How often are you stood up for a business meeting?

I’m completely surprised when I hear people saying they have been stood up for a business meeting. Now let me clarify. When I say stood up, I mean your appointment was a no-show. They didn’t call to say they were running late, they didn’t call to reschedule, they didn’t pass go, they didn’t collect $200. You had every intention to meet with them as a ‘professional’ to discuss business, either as a referral partner, a prospect, or just a general get-together. And there you sit, waiting patiently. Sipping your five dollar mocha latte or drinking water in a restaurant, or worse yet, in the front office of their building. You look at your watch, check your phone, and look at your watch again. Finally fifteen, even twenty minutes have passed and you decide to call. Bob answers the phone and he is clueless that you had a scheduled appointment. You mention that you are waiting and Bob replies, “Oh, totally forgot. I got tied up. Let’s catch up sometime next week.”

You shake your head in awe that you have been sitting uncomfortably by yourself, you’re annoyed that you’ve wasted your time, and beyond that he didn’t even apologize. As you stutter and gasp in disbelief, you appease Bob and hang up the phone. You can’t believe the audacity of some people.

I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve had it happen to me once! And only once. That person didn’t get another opportunity. As a result, though, I’ve made sure that I confirm my appointment (especially if it’s someone who doesn’t seem the most organized) and I outline the purpose of our meeting. I do that for a couple of reasons. I once scheduled a meeting with a referral partner and the day of the meeting she called me and left a message saying she was unable to meet because she had to schedule an appointment with an important prospect. I called her back to reschedule and realized that what she basically had implied was that her meeting with me was not as important. That was very unfortunate for her, since I had every intention of passing her a couple of referrals. I just wanted to understand a few things first. After the realization hit me, I was offended. She didn’t stand me up, but she blew me off. She also wanted to reschedule and I obliged – but she cancelled that meeting too. Needless to say, I gracefully declined a third meeting.

So if you’ve been stood up, there are really only a couple of explanations: (1) the individual isn’t organized and forgot (unprofessional but it happens); or (2) you aren’t important enough to them. So if you want to avoid the embarrassment of checking your watch or having an awkward conversation, then confirm the appointment (and location) and set the agenda so they see the value of the time they will be spending with you. If it still happens, learn to be selective about how you choose to schedule your time.

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