Finally you arrive at the meeting, slightly out of breath. You burst into the room, everyone looks up and you begin a familiar pattern: Apology followed by details about why you were late (alternating between how busy you are and how everyone messed up and got in your way). Minutes later your heart beat settles back to normal and the meeting gets back on course.
Simple Concept: If the meeting is important and you are an important part of it: leave enough time to get there on time (which generally means early).
Easy to say…and often you have the intention of leaving enough time…but…but…but. Here is the way to handle being late in the future.
Simpler Concept: If you do arrive late…leave the drama outside.
The meeting is already underway….the meeting is more important that you are. Find a way to settle down and slip into the meeting instead of forcing the meeting to match your frantic emotional state.
Here’s how to arrive late:
- On the way to the meeting realize the your arrival time has already been determined. Speeding in traffic and running down hallways will only make you more anxious not really affect your arrival time. And even if it does (which it won’t) you’ll arrive sweaty and anxious …which are probably not the best parts of you.
- On the way to the meeting begin to check in about your emotional state. Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that you need to adapt yourself to the work at hand not hi-jack the meeting to your drama. Open the door slowly and join the meeting. Resist the temptation to rush in and grab a seat. Match the energy in the room…and get yourself into an open mindset focused on joining the meeting in progress.
- What to say: As little as possible. If anything a simple and short recognition of your late arrival.
Follow these two steps and you’ll be more productive and a better team member. And who knows….you may start arriving early.
William Hall is an actor, trainer and improviser living in San Francisco, CA. He works with companies to engage and involve audiences at Trade Shows, Conferences and Training Sessions. He is a founder of BATS Improv and the author of The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers.