If LA has taught me anything, it’s the importance of networking. I go on lunch and coffee dates (and set even more potential “let’s grab lunch sometime” dates) like I’m starving and undergoing life threatening caffeine withdrawal.
The thing is, sometimes my dates are late. And I’ve even had a couple that totally stood me up (THEY actually happened to set the meetings). Ya think I returned their calls after that?
We learn growing up that tardiness is frowned upon. Then when we get into the working world we learn very quickly that tardiness will cost us (extremely valuable) brownie points, pay or even a job.
But some haven’t learned that.
Being late signals to someone that whatever you were doing prior to this meeting is more important than they are.
Forget words like disrespectful or annoying; showing up late is a direct slam screaming, ‘my Netflix show is more important than you are.’ Yes, as a person.
I’ve heard some pretty darn good excuses over the years. I’m still not over some of them. I once had a lunch where I was 10 minutes early and she was 45 minutes late (but texted every 10 minutes saying “5 minutes away. Crazy traffic!”). Traffic is not an excuse. Especially not in LA. There’s always traffic in LA!
Another lunch date completely stood me up and texted me 10 minutes after our scheduled meeting time (after I texted “here”) saying she was in line to vote – 25 minutes away (this was on election day). Uhh.
Treat every personal interaction as a career making opportunity. It very well could be. Even if the person you’re meeting is way below you right now, they may not be next year. You may be the one needing the lunch someday.
No digital message (or phone call) can replace the electrifying energy of a personal interaction.
Treat these meetings incredibly seriously – even if they’re just casual, friendly get togethers with new acquaintances . You’re not going to move past the acquaintance category and into the friend category by being late (or by sending Facebook messages incessantly). And you’re going to get the most opportunities in your life from friends. Not people who were floored by your live show.
+It IS About Who You Know
If you don’t have a calendar that BEEPS at you with a push alert popping up on your phone, then you need to get this ASAP. And use it! Every successful business person is a pro at using a calendar (or has an assistant who is). Some (like my dad) are stuck in the 20th century and still use paper calendars. Whatever works.
Sure, things always come up (I’ve been late to meetings before!) and sometimes some things are unavoidable. I get it. They (may) get it too. But as soon as you’re late more than once with the same person, they’ll understand that this is a habit of yours and will dodge your calls, texts, messages and shows.
Don’t be that person.
Want a new year’s resolution you can actually keep? Don’t ever be late. Just don’t.
+How To Act Completely Unprofessionally