Consider this as a gift of found time
Your counter argument may be that you don’t have time to waste hanging around reception areas or waiting for the rest of the team to log on…
I can tell you with assurance that being early will never waste your time – it gives you the unexpected gift of calmness and confidence. If you decide to log on at the start time of the meeting and then you are scrambling to find the link – you will show up flustered and not bring your full self to the meeting. It’s the same showing up in person – imagine you are giving a huge presentation and you have been delayed by 20 minutes in traffic or couldn’t find a parking spot close to the reception.
This results in you being riddled with anxiety, stress and irritation. Not a great formula to nail the pitch! Again, when you are the only person who is still searching for the link or making the group wait, you are creating an impression that you are unreliable. You are showing up in a way that makes people question your ability to plan effectively.
How many times have you heard yourself say ‘I would love to read or study but I just don’t have the time’? When you plan ahead and you arrive at your meeting early, you’ve signed in and now have 10 to 15 minutes of waiting time.
Embrace this as a gift – I always keep my Kindle in my bag or have a Podcast ready to go so I can use this time for my personal development. What’s your alternative – scrolling the socials because you feel like what else are you meant to do?
The attitude of ‘it’s just 10 minutes’ will sabotage you in the long run. Consider that these pockets of time add up and you can get through articles, books and podcasts if you utilise your waiting time more constructively.
Think about it – you are never truly productive before a meeting because you don’t start a new task when you only have a small gap of time before you need to leave or login. Give yourself permission to log in early, be ready to go and enjoy some much needed you time.
Life happens and there will be days where you are late even if you planned ahead – that’s called life. Maybe you only checked Waze as you were leaving and you can see you will be delayed, then make sure you send a message letting the person know.
Send a WhatsApp or email if you get held up in traffic or the power goes and it will take a few more minutes to get online. If the meeting is at 10AM, sending a message at 10AM is too late – it means you really never bothered to plan ahead.
People generally do understand but the key is to manage the expectation ahead of time. Don’t make the person wait 10 minutes for you and then explain why you were late. By then, it’s too late – you have annoyed them and possibly already dented your personal brand.
It may sound extreme but we are all under more pressure now than ever. Our time is so precious so make sure you do everything in your power to respect not only their time but yours.
2. Make eye contact
“Listen with your eyes as well as your ears.”- Graham Speechley
The ability to make eye contact in a conversation will speak louder than any combination of words put together. It is a conscious action to show the other person that you are focused on them and giving them your full attention. Eye contact facilitates connection and deepens report.
Think about when you have tried to engage in a conversation and the other person is glued to their smart phone or barely looks over the laptop. The immediate perception that forms about this person is that they are rude, insincere and you are left feeling disregarded.
Eye contact demonstrates your intention – you are present, attentive and care about what the other person has to say. This is especially important during lockdown when we are isolated from friends, family, colleagues and clients.
Connection is crucial so please think twice about showing up with the camera off for your meetings. If you can’t see their face, you lose so much crucial non-verbal information.
Perhaps you have to deliver some tough news but you can’t see the person’s reaction and you assume everything is fine. If you do have some difficult feedback to deliver, have the respect to look in the person’s eyes – it will go a long way to nurturing the relationship.