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Late to a Meeting? 5 Tips to Make it Worse!

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Late to a meeting

Find Yourself Late to a Meeting? 5 Tips

So your late to a meeting. So what right? If you really cared about being there on time  you wouldn’t have been late to the meeting in the first place, correct? Here are five tips to make things even worse. They work every time – guarantee it!

1. Don’t bother even preparing for the meeting. Don’t read the agenda that was sent ahead of time, or do any of the other pre-work you have been asked to complete.

If you happen to see yourself on the agenda and find yourself not prepared this is a good time to let everyone know that you have been so busy lately that you didn’t even have a minute to look at the agenda and prepare. Then explain that the reason you were late to the meeting was due to how busy you are.

2. If you are going to be late to the meeting, make sure no one knows. Giving the meeting leader advance notice that you might be late, or calling to say that you are going to be late is just too respectful and polite. Why would you want to do that?

If you have to notify someone that you will be late it’s a good idea to over-promise and under-deliver. In other words if you are really 20 minutes from where the meeting is taking place, say you will be there in 5 minutes. That way people are waiting for you longer, but know that you will eventually get there.

3. Let everyone know that you are late by making a loud entrance. This is especially effective if you can find someone else who is late who you can talk and laugh with while walking down the hall into the meeting and then while you are opening the door.

The benefit to a loud entrance is bringing attention to yourself and that you are late. Now the meeting leader can go back through the entire agenda and catch you up on everything discussed to that point.

4. Provide a real lame excuse as to why you were late for the meeting.
Here are a few you might find helpful:

  • “The bartender wouldn’t let me leave.”
  • “Is it Spring forward, or is it Spring back?”
  • “Is it Fall forward, or is it Fall back?”
  • “Your watch must be fast…really.”
  • “You should have told us to be on time.”

5. Ask lots of questions that were discussed earlier in the agenda before you arrived. It is important that you understand what you missed right? So asking lots of questions will ensure that though you were late to the meeting, you don’t miss anything. People will just have to understand that your needs and time are more important than theirs.

Question: Do you have any additional tips, insights, comments or stories on how to make it worse when late to a meeting? I would love to hear them. Please comment below.

Related posts I thought you would like:

Importance of Being on Time – Fun Leadership Story

8 Important tips to help you waste time in meetings

Funny Conference Call Video – What annoys you most about conference calls?

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Leave a Comment

  • J. Murray May 21, 2012, 7:23 am

    A strong meeting leader can take on this bad behavior and keep the meeting on track.
    One of the strongest de-motivators (for the leader) is to stay focused on the tasks of the meeting. A conversation or allowing comments from late-comers can be firmly re-directed with something like, “We need to move forward with the agenda due to the time. Write down your questions and we can get you up to speed after the meeting if someone has time, or later in an e-mail.”
    It may sound harsh to some, but I think it’s more respectful than some of the behaviors described above – tongue in cheek, I understand, but a grain of truth nonetheless.

  • Mike Rogers May 22, 2012, 8:06 pm

    I like it J. Murray. Great useful tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • Ryan Giles May 22, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Liked it and shared with my network.

  • Al Spinks May 22, 2012, 7:20 pm

    I am in total agreement. Timeliness has always been a pet peeve of mine. How can leaders expect others to follow or do their bidding if they are not respectful of the time constraints of others?
    I have seen far too many “Leaders” put a timeframe on a meeting and then begin late as well as allow the meeting to far exceed the published end time.
    Leadership begins with small steps in the right direction.

  • Allison Dolan May 22, 2012, 7:23 pm

    Rather than asking a lot of questions, realize there is someone at the meeting you need to talk with ‘offline’, and carry on a sidebar while others try to conduct the meeting.
    Consider also powering up your laptop/iPad and read/respond to emails, checking your smartphone, taking calls. Perhaps interrupt the agenda with some news that is tangentially related to the meeting, your company or just your personal interest – preferably preceded by a loud exclamation or perhaps slamming the table: ‘hot damn, they did it’! [slam]’ Of course, apologize for interrupting the meeting, and have to be coaxed to share the news, which will derail the agenda.
    And then leave early, explaining that you are so busy you are double/triple booked.

  • Lisa F September 13, 2012, 8:44 am

    I laughed out loud. It is so funny because we all know these people. How is it that I buy into their “sales pitch” and think it is appropriate behavior? This article is a great reminder that their behavior is ridiculous.

  • Mike Rogers September 26, 2012, 1:32 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it Lisa : )

  • Mark Macy April 4, 2013, 7:13 am

    I love the angle you presented the whole article. It’s so true…they one late thinks life is about them. I’m wondering if they will even get that the article is about them…ha! Excellent job! I’m still laughing…so true.

    • Michael Rogers April 5, 2013, 7:59 am

      Thanks Mark. For those who late the post will probably fly over their head much like time does : ) LOL


  • Lydia Ramsey April 9, 2013, 12:43 pm

    This is a great article. I like your tongue-in-cheek style. My hope is that the peopke who do these things recognize their behaviors and change them out of consideration for others.

    • Michael Rogers April 9, 2013, 6:13 pm

      Glad you liked it Lydia. It’s my hope as well. That’s why I wrote it : ) Thanks for commenting!



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