Just exactly how should you go about rescheduling a meeting?

Just exactly how should you go about rescheduling a meeting?
Image Credit: Anne

Let’s face it – we are all busy. I mean really busy. We may start out a week with the best of hopes about what we’d like to be able to accomplish; however, generally by the time that we hit Wednesday things have been turned upside down on us and despite our manager skills we have very little hope of being able to get everything done that we had been hoping to do. This change in plans can have a big impact on any meetings we’ve planned: we may have to postpone them.

The Impact Of Postponing A Meeting

So before we dive into this discussion too deeply, perhaps we should first take a look at just exactly how many times you can get away with postponing the same meeting? Everyone seems to agree that the rule is “three strikes and then you are out.” The person that you’ve been trying to set the meeting up with is going to start to think that you are giving them the brushoff when you have rescheduled the same meeting this many times. They simply are no longer going to be willing to meet with you.

Rescheduling a meeting is sorta a big deal. You are putting your reputation with the person that you are planning on meeting with at risk. The person that you are trying to meet with is going to start to wonder about you. They may start to believe that you don’t have the maturity to handle your schedule. Alternatively, they may start to think that you have a problem saying “no”. Finally, they may think that you no longer really want to meet with them because they were not all that clear on why the two of you were planning on getting together in the first place. None of this is covered in our manager training.

One of the things that we need to understand is that if we end up postponing a meeting with someone, it is going to change how they view the meeting. They may come to believe that we don’t think that the meeting is all that important. This means that the meeting will start to become less important to them. When you do finally have a chance to sit down with them, they may spend less time with you than had been planned or they may provide you with less information than you had originally hoped to gain.

How To Postpone A Meeting Correctly

Let’s face it: life happens. When it happens there are things that are out of our control. We may end up having to postpone a meeting. The good news is that there is a correct way to go about doing this so that it won’t cause problems. What you are going to want to try to do is to find a way to keep the person that you were going to be meeting with from feeling slighted. When you are telling them that the meeting won’t be happening, you need to be sure to apologize and to make sure that you show enthusiasm for both having the meeting and getting together with the person.

Something that I struggle with myself is just exactly how much information that you give to the other person when you have to postpone a meeting. I’m the kind of person who wants to share everything with you even if you really don’t care why I’m postponing the meeting. It’s not always the best idea to give the other person too much information about why the meeting is being postponed. The reason is because you may be telling the other person that they are not your highest priority. You do need to balance this: there will be times when giving more information about why you are postponing the meeting will give you more credibility.

When you have to postpone a meeting, this is an opportunity for you to make it up to the other person by giving them more than they were going to receive from you. One way to go about doing this is to offer them choices. You can do this by providing them with a list of your open dates and being flexible on when during the day you can meet with them. Another great way to make up for postponing a meeting one or more times is to agree to meet with the person for a longer period of time. Our time is our most precious possession and so this offer will show the other person that you really do want to meet with them and that you are sorry that you’ve had to put this meeting off.

What All Of This Means For You

If we were in charge of the world, then we could control how every day went. However, we are not in charge of the world and so we find ourselves often having our plans disrupted by events that we had not counted on happening. When things get changed around on us, we may find ourselves in a situation where we are going to have to postpone a meeting that we’ve set up. This can start to cause all sorts of problems.

Experts agree that you will only be allowed to postpone the same meeting twice before the person that you were going to be meeting with will give up and walk away. You have to be careful when you reschedule a meeting because your reputation is at risk. By postponing a meeting, you will be changing how the person that you will be meeting with will view the meeting. When you are forced to postpone a meeting, you’ll want to apologize and tell the other person that you are still looking forward to the meeting. When rescheduling the meeting, look for ways that you can make it up to the person that you’ll be meeting with by being flexible.

We are always going to be finding ourselves in situations where our schedules change on us. When this happens, we may have to reschedule a meeting that we’ve set up. If we are careful and do the postponing of the meeting with grace and style then we can make sure that the other person will still be excited to meet with us and it will almost be like team building. Yes, you can postpone meetings – just be careful how you go about doing this.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you have to postpone a meeting a second time, should you just go ahead and cancel it?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Having a manager job sure seems like it should be something that would make you happy. I’m willing to guess that since you’ve worked so hard to get this position most days you are at least fairly happy with the idea of going to work and putting your manager skills to work. However, in every job that we have, there will probably always come a time when for whatever reason we decide that we really hate the job that we currently have. Hmm, looks like we’re in a tricky situation. What’s a manager to do now?

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It turns out that anxiety can be a useful tool for managers

It turns out that anxiety can be a useful tool for managers
Image Credit:
Sharon Sinclair

I guess that I can only really speak for myself here, but I do not like having to wait to learn the answer to something. At work it can be news of an upcoming layoff, whether the company won a big new contract, or what this year’s bonus program is going to look like. No matter what I’m waiting for, the process of waiting is the hardest part for me despite all of my IT manager skills. Where things start to get interesting is when you realize that there is a way to “wait well”…

The Problem With Waiting

When I am waiting to find out the answer to something, I find myself in a bit of a bind. I want to believe that I’m about to get some good news – things are going to turn out well for me. However, there is always the possibility that I’m going to end up being disappointed and there is no IT manager training for dealing with that. If I forget about the bad news and just assume that I’m going to be learning some good news, I run the risk of being caught flat footed.

People who spend time taking a look at how we deal with anxiety have reached some interesting conclusions. What they have discovered is that if while we were waiting we spent some of that time being worried, then we will have done a great deal of the psychological work that is required to deal with the outcome no matter what it turns out to be. The researchers have learned that people who spend their waiting time feeling anxious or pessimistic or ruminate while they are waiting for some results to be revealed to them end up being better prepared for bad news and happier when they get good news.

We all have different “coping strategies” that we use when we are sitting around waiting to get some news that could be either good or bad. Some of us sit around hoping for the best, we may look for a silver lining in whatever we are going to be told, or we may try to not think about the news that we are going to be getting. Some of us even use a strategy called “proactive coping”. When we do this, we are planning how we’d cope if the news that we’re going to get turns out to be bad news. The bad news is that it turns out that none of these coping mechanisms really work. The don’t reduce our distress and some of them even make it worse.

How To Wait Well

So if we know what does not work, what should we be doing when we are waiting on news that could be good or bad? It turns out that we are really going to want to do is to agonize through our waiting period. Oddly enough what we are going to want to do is to spend our time feeling anxious and pessimistic instead of trying to minimize our anxiety and worry. The reason that we want to do this is because if we do then we will end up responding more productively to bad news and will be happier if we get good news.

One of the most important things that we need to do when we are waiting to get news is to stay in the present. There is a cycle to this waiting period that starts with us feeling more pessimistic at the beginning of a waiting period as well as at the end. What you need to do is to use the middle period of time to get yourself involved in an activity that will occupy you. This will help you to make it through the waiting time.

One other thing that you are going to want to do is to delay your worry for as long as you can. Since some worry is actually a good thing, you are going to want to pick a date before you will be learning the news and prevent yourself from worrying about what you will learn before then. As with all such things in life, you may start to worry before that date shows up. If that happens, then remind yourself that worrying is a natural part of life and convince yourself to stop worrying.

What All Of This Means For You

At different times we all face situations where we are waiting to get some news. The news can either be good or bad. The way that we deal with the time before we learn what the news is can be critical – do we choose to spend our time worrying or do we disregard what we are waiting for?

You might not realize this, but the people who study how we deal with anxiety have discovered that in order to be ready for the news no matter if it is good or bad, we would be advised to spend at least a part of our time being worried. Different coping strategies that we may come up with won’t work. Instead, the experts tell us that we should learn to wait well and spend a portion of our time feeling anxious and pessimistic. While we are doing this we need to stay in the present and schedule the time that we’ll start to worry about what we’ll learn as the time for the news gets closer.

Waiting to get some news that may turn out to be bad news is never a fun thing to do. However, since we seem to find ourselves in this position far too often, we need to learn how to deal with it. It turns out that being worried is actually a good idea because it helps us deal with what we are eventually going to learn. Next time you find yourself waiting, spend some time doing a good job of worrying.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you are waiting to receive some news, do you think that you should allow other people to see that you are worried about what you may soon learn?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it – we are all busy. I mean really busy. We may start out a week with the best of hopes about what we’d like to be able to accomplish; however, generally by the time that we hit Wednesday things have been turned upside down on us and despite our manager skills we have very little hope of being able to get everything done that we had been hoping to do. This change in plans can have a big impact on any meetings we’ve planned: we may have to postpone them.

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