I recently had a meeting cancelled on me at short notice. Usually this isn’t a problem but unfortunately I was already on my way travelling up to London, so only found out when I got there after a two and a half hour journey.
Two attendees had phoned at very short notice (two hours before the meeting was due to start) making our objective for all of us to meet face to face for the first meeting of the year fairly redundant. Another person was in a similar position having also travelled in to London.
There will always be unexpected or unplanned events or reasons for short notice cancellation – sickness, family, accidents, unavoidable traffic or travel delays.
When you agree to attend a meeting you’re committing your time and the time of others. You set an expectation that you will be there. Respect other people’s time.
If you have to cancel – give plenty of notice. Just because you don’t have far to travel, isn’t always the case for everyone.
Don’t commit to a meeting you know you won’t be able to make. Too many times people say ‘yes’ and agree to a meeting without really thinking it through. Only realising too late that they have another meeting immediately before or after, they have other commitments at that time, they’re working on a project so won’t be able to attend.
If something else comes up – say you’re already committed. Look ahead. If you thought you’d be able to make it when the meeting was first booked but then realise that you have other commitments or other priorities come up – rearrange … in good time.
If your disorganisation, lack of planning or overcommitment means you can’t make the meeting – make sure it doesn’t happen again. How would you feel if you turned up for a meeting and found it had been cancelled but no one had let you know?
On the plus side – I was able to write a couple of articles and respond to a few emails on the train journey there and back.