No matter how large or small your organization, everyone is busier than ever before. The last thing you need is one more meeting (or person) wasting your time. Moreover, the very last thing you need is to be perceived as wasting someone else’s time. If your co-workers view you as not prepared or likely to waste their time, they will avoid you like the plague.
Here are a few tips to remember so you are not labeled as someone who wastes people’s time:
Do Not Have a Hidden Agenda
Stay away from the old “bait and switch.” Do not lure people to a meeting for one purpose only to spring something new on them when they get there. Be honest about what you need and why you are meeting. People will either attend or not. At least those who do attend will be there for the right reasons and can be counted upon when you need them.
Do Not Come By Unannounced
If you need to speak with a co-worker regarding something specific, schedule a convenient time for the two of you to get together. Surprise meetings are never a good idea and unscheduled interruptions can impact your co-worker’s productivity. Respect your co-worker’s time and they will respect yours in turn.
Avoid Communication Loops
Although emails are often easier and less time consuming than phone calls, there are still times where a simple phone call is quicker. Non-specific emails can leave open-ended questions and generate multiple follow-up emails to finally reach a conclusion. Be concise and specific with your emails and, if it makes more sense and takes less time, pick up the phone.
Do Not Be Caught Unprepared
Nothing wastes more time than listening to someone who is obviously unprepared. When you ask people to take time out of their schedule to meet and listen to what you have to say, make sure you are fully prepared to explain your ideas and to answer their questions.
Do Not Set Deadlines You Can Not Meet
It can be easy to set unattainable deadlines for completing tasks in order to impress others or to even push yourself toward the goal line. However, if you repeatedly miss your own self-imposed deadlines, your co-workers will lose faith in your abilities to deliver. Over time, your involvement on critical projects may be labeled a “waste of time.”
When you prepare thoroughly and remain respectful of others’ schedules, you will be a welcome asset to any project and co-workers will always be there when you need them.