Yesterday I met a new acquaintance for lunch. We, uh, eventually met for lunch, because it took me a long time to get there.
Why? Well I usually do my networking on the phone or people come to my office and I am out of practice about “lunch” networking. I’d forgotten to pay attention to the simple things that make getting to meetings easy.
When I left the office yesterday I knew the restaurant was less than 20 minutes from my office. I arrived at the cross-streets where my colleague said the restaurant was located but I couldn’t find the place. Even my trusty new GPS couldn’t find the name of the restaurant (hence no location).
I called Directory Assistance for the phone number of the restaurant and was told it didn’t exist. And I didn’t have my colleague’s cell number to call him. So I kept looking and got more frustrated.
Eventually the person called me and left a message on my office line. But guess what? He didn’t leave his cell #.
He called a few minutes later and left a cell number. I phoned back, got the exact address of the restaurant and two minutes later I was there.
I could have avoided the stress if I’d just followed my own Get to Meetings Easy Checklist:
1) When scheduling an out-of-office meeting;
- put it on your calendar and include adequate time for travel/traffic,
- add an extra 15 minutes for “get lost time” if it’s at a location you’ve not been previously.
2) If you are meeting at a location you’ve not been to before, then;
- Get the exact address of the location,
- Print directions from Mapquest,
- Or, if you use a GPS, enter the address in advance. This is especially helpful in outlying areas with newer construction because it may not exist in a GPS that is more than one year old,
- The phone number of the location is helpful to have, too.
3) Get the cell number of the person you are meeting.
4) Call/e-mail the morning of the meeting to confirm the meeting day/time/location. I can’t tell you the number of times that people have thanked me for the reminder. And it saved me from wasted travel time since sometimes the meeting had to be rescheduled.
Because I hadn’t followed my simple checklist, I was late. Fortunately, my lunch buddy is patient person and waited for me. Lunch was delicious, but I really could have done without the drama!