We all know someone who can’t keep appointments. Maybe a co-worker, a friend, or even a client.
You know who I am talking about. The one who always cancels things at the last minute. The person who shows up to the meeting that is already in progress. The individual that can be counted on to have a total disregard for everyone else’s time.
In fact, they are so consistent, that everyone expects them to be late or a no-show.
How to Deal With The Late Ones
People who exhibit this behavior can be counted on for one thing: to waste other people’s time.
Ironically, at first, people may think these individuals are just really busy. Maybe they are doing a lot of important stuff?
But, it doesn’t take long for the reality to become obvious. People begin to understand that the person’s lateness is due to disorganization, lack of planning, and basically just drowning in their obligations.
Unless you want to have your time wasted by these individuals, you need to defend your time. You need to have to have tactics to deal with these time-wasters, or they will waste your time. Every time.
(Doctors figured this one out a long time ago, and hence the missed appointment fees that everyone dislikes.)
Tips for dealing with the person who is always late:
- Make them Come See You – Stop wasting your time tracking down the person who is late or no-shows. And here is the secret: make them come see you on your time. Set a time on your schedule for them to come back to you. Stop chasing them, it isn’t worth your time.
- Start Without Them – This is especially true with meetings. Stop waiting on these people. It only lets them know that their behavior will be tolerated. Instead, begin without them. Don’t wait on their participation. I recently started a 8 person meeting with only 2 attendees present. People were surprised when they entered and several decisions had already been made.
- Schedule in Buffer Time – If the meeting with the client must start at 9AM, schedule the slowpokes at 830. If people question the early arrival, be straight with them that it is due to their track of not being on time.
- Pick Unusual Times – Schedule time with the timewasters at out-of-the-way times. Try the end of the day or very early in the morning. I once had a boss that used to make a point by scheduling “make-up” meetings at the very end of the workday. Or even before the start of the next day. Most of the people that fell into this trap were usually the ones that would suffer the most from this type of reschedule.
- Stop Dealing With Them Entirely – Of course, at some point, the most effective way to deal with the timewasters is to stop dealing with them altogether. This is true whether it is a co-worker, friend, or even client. I have a rule that if someone cancels/reschedules a meeting more than twice, then I cancel it off my calendar. It obviously wasn’t that important in the first place. They can come see me to discuss the issue.
How do you deal with people that are always late? What other tactics do you use that I have not mentioned here?