Disclaimer: Before you get all ruffled please read this LIFE happens. Many reasons get in the way of getting to places and meetings on time. Babies puke, tires go flat and sometimes you just spill coffee on yourself on your way out the door. Stuff happens…sometimes.
Punctuality. It’s a word you love or hate. There are just some people you KNOW will show up when they say they will and will be where they say they will be. There are also some people who claim "on time" is anywhere with a half hour to even an hour of the set time frame.
As stated in my disclaimer, I know things happen. I live life too. But here’s the clincher. There is something very personal and insulting about people who just can’t/refuse to mind their time and are perpetually late.
Let’s put it on me. If I tell a client I will meet them to discuss their wedding at 5 pm and I show up at 5:20. Do you know what that immediately tells my client? It tells them, they are not high on my priority list and my time is more valuable than theirs. If I can’t be on time to a meeting, will I be on time for their wedding day? It sets a terrible precedent right from the beginning.
The reverse is the same. If a client is late, I feel that they disregard my time as a professional. As much as I want EVERY client to feel special, each client is not my only. Sometimes I have back to back appointments, sometimes I have a little one waiting at home for dinner, sometimes it’s just polite to be on time.
My very good friend ( who I will not name) told me that being perpetually late is a childish behavior (ouch!). She says things more succinctly than I do. I can’t disagree. It does take planning to adhere to a schedule whether it be a dinner out with friends, a business meeting or just telling someone you will meet them for coffee. It says a lot about how you view their time and yours if you are always late. You are quietly and every so firmly announcing that your time is more valuable and you don’t respect theirs.
You may disagree. You may shake your head wildly. I never thought of being late as disrespectful either, until someone explained it the way I just explained to you. But let’s face it, we all have clocks. If we hate roman numerals, we have lots of digital answers to that. Being on time is a choice. (most of the time). A flat tire doesn’t happen every time you leave, a child doesn’t puke on you every time you walk out the door and if traffic is a problem, plan to leave early. It’s thoughtful, it’s professional, it’s kind to just be on time. Punctuality = respect. That is all. :)