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    How early to a meeting is rude?  

    It can be stressful trying to gauge exactly how long it’ll take you to get to a meeting, plan your transport and make sure you’re not going to arrive late and flustered. But, every so often this planning goes awry and you end up arriving absurdly early. And it’s easy to forget, so concerned are we with lateness being rude, that there is also such a thing as too early, and some people will find it rude and annoying.

    If someone is waiting for you to arrive for a meeting that starts at 4pm, they’re going to be gearing up for that time, perhaps coming straight from another meeting, or just simply using a window to catch up on some work or emails. If you bowl in 15 minutes early, you put them in an awkward position of either keeping you waiting in reception, or having to start the meeting with you early when they might not be ready.

    There’s a fine line between rudely early and appropriately early. Here’s a quick guide:

    • Up to 7 minutes early, that’s appropriate – go straight in
    • 7-12 minutes early, expect to be pointedly kept in reception
    • 12-17 minutes early, have a wander around the block and don’t tell them you’ve arrived
    • 17+ minutes, go and get a coffee and learn for next time

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I was raised in a family where being ten minutes early for something was considered as being late. I soon had that drummed out of me by my Regional Director who will keep me standing outside his office until the exact time our meeting is due to start, whether he's busy or not.

    November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlly

    I see a lot of people. In fact most of my surgeries are booked full days in advance. If I'm ready I'll see someone early but in the majority; if your appointment was for 4pm and you turn up at 3:15, don't be miffed if you're kept waiting til the exact time. Early people can really pile on the pressure without even realising what they are doing. Contrary to popular belief I actually do have other things I could be doing.

    November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon p

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