By Jay Remer, the Etiquette Guy
Being late to a business meeting is wrong for several reasons. One is that being late shows that you have little or no regard for some else’s time, or your own for that matter. It demonstrates that you are disorganised and cannot stick to a plan, neither quality suited to a position of responsibility.Business relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. Building relationships is an art far more important to a business than any skills or innate talents.
If you are hosting a meeting, be sure to have all of the materials you need prepared at least an hour in advance. If you are engaging a facility, be sure you check with them to be certain that water, pencils and snacks are available. Be sure you know where the washrooms are. Double check on electrical connections or that wireless availability is fully functioning. Most hotels are well prepared for business meetings, but I can tell you from experience that it is ill advised to leave anything to chance. Also, make no assumptions. Dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T’ yourself. It will make the meeting much more productive and stress free.
If you are attending a business meeting as a guest, whether it is in a private office or at a facility, arrive ten minutes ahead of time. Arriving earlier can interfere with final stages of preparation and in some cases, the door will still be locked. Arriving later can cause anxiety and stress. As a guest, be sure to determine the location of the wash rooms; if there is a coat check, an outlet for a cord, or any other services you may require. If these are not readily available, ask your host for assistance, not the hotel staff. It is the host’s duty and expense. A good host will have the answers you seek.
Remember that following your own personal time clock is disrespectful. It shows a lack of gratitude and an arrogance which does not lend itself to relationship building. It is a poor reflection on how you measure your self worth. If you are habitually late, have a look at the reasons why. You can no longer blame this one on your mother.
Jay Remer is the Etiquette Guy, and is certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol.
* this piece was originally published on March 28, 2010