart on time. See my blog post Keep Meetings on Track.
  • Bring something to work on or read if you arrive early, so you can stay positively productive while you wait for latecomers to arrive.

Even with the best planning, you will sometimes be late. As soon as you know you won’t arrive on time, notify those you are meeting via text, email, or phone call. Make sure you apologize for your tardiness when you arrive.

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