Sylvia Henderson

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SL Column: They're Waiting For You

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 They’re Waiting for You

     Time management classes teach you how to juggle the commitments you make. The classes don’t seem to cover what to do when you drop one of the balls you’ve tried to keep up in the air. What do you do when you find yourself running late – for whatever reasons – and you know someone is waiting for you at your next appointment?

  • If at all possible, take the trouble to apologize in person. Tell your client how long you are likely to be delayed. If you are away from your office, ask a colleague to do this for you.
  • Pamper the waiting person if your delay will only be a few minutes. Offer refreshments and reading material. Offer the use of your land-line telephone so that your client can be productive by making calls without using their cell minutes.
  • Reschedule the meeting if you anticipate a delay of longer than 15-to-20 minutes. Do not keep someone waiting longer. If you cannot get away from the urgent situation delaying you, explain the situation, apologize, and schedule another meeting.
  • When you return, call to express regret for wasting your client’s time. Show respect for their time as well as your own.

     Your top priority when you regain control of your schedule is to make amends and restore goodwill.

Bonus gift: Learn more about how to make better use of your time at

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