Who’s Keeping Time Anyway?
Everyone has their own perception of what is timely. Maybe it’s because we all have a unique internal clock. Some of us have our own internal clock that runs like a finely tuned Swiss watch; for others when they decide they’re good and ready is when they show up for an event or meeting; and then for others still it’s a mix depending on their mood that day. When it comes to different situations people should be aware of what is the “time” norm and what is each individual’s need and/or desire when it comes to dealing with time. Here are some things to think about with timeliness.
1. Responding to social media. Social media moves and changes quickly. If you want to be relevant and current with the message dialogue then you need to do a quick turnaround with you r response. But always be aware that sometimes people put info out there not necessarily for a response or to start a dialogue, but to simply make a statement; in that case you may be hard pressed to get a timely response or a response at all for that matter. Your response then, becomes a simple acknowledgement to the writer that you’ve seen the posting. In that instance time isn’t important.
2. Attending a business meeting. Always be a few minutes early. That way you can size up your surroundings and feel relaxed and confident when the meeting starts. Depending on the meeting location, you also pick the most comfortable spot or most advantageous seat at the table. Also, you’d rather have the other person apologize to you for being late than you apologizing to them for being late.
3. Attending a party. Unless it’s a sit down dinner set for a specific time, you can always feel free to come a few minutes late or when you’re good and ready. Keep in mind though people do remember those who arrive early and those who arrive late.
4. Responding to mailed info. The nature of mail suggests that the person who sent you the mail isn’t in a rush for a response. Mailed info can allow you a little extra time to get your response out. But don’t be rude and forget to respond altogether; and always respond by a response request date provided in the correspondence.
5. Business responses. When it comes to business it isn’t about your time frame. You need to respond on your customer’s time frame or schedule. Understand what their expectations are in terms of a response time. Respond in the same manner that your customer initially contacted you unless your response requires a different message medium. For example an e-mail message should be responded with an e-mail message.
6. Personal responses. Responses to personal messages are more on your time. But if you want to keep those relationships in good order don’t wait too long to respond.
7. Be aware of a person’s “time” cues. If you aren’t sure how much time a person has for a meeting or when they expect a response, ask them. Otherwise listen to them for hints about their personal time clock. Remember rigidly punctual people have less tolerance for mismanagement of time, whereas people who aren’t as time sensitive are more open to liberal use of time.
8. Take control of time as needed. Don’t be afraid to manage time usage as you see fit. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and let others know you have limited time to meet or to talk. People will respect you more in the long run for being open with them.
Timeliness is really relative from one person to another. You can really set your own rules on how quickly you respond or when you arrive. But keep in mind that others also have expectations. So make sure to sync your time clock with others when needed.