Time and Tide Waits For No Man
What is it about being late that is so irksome? People are late most of the time, for work, school, appointments, dates or even when it comes to replying emails. Nobody likes to be kept waiting and being late is possibly a reflection of unprofessionalism and indifference.
Being on time is highly imperative in PR, since it is, after all a business based on self-presentation and reputation management. Ask any PR professional and they’ll tell you point blank, that tardiness is unacceptable simply because it shows disregard for time, exhibits sloppiness and more.
Going to university taught me several lessons on tardiness; remembering those days when my time-conscious American professors would refuse to accept assignments or reward attendance and participation points if I were to be even a couple of minutes late. Those were indeed the times when I did more running in school (whenever I was almost late for class) than I would at the park during the weekends, because I was running at top speed to class so that I wouldn’t have to face the music. That was the culture of my university. Tardiness was not an option.
Taking home that lesson has taught me to be a more respectful, responsible and better steward of my time. As a PR professional, being late holds similar implications to that of any other profession. Can you imagine a doctor being late for surgery? You would inevitably lose your reputation and tarnish your image almost immediately. So, let’s think about this a little. Are you willing to endure the shame of losing your professional image while coming up with some of the world’s lousiest excuses for being late! Well then, here are 3 tips on how to handle your tardiness:
1. Identify your problem – Why are you always late? Are you sleeping in too much? Do you always have to get one last thing done before leaving? What about underestimating your commuting time? Once I took my own sweet time to leave home, expecting my commute to work to be a smooth ride, only having to find myself stuck on the train platform, with 5-6 trains passing and not being able to get on because of overcrowding! My problem here was two-fold: it seems that everyone was trying to get to work at the same time, and I did not leave my home early enough! So I had to deal with that the next time round.
2. Get organized – Manage a proper schedule and keep track of your email. Being in PR means constantly having to meet deadlines, meet clients, attend events, etc. Keeping to a schedule ensures that you do not forget your appointments, and also helps you to track the things you need to do. This especially applies to replying emails on time. Every PR professional should know that not responding to an e-mail or message of any form, within a reasonable time frame could lose them a potential business opportunity.
3. Be a time pessimist – Time waits for no man. Any PR professional would dread being late for a meeting with a client or a potential client, which would ultimately spell disaster. Being a time pessimist always works. Leave early! Very early! The early bird always gets the worm. Of course, I learnt this from my father. Whenever we had family events to attend, he would be the first to get dressed and be ready an hour early. Yes, an hour. It slightly borders on paranoia, but it works. It is better to be early than to be late. Then again, if you have a tight schedule, you should learn to space the time between your appointments. Learn to be a time pessimist!
We hope you never run late again (no pun intended) after reading this post. In case you do, be prepared to carry a pair of running shoes– you will need them.
By Danielle Rajaratnam, PR Associate at Corporate Media Services
This week’s PR News Highlights:
David Spark comments on PR Daily about the 13 most annoying communication habits for this year.
The 11 irritating habits that annoy journalists and bloggers by Abbi Whitaker teaches PR professionals how to improve their chance of success with journalists across the nation.
Diane Schawrtz uses the 2012 Italian Cruise Ship Crisis as an example for What the PR Industry Should Be.