Can we at least just show up?

2 06 2011

Is it just me, or does getting stood up for a meeting make anyone else absolutely insane? If you’re with me on this, raise your digital hand.

This morning I set the alarm early to get up and have power coffee at a power location at the crack of power dawn with a person who finally returned my fourth phone call. It would be one thing if I were one of those power morning people who can’t wait to get out of bed. I’m not. I can, however, be somewhere early when I have to be. Just don’t expect me be remotely personable. If you want to chatter without interruption at a mute nodding head, schedule early coffee with me.

But if you do schedule early coffee with me because you’re one of those power people, could you please at least show up?

For the second time in as many days today I spent twenty minutes amongst the rooster-rousting power elite at a local coffee house, waiting. For someone who simply didn’t appear. No email, no text, no call, no nothing. No show. And this isn’t a rare occurrence. Honestly, I’m really stunned at the number of times I show up at the appointed time and place only to find crickets.

Have I ever missed a meeting because I failed to write it down or remember it? Sure I have. Nobody’s perfect. Mea culpa. And if I find out that the people who stood me up over the last few weeks were dealing with personal crisis or unforeseen accidents or soap-opera amnesia or even a good-faith goof, I’m going to cut them some slack. All the same, let’s agree that there should be some accepted rules of engagement when you accept an appointment with someone. Here are a few.

  • Don’t schedule an appointment if you don’t want to keep it. We can’t meet with everyone who wants a piece of our day, and deep inside we know when we really don’t want to meet with someone. I’m a big boy. If you don’t want to meet with me, just tell me. Your time is important. Mine is too. So is everybody’s.
  • Exchange cell numbers in advance of the meeting. I’m old enough to remember the days of being stuck in traffic with no way to let anyone know I’d been delayed. Those days are gone. You have a cell phone, and I have a cell phone. All god’s children have cell phones. If you plan to meet someone, exchange cell numbers so you can get in touch with each other if something comes up. If you’re going to be late, call.
  • Check your calendar. In advance. Like more than two minutes in advance. Why not pencil in a few minutes every morning to look at TOMORROW’S calendar. Do you have six things scheduled at the same time? Decide which appointments you’ll keep, which ones you won’t, and let people know.
  • Confirm appointments. I’ll confess, for most of my life I haven’t confirmed appointments in advance. I just assumed that people are going to do what they say they’re going to do. The result? This blog. Again, my bad. From here on out, the plan is to call or email in advance to affirmatively communicate my understanding of the time and place of all pending meetings. If I don’t do that, shame on me. If you get that message and don’t get back to let me know otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to assume that you’re going to attend. If you no-show after you’ve confirmed, that’s just tacky.

OK, I feel better. It’s 8:30 AM, and I can go back to bed.

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One response

17 10 2011
sam statton

Boy, is this on target.
So what’s wrong with a simple confirmation.
Things change, and we need to make certain the
path is clear and we’ll meet.
If you don’t, you take a risk that you’ll be there and
that’s it. Lonely out there.
Thanks for your words.

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