We all have it, but do we all use it wisely? It’s often said that time is money; you wouldn’t waste your hard-earned, so why waste your time?
Poor time management means days run into each other but not much gets done; having a good grasp of the virtues of organisation, of processes and planning and your productivity can rocket. You won’t gain more hours in the day – you’ll have just learned how to use your time more effectively.
When meeting contacts it’s not just a case of impeccable manners to arrive in good time; it’s also about trust and value. If you’re meeting a new contact, it’s important to make a good first impression, but if your contact has to wait for you for a notable length of time it won’t matter if you’ve worn your best suit or if you have the firmest handshake. You may seriously affect your relationship and any opportunities your contact could bring.
If you’re late frequently you give the message to the other party that your time is more valuable than theirs – which, of course, it isn’t. It’s a sure-fire way to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Similarly, if you choose to treat every meeting as a ‘jolly’ away from work, pushing the conversation away from the subjects at hand to make it last longer, your contact will be loathe to deal with you again, and you may be branded a time-waster. Time is valuable to everyone and though we may have our own ideas on how to use it best, it’s not fair to disrespect other people’s time in the process.
A common lament from my clients is that they ‘don’t have time’ to do this, or implement that. No one can eke out more minutes for themselves; we’re all allotted the same twenty-four hours in a day. Consider people like Richard Branson or Donald Trump – they have the same amount of time as everyone else. Their success has been a result of using their time to maximum effect. Had they procrastinated and said to themselves, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, their careers may have looked very different.
So, what can you do to make sure your meetings are productive and not a waste of time?
- Prepare: Make sure you have all necessary documentation pertaining to your meeting, topic of discussion or matter at hand before you go.
- Form an agenda: This may be an informal email to your contact beforehand suggesting items that warrant discussion. Even if it’s an introductory meeting or a catch-up, where there appears no firm topic or issue to deliberate, consider your contact and what you’d like to ascertain. Having an agenda or purpose helps keep the meeting on point, even if you only have a mental checklist.
- Plan your journey: Calculate how long it takes to get to where you’re meeting your contact. Add on ten minutes in case of traffic or if you haven’t been to the venue before. Also, make sure you take the mobile number of your contact so that you can inform them if you are unavoidably late. Circumstances can work against us; show manners and keep your contact abreast of developments – they’ll appreciate the consideration.
- Keep your conversation on point: Veering off the subject is easily done, which is why it’s best to make a conscious effort to stay relevant. Your contact may want to know more about you but if you find yourself reaching for your holiday snaps it’s likely that boundaries have been crossed. Ensuring your talk is a two-way interaction also gives your contact opportunities to close the meeting – if you’re droning on and on they may see interrupting you as impolite, despite both your time being wasted. Use your ears as well as your mouth – your meeting will be richer for it.
If you’re one of those people who are eternally late to meetings, events and social get-togethers, you may just feel you’re a bit of a free spirit. The rest of us, however, think differently, as we patiently but frustratingly wait for you to arrive.
Time is precious….for everyone. Emotional intelligence is requisite for leaders, managers and executives; recognising others’ needs as well as your own will continually prove beneficial with clients and connections, and also help with team building.
Would you like my help to get more from your meetings, or from your time? Call me on 01302 220221 for further details on executive coaching or management coaching sessions.
Thanks to freedigtalphotos.net for use of the images
- Posted in: Career Coaching ♦ Emotional Intelligence ♦ Executive Coaching ♦ Leadership Coaching ♦ Management Coaching
- Tagged: agenda, career coaching, contingency plans, efficiency, emotional intelligence, executive coaching, Leadership Coaching, Management Coaching, manners in business, meetings, productive meetings, team building, time and productivity, time management