Why Are You Always Late?

Excluded people reading this article, of course, so I don’t mean that you made a habit out of being late 🙂 for briefings, meetings, weddings, the airport or the dentist – but just that others being late affect you directly.


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Being late shows a lack of respect for those who planned, prepared the meeting or for those who bothered to show up on time, and this makes you look bad from the start. If you do this often, including missing DEADlines, you are the sole culprit for the frivolous image you built for yourself. This applies for those who are late frequently, we don’t discuss exceptions.

When you are late you also have some pretty solid reasons. From an unscheduled emergency to the fact that you didn’t estimate “traffic”, up to bad planning with no potty breaks set between meetings; and you eventually end up being late for a meeting because you didn’t finish the previous one.

If you are scheduling a meeting the following may help – at least in theory – to gather everyone in time:

  • send a calendar invitation a few days before the actual meeting, even if not all participants are using this planning method. This way you can ensure that there’s a kind reminder set a few minutes/hours before the meeting and thus decrease the chances of him/her pretending to have forgot;
  • if you have to deal with “chronic” offenders, send them an email a day before the reminder, individually – not bulk. The mail should emphasize the fact that you’d really appreciate if they can be punctual this time;
  • don’t use childish sanctions as penalties, either singing or actually money penalty – public embarrassment won’t help, not even for that particular moment;
  • if you organize the meeting, you can’t be late under no circumstance – it might send the wrong message;
  • provide some organizing tips for those “late” show-ups, they might not intentionally be late – they simply need help with planning;
  • make sure that all participants are there. If you call some people just to fill the empty chairs, don’t be surprised when you get in exchange some reluctant no-shows;
  • last but not least, finish the meeting on time.

As a participant, plan to get there 3/5/15/30 minutes earlier, according to the following situations: the next meeting room, the other part of town, the airport, 350 km away. If you get there early, you can always find something (smart) to do on your (smart)phone.

If you are supposed to attend a meeting about nothing, this doesn’t give you the right to be late, but rather try to get it canceled.

When your manager is late for meetings, ask for his/her permission to start the meeting without them present. This will send a clear message to all participants.

Your own example of punctuality helps a lot and if you get there on time – it’s like already being late.

Good luck succeeding!

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