So what does being late to a business appointment say about you?



It always amazes me when people turn up to a business appointment 10, 20 or in one case recently 70 minutes late! Having lived & worked in London I know the perils of travel & the unreliability of public transport, but when the meeting is a few minutes from your home/ office what’s the excuse? What does it say about your respect for the person you’re meeting? For me it makes me feel that they don’t value my services & even if they are paying for my time then I feel guilty that they won’t be getting good value from the time they’ve paid for, even when they have actually made that decision for themselves.


In corporate life it always amazed me at the number of people who turned up late to a meeting, even when it was held in the same building. Again there was always the phone all that you couldn’t hang up on, or was giving you information for the meeting, but in principle those were occasional events. There were always some people you could guarantee would be the last ones into the room. In those cases the cost to the company could be phenomenal if the wasted time were ever added up.  So why is it different if you’re running a smaller business? Our time is precious enough without it being wasted.


And at the other end of the scale is the person who asks for a 30 minute meeting & then because of bad preparation the meeting goes on for 2 hours. If the meeting extends because you’ve got lots to talk about & the meeting is productive for both parties it can be more effective to carry on then to call a halt & reschedule to have a follow up meeting, but that isn’t always the case.

So maybe a few minutes late or over running is excusable, particularly when accompanied by an apology & an explanation, but what about when that isn’t forthcoming? What do you do?


I always try to make sure I get somewhere early – I always have a phone call or email to make/ write/ read or check on my social media feeds. And if for some reason I am delayed then I phone to let the person know where I am & when I anticipate getting to them. Hopefully they can then make productive use of the time rather than sitting twiddling their thumbs.

And for those interested, the 70 minute late appointment didn’t apologise and at the end of the meeting asked when we could meet for the missed hour….. my answer was that I had given them the 2 hours they had asked for. It wasn’t my problem that they had chosen not to use them well.


So how does someone being late for a meeting with you make you feel? And can anyone beat the 70 minute late record? (I did only sit & wait because I had another meeting at the same place immediately afterwards!)

Written by Philippa Bowen

Philippa is an enperienced business owner who has worked in the private , public & charitable sectors and for large & small businesses. Her passion is helping business owners to get the best from their businesses in the most efficient manner & using social media to do that. You can usually find her on twitter at @philippabowen
or you can contact her via:
07885 610228

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