It's ok. You can admit it. We've all done it.
There's probably some meetings sitting on your calendar right now that you don't know why they're there, or that you aren't interested in, or worse - you're dreading going to.
So why did you agree to them in the first place?
Richard Branson is arguably one of the busiest men on the planet. He has spoken at length about how he uses exercise to boost his energy and uses to-do lists to make sure he stays on top of everything.
A key component that keeps him going and pushing through, however, is his passion for everything he does. For example, consider this tweet:
"Jumped out of traffic jam & sprinted through Manhattan to make live interview calling for climate action"
With those few words, he was able to convey his view on how important it is to show up on time.
Many people would consider it perfectly reasonable for him to call up the studio and explain that he's stuck in traffic and ask for them to stall. Instead, he dashes across town to get there at the time he promised.
By being on time, he's communicating that he values the time that other people are giving out of their lives to spend with him.
It creates a balance of power.
This is Richard Branson after all, multibillionaire. Founder of Virgin Brands. Icon. And when it comes to meetings, none of that matters. In this instance, he is an attendee, not the person running the meeting. If he allowed his celebrity status to encroach on the proceedings, he could undermine the leader.
If he were to be late, he would be signaling that his time was more valuable than everyone else's. Instead, he took extraordinary means to ensure he was on even footing with everyone.
In a business, time is money. Each minute you start late is multiplied out by the number of people sitting there waiting for someone else to arrive. While contractors who bill by the hour wouldn't necessarily care, a CEO like Richard Branson would be very aware of his tardiness to the bottom line.
A live TV news show can cost anywhere from $4000-$25000 per minute. It's reported that Richard Branson's time is "only" worth $50 a minute. Every minute he is late spirals costs for the production, which is both fiscally irresponsible and terribly rude.
It makes you more credible.
It goes without saying that if you are a responsible person who shows up on time and doesn't keep people waiting all the time when an emergency situation does come up (which does happen) people will give you the benefit of the doubt.
It is important to note that Richard Branson has been delegating his normal workload in order to bring light to the devastation done to the British Virgin Islands and the rest of the Caribbean.
You'll be happier.
Occasional bouts of running through the streets of Manhattan notwithstanding, by being on time for meetings you'll be less rushed - which in turn lowers your stress levels. Having lower stress increases both your energy and your happiness, which will give you more productive meetings.
That being said, make sure that you don't overdo it. Sir Richard tweeted "must admit I'm exhausted" from all the running around, but he still gets up at 5AM to work out every morning.
With these tips, you'll never look at meetings the same way again!