Today I experienced an event that happens from time to time. Namely I arrived at pre arranged meeting place for appointment at the agreed time. Only to find the other person is not there, My value system is that after 15 minutes I leave. Sometimes this is hard to do because the meeting may have possible advantages to me. However when I have stayed longer(very few times) and the result is the same. The effect is a double hit because now I have broken my internal value also. Of course I keep and open mind on why it may happen, after all the person could have had accident or any other explanable reason. Question, should you remind the other person of the appointment (say by email 4 hours before the appointment. Possibly Mike & Mark you could build a podcast around this side of calendar and effective time management. Thanks in advance for the feedback. Best Swedejoey

TomW's picture
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Don't send them reminders. It's not your job to manage other people's schedules.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I agree with Tom's second statement (it's not your job to manage other people's schedules) but can't agree with the assertion that you should not send reminders.

Well, kinda.

Whilst sending an explicit reminder (i.e. "Hey Bob, don't forget our meeting in the Apollo room at 14:00 about Project XYZ.") probably isn't something you should be seen to be doing, getting in contact in a way that reminds them but doesn't actually sound like a reminder (i.e. "Hey Bob! Really looking forward to our meeting this afternoon about Project XYZ. Did you get those figures on the IT component OK? See you at two in the Apollo room.") may be a good idea. Especially if the meeting is important for your effectiveness.


BJ_Marshall's picture
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If I have a meeting at 10:00 a.m. but my 9:00 a.m. meeting with the boss runs long because he NEEDS to cover something with me, I'm probably going to ditch the 10:00 meeting. And I'm probably not going to be able to call or txt people to let them know why I'm missing the meeting.

Now, I would also reschedule as soon as possible, but that's me. If your absentee meeting chair doesn't reschedule, I might pop them a line with "Sorry you couldn't make the 10:00 meeting - is there a time we can reschedule? I'd really like to talk with you about the IT component of Project XYZ."


kklogic's picture

While I agree that it's not your job to manage their schedule, you are responsible for managing yours. Therefore, I don't think an email that says, "Hey, Suzi. I'm looking forward to our lunch meeting at noon tomorrow at Joe's Restaurant. I'll see you then!" is such a bad thing.

Are you talking about that kind of out of the ordinary meeting or are you talking about a normal meeting in the office? Is this person who isn't making the meeting on time above you on the org chart? It's really not uncommon for C-Suite folks in big companies to double and triple book their time. It's not polite in regular society, but it happens. And it is definitely not wise to corect them on it.

thaGUma's picture

[quote]My value system is that after 15 minutes I leave.[/quote]
This is short sighted and needs to be considered against the value of the meeting. This approach could break relationships – costly when it includes external clients/customers. Many a marriage would have been cancelled too with a bride exercising her traditional rights. Spend your time finding out where the person is. Then decide whether to re-schedule.

In answer to your question. I agree with the others a reminder is a good thing. 1. It reminds the person: less chance of a missed meet and saves embarrassment if double booked etc. 2. It shows you in a good light – organised and displaying that the meeting is important. The amount of time the reminder is set for will depend on distance, importance etc. If it is less than a few hours, I would telephone rather than email.


sklosky's picture


I've found that when someone is late, a quick phone call letting them know that you're waiting is very effective. In some cases, I've been able to meet soon after the call.

I think that a timely reminder phone call is more effective than a four hour prior reminder.


TomW's picture
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It doesn't sound like anyone is talking about prewiring a meeting, making sure that the team is prepared, or even sending out agendas. Instead, the reminders here sound somewhere between a mother reminding a teenager to be home on time for dinner and an over-eager first date.

It sounds like you are just worried about someone else missing a meeting and wasting your time. Guess what: If they don't report to you, it's beyond your control. Missed meetings happen all the time. (I usually have some other work with me just in case I have to wait 20 minutes.)

This is the 21st century and every manager that's worth anything is keeping some kind of calendar to keep track of appointments, whether it's electronic or on paper.

If the person is ignoring what's on their calendar for an emergency issue, a reminder won't matter. If the person is triple booked, they will just pick whichever one has the highest priority. Worse, sending a reminder adds an administrative task to your schedule. You have better things to do than worry about someone else's schedule.

It may not show you in a good light. It might make the the person think "I don't need a reminder. I use Outlook and already get reminders." Just saying "I'm looking forward to out meeting" doesn't tell anyone that it's important.

Now, there may be some need for DISC considerations here. Think about the recipient. The High D might be annoyed. The High I might be happy to chat a little (10 emails in a row, like it's IM, even). The High D might be happy to confirm tomorrow's schedule. None of these reactions will actually influence the person to show up, though.

If you want to try to influence people to show up, you might try:
- sending out an agenda the day before (D)
- tell them about all the other cool people who will be there (I)
- asking specific questions about the meeting topic that relate to that person's concerns (C especially, but could be any)

It's about team effectiveness, not whether you get stood up for a meeting. Sometimes things come up that are more important that the meeting. It's beyond your control of even your influence.

I dare you to ask your CEO why he missed a meeting after you sent him a reminder. "And the truth shall set you free!"

asteriskrntt1's picture

Replace the word reminder with confirmation... sales people do it all the time.... I am not driving across town for a meeting someone is not taking seriously.

Confirming with someone is not managing them, it is managing you.


bug_girl's picture

Hey Tom, you left this out of your list:

o Asking people for input on the meeting agenda (S)


TomW's picture
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[quote="bug_girl"]Hey Tom, you left this out of your list:

o Asking people for input on the meeting agenda (S)[/quote]

Thanks, bug_girl! I can never get high S characteristics right.

Peter.westley's picture
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If it's important to me and is not just a stroll to the meeting room down the hall (ie. little effort to get to), and particularly if the meeting was originally scheduled more than a couple of weeks beforehand, I send confirmations all the time:

[i]"G'Day Bob, looking forward to our meeting on Wednesday, is there anything you'd like to add to the agenda?"[/i]

The same "confireminder" (hey I just coined a word!) is useful for other situations such as seminar events you might be organising or even regular "club" like meetings. I have found a timely, polite, prompt will do wonders to attendance.

For example, I have been involved in organising regular seminars around leadership and management for the state division of the national engineering association. Our invitation list is simply an email list. Our invites go out about 6 weeks before the event and then adding a reminder about 1 week before hand has significantly improved the attendance compared to when we don't send a reminder.

I know this isn't strictly equivalent to a meeting but I've seen the principle work very well. Just because something gets on a person's calendar, it doesn't mean it's top of mind. Even the best time managers can have an incorrect image of their upcoming calendar in their mind and therefore forget an appointment.