Everyone has different things on their plate and doesn’t want their time to be wasted. No matter how busy you think you are compared to someone else, you never really know what’s going on. That’s why it’s important to always, no matter who it is or what you know about the person, to show respect for their time. You’d certainly want them to do the same for you.
Here are some ways to be respectful of someone’s time. It’ll benefit them, you, and your business because an appreciation of time increases productivity.
Close the Door
It’s so common for people to show up late to things, be it meetings, courses, etc, and expect it not to matter. This shows disrespect for your time and if you let people get away with this it shows disrespect for the people that actually show up in time.
“Punctuality is not just a virtue, it’s about respect. When everyone is respectful of each other’s time meetings run a lot better. If someone decides to be late, the frustration the other people feel about that can impact the quality of their contribution to the meeting.” – Cameron Herold
When you’re hosting a lecture or a meeting, you can say that you’ll start at a certain time, but when you actually start at that time instead of waiting for stragglers, it gives off a very strong message of respect. It’s almost sad how surprised people will be when you actually start on time. If people aren’t present at the start of class, or haven’t returned to the class after a break, shut the door and get started without them.
Not only does this show respect for the people present, but it also keeps things on track.
When you are booking a meeting you should try to ‘compress time’ where you can. Take whatever time you immediately think you’ll need for a meeting and cut that number in half for the booking period. So, instead of a one hour meeting, book it for thirty minutes. Sounds crazy, right?
“Meetings take the time you give to them, so limit that time. Maybe cut it in half if the usual meetings tend to feel slow, and you can increase productivity immensely.” – Cameron Herold
Like so many other obligations, meetings tend to fill the space you give to them. By compressing that time, you increase everyone’s productivity and implement a highly profitable system of time management.
Simply being prepared by doing your work on time, preparing for meetings, and managing your own time well can show respect for other people’s time.
“Frantically searching for a pen, borrowing a notebook, and rifling through your bag for your files not only looks unprofessional but can take up precious time. Before meeting with someone, make sure you’ve appropriately gathered and prepared everything you need for your meeting.” – The Order Expert
Gathering your notes and starting up your computer during meeting time shows a lot of disrespect for the people there. They didn’t come to watch you dig around for notes, that could have been done long before they arrived. You wouldn’t want them taking up your time with tedious little tasks.
Showing respect for people’s time is vital for a productive and healthy workplace. When you respect other people’s time, they’ll respect yours.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2009 and had been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.