What to Do When You’re Late for a Meeting

Perhaps one of the most awful – not to mention embarrassing – things that can happen to anyone in the corporate setting is to arrive to a meeting late. Worst case scenario, you’re the presenter and the meeting has been delayed because you failed to turn up on time… uh-oh!

Whether you got up late, got stuck in a traffic or if you got caught in an unexpected incident, arriving late to a meeting shows a total lack of etiquette. The following guidelines will help you to get back on track, so you can recover the meeting when you finally arrive.

Running Businessman

© igor_kell / Adobe Stock

When you’re running late

Inform early
As soon as you realise that you’ll be arriving late, the first thing to do is notify your immediate superior of the situation. Informing them early gives everyone involved in the meeting the chance to evaluate the discussion. If you’re one of the key speakers or presenters, they can at least adjust the agenda so they can proceed without too much delay.

Do your best to get there as soon as possible
Whether you’re an hour or a minute away from the meeting, it is important to make sure that you actually get there. Chances are, everyone’s patiently waiting for you to arrive!

Try not to faff and try to remain prepared
The least you can do when you know you are going to be late is to prepare everything you need so that it is to hand – laptop, agenda, notes and other presentation materials. If you’ll be presenting, you can check your notes while you are on the way to better familiarise yourself with the topic.

Be honest and give it your all when you arrive
…And you made it at last! If you haven’t already informed your immediate superior of the situation, don’t even try to make any excuses. Remember, honesty is still the best policy!

Once you’re there, don’t eat into the remaining time explaining yourself. Have a seat or enter into your presentation immediately to better maximise the time that’s left.

Maintain composure
Don’t beat yourself up over it – this will likely affect your work performance and behaviour towards others. Instead, look ahead and focus on accomplishing your tasks for the remainder of the meeting.

What to do after the meeting

There’s no better way to apologise than to say the words outright and mean them! It’s also a great release to break any tension that might be growing.

Plan for future meetings
To avoid the same unfortunate incident from happening in the future, plan your routine for the day of the meeting. Fix a decent sleeping schedule where you can get the right amount of sleep, set your alarm clock and give yourself an hour or two to prepare. You can also look out for weather and traffic advisories to better prepare yourself once you hit the road.

Being late can be really unnerving but it can and does happen to anyone. You can always treat it as a learning experience to help improve your stance in your job. Call &Meetings on 0800 073 0499 for the most convenient meeting rooms in London that are ideally located… so you have a fighting chance of arriving on time!

Posted by Sara Cano


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