One habit I've gotten into over the years is making sure the night before I take a look at tomorrow's calendar and send an email confirming every meeting I have. I confirm the time, place, and give my cell number.
I felt compelled to write about this because very few of the people I meet with do this. It seems so important and not often done at all. I wonder about this a lot.
Why is this important?
1. In many instances, the other person didn't write down or put in their calendar that we were meeting. Now I'm wasting my time going somewhere expecting a meeting and they aren't!
2. The other person couldn't make it, but I wouldn't have found out if I didn't email them! They either didn't bother to tell me or it kept slipping their mind to tell me but my email reminded them to bring up that fact! Many times if they have assistants, good ones will reconfirm and tell me if their boss can't make it; but often I have to email the assistants to find out!
3. I want to make sure that the other person has my cell number handy, and in a recently accessible place: within 24 hours of email, in case something goes wrong at the last minute. Then they can call or text me to tell if they are late or can't make it. I have found that contact management for a lot of people is very, very spotty.
4. I or the other person has often made the mistake of thinking we were meeting somewhere else! So confirming helps reinforce the place we're going to meet.
As mentioned before, in the confirmation email I put the time, place, and my cell number. If I can, I will find the original email which sparked the meeting and put in the confirmation. Or I will write a short sentence reminding them of why we are meeting if it's not obvious. I like to make sure I remind the other person why we're meeting or else it may be awkward for both of us wondering why we're meeting in the first place.
Before I meet someone for the first time, I try to pull up some info about them: LinkedIn, Google, an executive summary, pitch deck, look at their website, remind myself of who introduced us. This is to help break the ice and get the conversation going. Sometimes I'll be doing this on my iPhone while walking to the meeting; other times, I'll print out the materials and flip through them before the meeting. Or I'll get to our meeting place early and do it all there. Familiarizing yourself before the meeting shows you care enough to have spent time to do that. I think it speaks a lot for showing respect for the other party.
Many times I'll also try to find their picture online which helps immensely to find the other person in a crowded venue. Likewise, I may email or text to the other person what I'm wearing and what I look like so they can find me easily.
If I'm somewhat late to the meeting, I try to text/email/call them that I'm going to be X minutes late. This is also showing common courtesy that you're running late and that they aren't just sitting there waiting for you, wondering if you're going to show up at all. But generally, I try to get to someplace early; tardiness is not a good habit to get into!
All this seems like basic good meeting habits but, as I've observed, it happens very seldom. I would love to see more people learn these habits, and certainly I assign a new level of respect to anyone who sends a confirmation email before I do!