I hate to be late. Really. I hate it. I’m much more lenient when it comes to another person being late. I understand that life happens. Still, I’d prefer that people not keep me waiting more than a few minutes.
By the way, calling to say you’ll be late is a very good idea. Just remember that you’ll still be late. Today people assume that if they call they get a pass. That’s simply not true. All it does is let the person waiting for you know approximately how late you’ll be.
Here’s the thing, being late tells the person you’re meeting that you believe your time is more valuable than theirs. That’s probably not the message you mean to send. On a personal level being late can frustrate your friends and give you a reputation for being flakey. On a business level it can ruin your professional reputation.
For this reason when I make an appointment with someone in my direct sales business I usually give a range of time in which I’ll arrive. This way I don’t have to worry about being early or late.
In the corporate world being too early can also reflect badly on you. It can make you look overeager or like you don’t have enough to do. The trick is to strike a balance. Don’t be more than 10 minutes early for any business appointment. If you’re running early, stop in a parking lot a block or so away and go over your notes, make calls, read a little, check your teeth, fix your makeup, etc.
A word of warning: don’t simply wait in the parking lot where you have the appointment. These are the days of constant surveillance. You don’t want the person you’re meeting with to watch you picking spinach out of your teeth.