It seems to be an epidemic of almost pandemic proportions: People and companies are not maintaining or checking their calendars before making new plans or commitments. Just this week an economic development group’s director decided to take an extra day of vacation without checking her calendar to see what was on it; consequently my client and I arrived for a tour of facilities and opportunities in the town, and no one was there. Furthermore, no one in the office was aware of the meeting, nor did they know exactly where the director was.

I finally found the director after calling her mobile phone. She was found on the golf course of a very exclusive golf resort. The “I decided to take another day of vacation and didn’t bother to check my calendar” made an impression on me … a bad one. It wasn’t that someone decided to take an extra day of vacation; it wasn’t the golf course; but it was the careless attitude that checking her calendar for commitments didn’t even occur to her. My client had confirmed on Thursday for a Tuesday lunch/afternoon meeting, and yet it didn’t even occur to the director in changing her plans to check her calendar, have someone else check her calendar or to call and cancel, resulting in three hours of a day wasted for my client.

Compounding the issue was that no one in the economic development office offered more than a phone number to remedy the situation. If you are in the business of economic development, shouldn’t someone in the organization be able to step up and step in to fill a void left by a member of the “team”?

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only instance of missed appointments that week. Another client experienced a no-show business development meeting … something “came up” and it didn’t occur to the vendor to check his calendar to see if there would be an issue.

“Let’s Reschedule”

We all have occasions when we miss a meeting for some unexpected reason. There will be client or personal emergencies. There will be instances where our digital calendars fail and there will be times when our brains just join their digital counterparts and go completely blank. However, it is your attitude about the occurrence that either cements the negative impression someone receives or gives you a chance for redemption.

A heart-felt apology and a “let’s reschedule and the meal is on me” goes in the redemption column. An “I forgot no big deal” attitude translates to cement shoes and deep waters. When the unavoidable happens, make a call, be honest and demonstrate that you are sincerely sorry (if you are sincere). If you are perpetually late and/or absentminded about keeping appointments, then make it a practice to review your calendar at the beginning of the week and confirm appointments.

Also, realize that being late in your personal life is one thing. Being late or missing appointments in business is costly. You will develop a reputation as being unreliable and careless. By showing people that you are either unable or unwilling to be on time means you are willing to waste their time at worst, or that you aren’t good at time management at best.

Be on time! People will forgive the occasional lateness due to a meeting that runs over or traffic issues. They’ll forgive the missed meeting due to a family emergency. But a perpetually late and forgetful consultant, colleague or potential vendor will leave business on the table and dollars in someone else’s pockets.

© 2010 F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

Author: Lea A. Strickland

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