KEEP YOUR FRIGGIN’ APPOINTMENTS, PEOPLE!
Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you. I also apologize to my mom for my use of a (substitute) swear word. I’m just a little bit — ok, extremely — frustrated by this issue.
You see, this past week I had three people miss appointments with me or cancel at the last minute. This happened in the span of just two days. But that’s not what really upset me. What upset me is that this is not the first week this has happened. Heck, it’s not even the twentieth week it’s happened.
THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! It never has been, and never will be, acceptable.
Almost weekly I have one or two people who break appointments with me with virtually no notice, or they will completely miss or blow off a meeting. I recently had someone email me one minute — ONE MINUTE — before I was supposed to meet with him in person to tell me he was going to miss our meeting. Really???? You just found out one minute before you were supposed to be here? C’mon, dude, that’s lazy, rude, and completely inconsiderate.
Sadly, almost depressingly, I know I’m not alone. Whenever I share my frustration with friends & colleagues, you know what I hear? “Yeah, that happens to me all the time.” And they are equally frustrated.
Several years ago I canceled an appointment with a potential client, not just once, but twice. Then when I did show up, I was fifteen minutes late because of an incident back at work. He brought me in his office, let me sit down, and started the conversation with “I’m not going to work with you and here’s why…” He then proceeded to lecture me about professionalism, respecting other’s time, etc. I thought he was the biggest jerk I had ever met. Until people started treating my time the way I had treated his. I still cringe when I think about what an idiot I was (and the fact that I was mad at him for giving me the spanking I totally deserved).
I feel like we’ve forgotten as a society how important time is. My time is important to me, just like yours is to you. Do you know what I do when I have an appointment on my schedule? I stop working and prepare for the appointment. When you don’t show up, or you’re not at your desk when I call at our appointed time, I feel 100% unimportant. It doesn’t matter what our relationship is. You could be a client, customer, job candidate, or colleague and I’d still feel the same way.
I don’t want to do business with people who make me feel unimportant, do you?
I don’t want to work for those kind of people as clients. I don’t want to buy from those kind of people as a customer. And I certainly don’t want to HIRE those kind of people to work for me.
Here’s a simple formula to help you keep your appointments:
1. Use a calendar.
2. Leave plenty of time between appointments. Meetings always run long. Don’t even pretend to be surprised by this.
3. Schedule only the truly important stuff. You don’t have to take every meeting just because somebody asks for it.
4. CALL as soon as you know — don’t email one minute before the meeting — if you’re running late or have to cancel. Believe it or not, not everybody checks their email every minute of every day.
I could have probably called this article “Business Integrity and Etiquette 101”, but that wouldn’t have been near as catchy, nor would it have conveyed the urgency and prominence I believe this issue deserves.
Would you join me right here, right now, in re-committing to respect other people’s time? Let’s start today by keeping our friggin’ appointments.
And I promise I’ll write a more upbeat, positive article next week.