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Have you ever booked a meeting with others, only to have them show up late? Or started a meeting, only to have some of the participants spend half the time checking their BlackBerry? Or watched as a few attendees leave early because of other commitments?

Putting aside the rudeness of this behavior, it points to a single ugly truth: You – or the subject of your meeting – are not a priority. Yet, is there something you could do to change this? Consider these ideas:

  • Only invite those who are absolutely required to make a decision. You can always send a “For Your Information” memo to others afterward.
  • Schedule the meeting to be significantly shorter than usual
  • Send an agenda beforehand
  • Try a standing-up meeting; instead of booking a meeting room, meet just outside someone’s office, or standing at the water cooler.
  • Set the ground rules, and then enforce them: start and end on time.

As managers we would never accept tardiness or lack of attention from potential job candidates, so how can it be acceptable from those already employed? It isn’t – yet the behavior must have been learned somewhere.

This week’s action item: Resolve never to show up late, always give 100% of your attention, and to stay to the end of each meeting you attend. Not only will you get more out of the meeting, but you will set a great example – one that others will reciprocate.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Who is more important?

by Randall Craig on August 21, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking, New Job, Promotion

Tagged as: , ,

When you are speaking to a large group, who is more important – the audience or you?

Think about it, there is an entire audience sitting on the edge of their chairs, listening to each and every one of your words. You may have been paid thousands to deliver your speech. And there you are, on the platform, under the bright lights with a microphone in your hand. So who is more important – them or you?

While not many readers may be professional speakers, the same question arises when you are being considered for a promotion or a new job: who is more important – them or you?

And again: when you are about to make that big sales pitch, who is more important – them or you?

At the risk of sounding rude, the number one rule of beginning relationships is that no one cares about you — they only care about how you can solve their problem. In all three of the above cases, we typically forget that we are in the limelight only because someone has put us there. And they’ve done so for a reason.

As soon as you realize it is not all about “me”, then it is easier to begin understanding all about “them” – and their reason. This must happen if you are hoping to meet their needs.

This week’s action item: Before your next meeting of any type, write down what the other meeting participants’ needs are. Hint: if you aren’t sure, do some research or ask them directly. Then make sure that your agenda and your preparation will satisfy them. Only once their needs are met can you expect them to reciprocate. And when they do, it will not just be in the meeting, but outside too.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)