You’re attending a business conference, event or meeting. Everyone is settled and things are underway. Inevitably, someone comes rushing in late and completely disrupts the room. She apologizes to her table as she sits down, further interrupting the flow of the meeting. Then, she takes her time to get settled and asks to borrow your pen because she forgot hers. You can picture her, right? She seems to be the one who is always late. Is she you?
As is relates to your personal brand, every fine detail matters. The subliminal messages sent when you show up late and unprepared is one that reads, “That’s how she handles her business, too.” Ouch. Yep.
Studies show that most people who are chronically late don’t do it to be rude or disrespectful, but that is exactly how it comes across in a business environment. Most studies show that people who are habitually late experience time differently.
“Lateness is really a commonly misunderstood problem,” says Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again, who has conducted her own research on the perpetually tardy. “Yes, it’s a rude act, but I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and the vast majority of late people really dislike being late, they try to be on time, but this is something that has plagued them throughout their lives. Telling a chronic late person to be on time is like telling a dieter, ‘Don’t eat so much.'”
The root cause can stem from childhood, cultural norms, over-scheduling and those who are easily distracted. Some people even thrive on the thrill of a deadline and never seem to quite make it.
Regardless of the reasons for tardiness, 80% of successful business professionals surveyed view lateness as rude, disrespectful and a waste of time and money.
Planning- Once a week take the time to review your calendar for the upcoming week. Determine what you’re wearing and prepare what you’ll need to take to each event. Think ahead. If you’re attending a networking event, be sure to pack your business cards, pamphlets or brochures, a notepad, and a pen. You may even want to create a checklist. Familiarize yourself with your destination, enter the address in your nav system or print out directions. You’ll have a better idea of the travel time you’ll need. This may seem simplistic, but when you show up on time and prepared it’s a positive reflection on your brand.
Taking that a step further. Take a look at your calendar nightly to review the next day’s schedule. Do you need gas? Cash?
Plan to arrive early. If you’re punctually challenged, calendar everything earlier than its start time. If the meeting begins at 8:00 am, put it on your calendar for 7:40 am. The best part, when you do arrive early you’ll have the opportunity to lend a helping hand with set-up and make and deepen connections with others. No doubt the leader of the group will be there, too. What better way to make an impression on those of influence. Great for your personal brand.
Another early arrival perk is the ability to spend a few minutes in your car, prepping yourself mentally, taking some deep breaths or quieting your mind if that’s what you need. This exercise helps ground you and gets you present. Just don’t spend too much time on this and arrive late :)!
Why do you think people are consistently late? How do you think it reflects on their image? Do you have any suggestions?