It's ok, it happens to all of us. Odds are, you've missed at least one meeting in your life. Whether it was a quick phone catch-up or an in-person heart-to-heart, life can get in the way -- unless you're Bill Gates, who has his time scheduling down to a science.
If you're the person being ghosted, however, it isn't always easy to be so empathetic. While you sit there waiting patiently, the minutes tick by as you come to the realization that the other person is a no-show. It is all too easy to allow your emotions to get the better of you.
Instead of losing your cool and damaging your relationships, here's a good framework for how to proactively avoid being stood up -- and handling it if you are.
1. Send meeting reminders.
It's a poorly-kept secret that most entrepreneurs pack their schedule with so many things that they can't possibly get them all done -- and then forget all the things they actually need to do that aren't on the schedule. This causes most entrepreneurs to be perpetually busy - and it becomes easy to miss things that aren't top of mind.
To combat this, you need to make sure that you send a gentle reminder via their preferred communication method (SMS, Email, etc) at a time that is actionable for your meeting. If in-person, send one both the day before, and an hour before the meeting to allow for travel time. If a phone meeting, send one 10 minutes before with the relevant call-in information.
2. Employ the five-minute rule.
If the person has verbally accepted your meeting invitation, whether they actually clicked "yes" on the calendar request or not, you have a reasonable expectation they will appear. Therefore, if you get their voicemail, or they aren't on Zoom, don't waste your day.
Wait no more than five minutes for them to call back, or login -- or ten minutes for them to show up in person. Any more than that and you're actively choosing to waste your own time -- and risking your emotions getting out of line.
3. Send a polite follow-up.
Now, the best thing to do is to send a quick message apologizing for you both missing each other and suggesting a follow-up. Never place any blame on the other person -- it will make things easier to reschedule if they see you are sincerely willing to forgive their indiscretion.
A good template to use is:
I'm so sorry we weren't able to connect. Please check my calendar to find a time that works better for you so we can talk soon!
In many cases, you'll get an immediate reply to find that the person was either simply running late, had technical difficulties, or honestly forgot your meeting. In any case, by handling it quickly you'll often be able to get it rescheduled right away, and with minimal difficulty.
4. Know when to walk away.
Sometimes, the reason you're being ghosted is because they're really not that into you. If you're a salesman trying to connect to potential clients, or an entrepreneur trying to talk to investors, you might be doing all the right things and they still never show up.
Look for a pattern -- if the person always says they'll meet with you and then never shows up, they likely never will. Maintain your polite and calm demeanor -- remember, it takes 99 no's to reach a yes. Don't waste your time on the people who don't see your value.
With these easy tips you'll gain precious work hours back -- and lower the drama in your work life at the same time!