Tag Archives: meeting etiquette

Punctuality: A Must for the Polished Professional

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Punctuality came to mind last week as I was racing down the road to get to an appointment, I had a sudden revelation. This is not uncommon for me. It has become a regular occurrence. I am never late–well, almost never, but I often arrive at meetings or appointments with only moments to spare.

Living in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, I am aware of what we call “Savannah time.” Few people arrive anywhere early. Most show up exactly at the appointed hour. Others wander in at their leisure, with an apology or an excuse, but late all the same. I feel myself on the verge of becoming one of the band of late-comers.

I tend to think I can get one more thing done before I leave for the meeting or event. For example, if the phone should ring just as I am headed for the door, I can’t resist answering it.  Good old-fashioned curiosity. By the time I get in my car and check the dashboard clock, I realize that if I am lucky and all the traffic lights work in my favor, I’ll be on time.

In a recent blog I wrote about developing good habits for 2018. The habit I need to work on is joining the punctual people. That doesn’t mean arriving just in the nick of time. It means following the advice of the late Vince Lombardi who said, “If you are fifteen minutes early, you are on time. If you are on time, you are late. If you are late, don’t bother to show up.” In Wisconsin they call that “Lombardi Time.”

From now on my goal is to arrive fifteen minutes early. Certainly no more than that because I don’t want to intrude on those setting up the meeting or managing the event.

Punctuality is critical to good business relationships. People who are late send a message that they don’t value other people’s time or that they have more important things to do.

Think how you are viewed when you don’t make the effort to be on time. Do you want to be seen as inconsiderate or self-important? That certainly won’t help you grow your business or represent your organization in a professional manner.

Here a few tips to help you with your punctuality and to keep you on “Lombardi time”.

  • Don’t stop to take the last phone call. If the call is important, the caller will leave you a message.
  • Have everything you need for the meeting or the event conveniently placed so you aren’t scrambling around trying to find things—like your keys—at the last minute.
  • Decide how long it will take you to get to the venue and add some extra time. Allow for traffic jams, road construction and other unexpected occurrences.
  • If you are not 100% sure where you are going, do a practice run whenever possible. No one will be impressed with your tale of how you got lost. You probably know by now that you can’t totally trust your GPS.
  • If the worst should happen and you arrive at the meeting late, quietly take a seat. This is no time to interrupt to make your apologies and launch into a lengthy explanation about why you were tardy.
  • Check the agenda to see what items have already been covered. The late-comer who interrupts to ask about an issue that was previously discussed is not appreciated.

Join me in vowing to be on “Lombardi Time” from now on. Old habits are hard to break, but what better time to start than early in a new year?

This article first appeared in the Savannah Morning News.




Etiquette for Effective Meetings

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business meetingOh no, not another meeting! How many times have you heard that cry? Every business, regardless of its size, has meetings.  They are a necessary part of getting things done.  If managed in the right way, they can be very effective.  Handled poorly, they can be major time wasters and harmful to productivity.

Good meetings allow people in an organization or on a team to learn what everyone else is doing, what each person’s responsibilities are and what progress is being made.  They can be empowering to individuals, helpful in developing leadership skills and morale boosters for the company.

Bad meetings, those without a focus, a clear agenda or proper planning, can undermine morale and create dissatisfaction.

When meetings get off track, here are seven simple steps for effective meetings to bring them back.

Be prepared.  Meetings are work so work on them.  The more preparation that goes into a meeting, the more effective it will be.

Have an agenda.  The agenda does not need to be lengthy or complicated.  A listing of the items to be addressed and by whom is sufficient.  The key is to get the agenda out ahead of time so everyone comes prepared. If you can’t decide on an agenda, could be you don’t need a meeting.

Pay attention to the time.  Start and end when you say you will.  Assigning time to each agenda item and having someone responsible for watching the clock is a helpful way to stay on schedule.

Have fewer meetings.  Consider if you can get the work done without a meeting.  You may be able to handle the issue with a phone call or e-mail.  When quantity decreases, quality will increase.

Carefully choose the participants.  It is important to have all points of view and a variety of participants, but be sure that everyone at the meeting has a good reason to be there.

Stay focused.  If the discussion starts to wander from the agenda, bring it back to the business at hand as quickly as possible.

Get feedback.  You may want to provide an evaluation form at the end of the meeting or if the group is small, you may find it easier to poll the participants. Ask what went well, what went wrong and what can be done to improve the next meeting.

Whether you are the leader or a participant, everyone involved in the meeting has a responsibility for seeing that it goes well.  It is not complicated; it simply requires commitment from all.

Here’s to effective meetings,

The holiday season is fast approaching so now, not later, is the time to get your copy of my newest eBook, Business Etiquette for the Holidays – Building Relationships Amid the Perils of the Season. It is available on my website, Manners That Sell, or on Amazon in the Kindle Store.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Business Meeting Tips Part I

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  1. Business meetings provide the opportunity to interact with clients, colleagues and others with whom you do business.  
  2. Evaluate the purpose of your business meeting. If you can’t find a good reason to have it, maybe you shouldn’t.  
  3. Don't ask people to attend a business meeting if you can accomplish the same goals with e-mail or a conference call.
  4. Have an agenda for your business meeting but be flexible.  It’s okay to digress if more important issues arise.
  5. Involve everyone during a business meeting.  Don’t make statements, ask questions.  Don’t make objections, ask more questions.

Stay tuned for Part II!