What prompted me to write this post today?
I was stood up.
Most people would be bothered if someone didn't show up for a meeting and failed to send a cancellation message. Simply by the fact that they took time away from their schedule.
That doesn't bother me.
I suggested meeting at my local coffee shop because I would have been there at that time anyway.
Once at 10am for my morning matcha and then again at 3pm for an afternoon shot of espresso. And it also supposedly worked for them as well. It was supposedly mutually convenient.
What does frustrate me is that people don't stick to their word. This deeply bothers me. It affects my perception of someone in a lasting way.
I'll likely never want to do business with these two people.
Harsh? I don't think so. It's a complete lack of respect. And that's the foundation of any relationship. Business or personal.
How to Show Respect
There are three simple rules I have used in life and in business since grad school at NYU.
Joseph Truncale, Ph.D. was my professor for Managerial Finance. Aside from being an excellent professor, he had some really thoughtful and intelligent perspectives on business and life. I'm not sure if he came up with this or if he got it from someone else, but regardless it's gold. Thanks, Joe. (I know you have a google alert set your name and will see this. Hi!)
- Say 'Please' and 'Thank You'.
- Show up on time.
- Do what you say you're going to do.
These are really, really simple rules. They seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people don't do these three simple things.
Say 'Please' and 'Thank You'
Your mom taught you this. It works. It's stupid simple. It takes almost no effort.
It's one of the easiest ways to show respect. Even though it's one or two words, there's a lot packed into each of those phrases. It shows you recognize the effort that went into what that person has done for you. You understand that effort was involved and you appreciate it. You can convey that with one word. Just do it.
Do it when you're paying for coffee, do it when you get a raise, do it when you're asking your colleague for a report. Do it all the time.
Show up on Time
You have to be somewhere at a particular time. You knew about it in advance.
You likely had hours if not days to plan and adjust your schedule to ensure your on-time arrival.
There is no excuse aside from a disaster or personal injury.
Showing up on time conveys respect towards the person your meeting. It shows that you care about them. About their time.
But if you do have to be late, call or message ahead. And don't make an excuse. Acknowledge that you were late and provide a reason. Leave it at that.
But it's best just never to be late.
I'm always at least 10 minutes early to any meeting. That's just my buffer time in case something did happen like a delayed subway or running into someone.
Do What You Say Your Going to Do
This one is big. It's almost a universal (meaning you almost don't even need the first two if you stick to this one).
If you tell someone you're going to do a thing...
do the thing.
Don't not do it. And then make an excuse about why you didn't get around to doing it.
This rule goes by other names:
Be true to your word, keep your promise, integrity.
Integrity is so important. This word is always so vaguely defined.
I like to explain it by saying it's doing what's right even when no one is looking.
Do more than 95% of population
If you do these three things on a daily basis, you'll be doing more than 95% of the people out there.
I have no citation for that statistic.
But it just sounds right to me.
Out of the last 50 people I've done business with this year, only 2-3 of them followed these three rules.