There are many in life who unfortunately seem to view meeting times and appointments as suggestions rather than commitments. That these set times are something they can breeze into a few minutes late with no harm done. In some cases, you’ll inevitably be able to get away with it. Just as you would get away with showing right in the nick of time for meetings continuously. But you won’t make that great first impression that you could otherwise, not even if you’re arriving right on time all the time. A month ago, I wrote about how much of a detriment being late is to your reputation, both professionally and personally, but there’s something to be said for going further than even just showing up on time. The other side to this issue is arriving five minutes early. Being five minutes early for business events, for meetings, for interviews, even for coffee chats with friends, can make or break you. Especially you, the young professional in the early years of building your career. Those five minutes can create an indelible impression that will impress who you’re speaking with. You already know that that being late is a huge no-no. You’ve often heard that, I’m sure, throughout your life. But don’t just aim to arrive on time, because five minutes early is a big huge “check” in your favour. Why’s that, you might ask? You’ll have time to settle in and catch your breath before a meeting begins. Showing up just in the nick of time could easily throw you off from showcasing your best self and making a good first impression. A benefit of giving yourself this time to settle in is it will also allow you to mentally go over the few – or many – items you want to talk about in your meeting. Aiming to arrive early will give you time to grab a coffee or tea before your meeting starts too. Showing up even a little bit late and with a coffee in hand is a bad sign to whoever you’ve kept waiting. It’s telling them that you valued getting that coffee over arriving on time. Arriving early could also give you a chance to talk and connect with other people attending the same meeting who also showed up early. In meetings of larger groups of people, there’s plenty of chances for networking and getting to know the other attendees, a chance you wouldn’t receive if you arrived only just in time for the meeting itself to begin. You’ll also likely make less mistakes in general the earlier you arrive. You’ve settled in, you have a mental checklist of what you want to say, and thus you’ve set yourself up as best as possible for the meeting you’re about to enter. Something the person you’re meeting with will now have noticed about you is your promptness. Make this arrival pattern a habit and you’re bound to impress. But show up even just one time, and you’ll show
An all too common problem we run into in life is a lack of action to back up the words of those we work and live with. You may think you’ve met someone who can help progress your work forward, only for these people to fall through on the word they gave you when they committed to helping you. It sucks when someone says they’ll do something for you and they just leave you hanging. It’s happened to all of us. We place our trust in someone we believe to be reliable, who just doesn’t come through with what they promised. You are your word. Especially as an entrepreneur or a young professional still in the early phase of building your business and/or career. Without as much experience to show for what you’ve accomplished, your word can make or break you in the eyes of those you work with. This is a basic, but absolutely fundamental, pillar in business – doing what you say you’re going to do and sticking to your word. Why is this important? Integrity. For a young professional looking to build a career, creating a trustworthy reputation is crucial. To be able to do this, you have to stay true to your word when you give it to others. Set these personal standards for yourself, and you’ll see more doors open and opportunities flourish for yourself because of it. Values. The way we act reflect our individual values. Honesty, integrity and staying true to your word each are necessary values to uphold in life. If you can’t motivate yourself to act in such a way, how can you expect others to hold these values any differently? Being timely, honest and following through on your word with actions will always build credibility for yourself. If you can prove to coworkers, mentors and anyone else you meet that they can count on you, they’ll think highly of you, which will benefit you in the long run. If you’re unable to do this, you’ll inevitably begin to lose the confidence and trust of your peers and coworkers. You don’t want to build a reputation of letting others down. Just as showing integrity will improve your credibility, letting others down will do the opposite. This is bad for your personal brand, bad for your business as an entrepreneur, and bad for your future career prospects. Most of all, this is important to show respect for the time and efforts of others. When you don’t value a commitment enough to act on your word, that’s disrespectful to the person counting on you to come through. Of course, none of us mean to do this. We very seldom say yes to requests and opportunities thinking that we won’t follow through. But sometimes our best intentions are foiled. To avoid making this mistake in your career, here are some tips to avoid having that roll-your-eyes, she/he-is-never-going-to-get-that-done kind of reputation: Add reminders in your calendar. Schedule your commitments when you promise someone you’ll do
Timeliness in your day-to-day life is simply basic etiquette, and not just in the business world, but in your whole life, as well. When we’re late, we often don’t think about how this effects the people waiting on us. We can worry so much about ourselves and the reasons we didn’t arrive on time, that it doesn’t even occur to us how being late disrespects others, Ensuring you’re timely is all about respecting the time of others. What’s important is to make the time to be on time. Leave a little bit early for where you need to go, give yourself extra time to complete everything you need to do. Often, we’re late because we don’t give ourselves enough time to get from point A to point B. Lots of us rush around our daily lives and responsibilities, and we figure we can make that 10-minute drive in 5, or cut that long walk in half. All of this stems from efforts to squeeze as many things as we can into our days. I know I’m certainly as guilty of doing this as anyone else. And sometimes I, just like anyone else, need to take a step back and prioritize what I’m doing, then give those priorities my full effort and time. Being late can be detrimental to your character, reputation and other aspects of your life. It can tarnish your credibility when you’re known as the one in the office who’s usually late and undependable. You can lose revenue if your late habits catch up to you in your job. You can be passed over for opportunities at work if you’re not trusted. You can miss out on time that could be used to get to know a potential partner or friend. Trust is one of the most important qualities you must maintain in every relationship and partnership you have, both personal and professional. So to remedy these problems, tackle your late habits before they happen! Schedule time to travel in your daily schedule, and put that time in your calendar. Set reminders for yourself about where you need to be and when, each day. Most of all, practice these new actions so they become new habits for yourself. I’ll admit (as few do) that I’ve been late before. Did I do it on purpose? No. No one does. But it happens sometimes, and it’s important to stay on top of these bad habits to turn them around. It’ll take some time to develop a better habit, but it will make all the difference. Trust me. The new ways you’ll be able to gain new business and develop new relationships will prove to be much more valuable when you use your time to ensure you’re on time for everything you commit to doing.