Why You Will Be Late to the Meeting

I bet you can tell me, right now, who is going to be late to your next meeting.

Is it you?

We all know who will be late to our next meeting.  Why?  Not because we are fortune tellers, but because it is always the same individuals.

  • Do you have a reputation for being late?
  • Does your lateness impact your personal and professional relationships?
  • Do you have friends that you know not to wait for?
  • Do you have colleagues that you always have to restart meetings for?

Why are the same people always late?

Late is Acceptable

Why do we tolerate this in our society?  It has become acceptable or at least passable.  After all, everyone is so busy, right?

Do you work in a company where everyone is habitually late?  What does this say about your company and its culture?

I recently observed a group of business persons at an airport waiting to board their flight.  They start joking about which colleague would be the last to arrive for the plane.  It turned into a betting game, but the team quickly found out that they all had selected the same person to be late for the trip.

It suddenly wasn’t a fun game since they all had the same answer.  So, instead they started betting on whether this individual was going to miss the plane and by how much.

Is this you?

How Lateness Impacts Your Life

In today’s hurried world, people underestimate the impact lateness has upon their lives.  For many, it is such the norm that they do not feel any guilt about time and money they cost others due to their lateness.  Nor do they consider the negative impacts that lateness brings to their lives.

Here are just a few:

  • Self-inflicted Stress – Those that are always late are usually running around like their hair is on fire.  Doesn’t sound fun to me.  Yet, these individuals are so accustomed to it, they have forgotten about the stress they are self-inflicting.
  • Damaged Reputation – Do others take the person who never shows up on time seriously?  It starts to affect relationships when others are repeatedly forced to restart meetings after 15-20 minutes.  If you think lateness does not negatively impact your reputation, you need think again.  Or maybe ask your co-workers.
  • Penalties – If you are constantly late, you are probably familiar with late fees, additional costs, and missed planes.  There is a cost, often monetary, to being late.  Do you pay more for your lateness?
  • Missed Opportunities – Being late might cause you to miss the train or the plane, but it will also cause you to miss opportunities.  In both business and life, you are letting opportunities leave without you if you are constantly late.

How to Avoid Being Late

If you are constantly late, it will take a change of perspective for you to make punctuality a regular part of your routine.

Here are some tips to get you on the path:

  • Be Prepared – If you are running ragged and do not know when and where you are suppose to be, then you are destined for failure.  Staying on top of your calendar and appointments is a prerequisite for being on time.
  • Don’t Over-commit – An obvious one, but if you cannot make it to all of your obligations on time, you probably have too many.  Say “No” when appropriate.  You have the same amount of time in the day as everyone else.  Do not take on obligations, that you know in advance, you will not be able to keep.
  • The Power of Early –  Busy people say they don’t have time to be early.  They think it takes more time.  However, the secret of being early is that it actually creates more time for you.  Try it, you might like it.
  • Allow Some Extra Time – As part of being early, make sure you leave extra time to arrive at appointments.  Buffer time is key to ensure that traffic and other unforeseen events do not derail you.  In a job situation, who do you think will get the job, the person who arrived on time or the one who got stuck in traffic?
  • Be Realistic – With many companies running by Outlook today, how can you make a 10 o’clock meeting if you are in one that lasts from 9-10?  Unless you have a teleporter or something.  Do not create unrealistic back-to-back meetings.  I have witnessed executives, who by the end of their day are 60-90 minutes behind schedule on their meetings.
  • Have a Coach – We let ourselves off easy when it comes to accountability.  Ask a friend or colleague to hold you accountable to showing up on time.  You will probably be surprised at the initial amount of feedback you get.

Don’t Underestimate Lateness

Don’t think that being late does not impact you.  Whether it is late fees, damaged relationships, or a soiled reputation, being late brings consequences.

Commit yourself to being on time or early.  You will find that you have reduced your stress while getting more done at the same time.

How does being late affect you or someone you know?

17 thoughts on “Why You Will Be Late to the Meeting

  1. How about this? Knowing an individual tends to run late, I set up a breakfast 1 hour before a meeting two minutes from the restaurant. Two others accept, and call me apologizing that morning that they are running 5 minutes late. Ha. The other says no breakfast, thanks. We are in lobby 10 minutes early, signed in and host coming out to get us. The always late guy calls at the time meeting due to start and advises his location. He’s at least twenty minutes away. I tell him don’t bother coming. The meeting had a hard stop after one hour. Traffic was no worse than usual. For morning meetings I often use breakfast to buffer risk of being late, but even that gets thwarted at times. Rude. Disrespectful. Unprofessional. I can go on.

  2. How about this? Knowing an individual tends to run late, I set up a breakfast 1 hour before a meeting two minutes from the restaurant. Two others accept, and call me apologizing that morning that they are running 5 minutes late. Ha. The other says no breakfast, thanks. We are in lobby 10 minutes early, signed in and host coming out to get us. The always late guy calls at the time meeting due to start and advises his location. He’s at least twenty minutes away. I tell him don’t bother coming. The meeting had a hard stop after one hour. Traffic was no worse than usual. For morning meetings I often use breakfast to buffer risk of being late, but even that gets thwarted at times. Rude. Disrespectful. Unprofessional. I can go on.

  3. I believe when one is late on a continual basis it is a control issue. Also a lack of self-responsibility. I read a book recently called “Simple Happy,” by a man named Andy Feld. I mention this book because the author touches on these characteristics in a refreshing way. Old unpleasant habits are hard to change, but they are impossible to change until we recognize them as being detrimental to ourselves and to others.
    thanks for listening,
    Kim

  4. I believe when one is late on a continual basis it is a control issue. Also a lack of self-responsibility. I read a book recently called “Simple Happy,” by a man named Andy Feld. I mention this book because the author touches on these characteristics in a refreshing way. Old unpleasant habits are hard to change, but they are impossible to change until we recognize them as being detrimental to ourselves and to others.
    thanks for listening,
    Kim

  5. Thanks. it’s very true what your writing is, im always late, and it keep stressing me up after i realize that im late. I guess i tolerated being late and hold to the last minute. doesn’t appreciate time. hopefully now i’ll try to stop tolerating it.
    thanks.

  6. Thanks. it’s very true what your writing is, im always late, and it keep stressing me up after i realize that im late. I guess i tolerated being late and hold to the last minute. doesn’t appreciate time. hopefully now i’ll try to stop tolerating it.
    thanks.

  7. Myself and my fiancee have just launched what we are calling our “War on Lateness”.

    As you’ve mentioned, we were tired of always rushing, always being five or ten minutes late, and never being relaxed at the start of any engagement or meeting.

    Now we are determined to be early. Never on time, always early. And enjoy the earliness by relaxing.

    I think if you’re someone who’s often a bit late and you try to be just on-time or a few minutes early, you won’t change much (those last few minutes go very quickly!). Aim to be half an hour early! It’s a bit different for meeting or appointments in the same place, but when you’re traveling somewhere, be early.

    Our “war” is going well so far, we really are enjoying what we are doing and our whole days a lot more now we are not running late.

    Now to just make it a habit…

    On another note, I love getting to meetings ten minutes early – you get to choose your seat, do ten minutes of catchup work in your diary or whatever (away from your computer), or have a informal catchup chat with your colleagues!

  8. Myself and my fiancee have just launched what we are calling our “War on Lateness”.

    As you’ve mentioned, we were tired of always rushing, always being five or ten minutes late, and never being relaxed at the start of any engagement or meeting.

    Now we are determined to be early. Never on time, always early. And enjoy the earliness by relaxing.

    I think if you’re someone who’s often a bit late and you try to be just on-time or a few minutes early, you won’t change much (those last few minutes go very quickly!). Aim to be half an hour early! It’s a bit different for meeting or appointments in the same place, but when you’re traveling somewhere, be early.

    Our “war” is going well so far, we really are enjoying what we are doing and our whole days a lot more now we are not running late.

    Now to just make it a habit…

    On another note, I love getting to meetings ten minutes early – you get to choose your seat, do ten minutes of catchup work in your diary or whatever (away from your computer), or have a informal catchup chat with your colleagues!

  9. Being late relative to meeting others is an act of total disrespect, lack of love, and arrogance. It says to another ‘my time is more important than yours’. Self integrity means being on time, always! Make it a practice, lead by example, and slowly whenever possible weed out those who do not embrace it. Thanks very much for the dialogue. Andy

  10. Being late relative to meeting others is an act of total disrespect, lack of love, and arrogance. It says to another ‘my time is more important than yours’. Self integrity means being on time, always! Make it a practice, lead by example, and slowly whenever possible weed out those who do not embrace it. Thanks very much for the dialogue. Andy

  11. Frustrated with several consistent late-comers, and to prove a point, I turned up 30 minutes late to one meeting. I was horrified to discover that the meeting still hadn’t started; everyone was just milling around.

  12. Frustrated with several consistent late-comers, and to prove a point, I turned up 30 minutes late to one meeting. I was horrified to discover that the meeting still hadn't started; everyone was just milling around.

  13. I am working with a team at a local college to put on a major conference. I'm the consultant. They are the in-house people. Without fail, I arrive on time and wait usually 15-20 minutes before they arrive. Sometimes I get a call. I have mentioned it but it doesn't seem to impact their choice to be habitually late. The first two times it happened I thought I had the wrong day or place! I don't know how to broach this further. As an outsider and not wanting to make enemies early on in the project, I have so far tolerated the matter but feel I need to address it full on. Any ideas??? Thanks! kathleen

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