I met with a manager.
She was late, a hurried employee, rushing back and forth, papers falling and stressed about deadlines. Between glances, the iPhone humming and chirping, there was a knock at the door, interrupting us before any progress could be started. The next appointment stood, waiting outside.
We were 15 minutes into a 30 minute meeting that took 2 weeks to schedule and we were not moving forward on anything. We spoke, both in a rushed sloppy way, repeating ourselves and not covering much ground. An urgent document was signed for, the receptionist silently whisked in and out, the train of conversation clunking along uninterrupted. I left on time, by getting up mid-sentence and walking to the door. I thanked her for her time. She nodded, face down in a text message, while the next appointment rushed in.
That is not how I want to be remembered.
My meetings will be effective walking meetings. I will be early and leave when it is appropriate. I will be in tune and focussed and uninterrupted. I want people I work with to feel valued, respected, appreciated. And if timelines bunch up on me, I will work smarter, not faster or harder. I can delegate, say no, have assistance, or think further in the future.
We have such short moments to build a reputation, and mine will be that of a calm respectful person who has the time to help others.
Dieter Wentzel, CPHR