If you are regularly rescheduling, canceling, missing, or late to meetings you must read this article. Keeping your time commitments is a success secret that I share with every client. However, many do not take it seriously at first. They find it hard to accept that time management provides such a big opportunity. This is particularly true in Miami, where being late and canceling meetings is an epidemic of grave proportions.
Resistance notwithstanding, time management is a concept that is basic and simple to apply, and the positive results are astronomical. Whether you are in sales, management, or working your way up the ladder, being on time and keeping your meetings can be a goldmine. I have had clients partially apply this secret and the results are automatic. Interested? Then read on!
The real problem it that is difficult to isolate and quantify the direct and indirect costs of canceling or rescheduling meetings, being late, or missing meetings. The culprits always justify their actions with comments such as:
Regardless of what people tell you, if you are late for meetings by more than 5 minutes twice a week, reschedule or cancel meetings more than twice week, or miss meetings twice a month, you can be more successful by improving your time management. The comments above may be reasonable responses on occasion, but, in most cases, they are excuses for not being responsible, and they are costing you something even if you cannot isolate and measure the cost.
Think about your own experience. What are your true thoughts about someone who is late? When your doctor keeps you waiting for 45 minutes, are you happy when he finally sees you? Does he seem more qualified, somehow better than other doctors, worth paying more to see? Is this someone you would want to refer to a friend, invite over for dinner, do a special favor for, or maybe work until midnight for? Of course not! Amazingly, though, as bosses you somehow think it is okay to make your employees stand outside your office for 20 minutes while you take a phone call, or have them wait in the conference room until you’re ready, ask them to cancel meetings to accommodate yours, and so on. But you were tending to your biggest customer, so they should understand. Right?
I use a method in my coaching to educate my time-challenged clients on the importance of keeping appointments. If they do not give me 48 hours notice before cancellation, they pay me a large fee for meeting cancellation. This is done to help my clients realize that every time they cancel a meeting, whether it is with me or with someone else, and there is less than 48 hours notice, there is a cost to every person involved in the meeting and those around them. For those of you who think I do this for revenue, less than 10% of my clients ever pay even one late fee, and only two clients have ever paid more than one.
What does canceling meetings have to do with trustworthiness? As I coach salespeople, I have to help them with the first step in the buying process, which is to get the prospect to “buy” the salesperson. If the buyer does not trust the salesperson, it will likely not matter how good the company or its products are. The salesperson will go home without a sale. If the salesperson does not show up on time, it lowers trust.
Well folks, everyone is in sales. We are selling to employees, bosses, boards of directors, shareholders, children, customers, vendors, and so on. If you are on time and keep your meetings with someone, you help earn trust, which in turn helps earn power with someone, and then the sales process has a chance of happening. On the other hand, if you cancel meetings, make people wait, show up late, and constantly reschedule, you lose their trust. You lose power with that person, and there is no deal. It is that simple!
Even better than being on time, I propose that everyone start living on the “15 Minutes Early Plan.” Have you ever noticed that when you arrive at someone’s office to have a meeting, that is when they start preparing for your meeting? This is especially true if you are in sales. The prospect is never ready, so by getting there just in time, you lose at least 10 minutes of your allotted time. Arriving early usually gets you 10 more minutes of productive time. And if the prospect is someone really important (like the CEO), it might be weeks or months before you get “face-time” again, so those are 10 big minutes.
Another benefit of the “15 Minutes Early Plan” is to lower the impact of road rage from the horrible traffic in Miami and South Florida. Estimating a just-in-time arrival takes PhDs in geography, quantum physics, and mathematics, and a lot of luck. By planning to be 15 minutes early, you can bring less stress to your meeting and your life.
Even if you do not have to drive, it is just no fun to rush around. It is nice to have a few minutes between meetings to have a glass of water, call your significant other to say hello, or take a few deep breaths before running to the next meeting. You will find that you get more done, and your input will be much better.
As I’ve already mentioned, all of this is linked to success. What is meant by success? Success is defined by the individual, and typically defined in terms of money, friends, possessions, colleagues, status, power, prestige, customer satisfaction, strong family, etc. At the end of the day, I leave it to you to find your definition of success. Master your use of time, and you will have more of it to enjoy your success.
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