Being timely, and the importance of time and timing has been on my mind a lot lately. If you choose to read on – you will be  sorely tempted to believe that what follows doesn’t apply to you. After all – you’re smart right? I mean – you’re here reading this 😉 Please – try not to rush to exclude yourself from what follows. If not for your sake – then for others. You are influential and the way you behave influences others. No man is an island.


The way we schedule meetings at work is bonkers, back to back to back to back. And unless one of you has invented time travel (pause….nope, OK let’s carry on then), you know the impossibility of back to back to back meetings and let you let people delude you into having them all the time. A cram packed diary is the diary of a madman (note – ladies the same applies to you also but there’s no Ozzy Osbourne album title reference available to use for you…yet).

Then – we cram these ‘important’ meetings full of ‘important’ stuff and either rush it, or don’t cover everything. As a result we often make bad decisions based on bad meetings. Sound familiar? To my mind, if that meeting is both necessary and important, then why not ensure it’s meaningful too? Take at least half the crap, I mean important stuff, off the agenda.


aka presence, aka be here now.


If you are afforded the privilege of talking at a conference or some other live event, please, finish on time. Unless you want to run the risk of being remembered as ‘the guy who overran’. You don’t want that – do you?


It is half past eight in the morning here in New Orleans, and I’m hungry. Breakfast time, in fact any mealtime, matters. I try not to skip them too often and I try, wherever possible, to enjoy my food in the company of others. I hope you do too. For example, last night I met up with Tommy Talley (we’d first met the day before at the Louisiana State HR Conference in Baton Rouge) and we went out and shared oysters and crawfish. We got talking with Jean and Alyssa and it turned out Jean really didn’t like dining alone either. After our meal we went to a funky cocktail joint and over a Side Car we looked up fear of dining alone. It’s called Solomangarephobia. Who knew?

Wishing you a super day.

Making Your Mark

I attended a conference recently at which I’d also been asked to speak. The brief was very clear – each speaker had been allocated a half hour slot in which to deliver a talk for around 20 minutes and then take Q&A. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate that kind of clarity – it helps me prepare.

The first guy on stage was someone I’d been looking forward to hear from, and although he spent a little too long at the start telling us about himself (yawn – we care about this bit far less than you do Mr Speaker), his talk started to follow an interesting path. The 20 minutes passed quickly and it became clear to me that he was going to overrun. Someone at the back of the room was busy deploying the classic ‘shut up and sit down’ sign by rapidly drawing their hand across their throat, and the presenter sailed on. And on. And on.

The half hour concluded with a fire alarm test (we had been warned earlier) and despite the repeated klaxon sound, our presenter carried on. He fought his way bravely through the alarm and persisted for a further ten minutes. As his talk rumbled on a few tweets appeared along the lines of ‘yeah yeah, we get it already, get a move on’. Someone tweeted from beyond the room ‘I’m sure no one will mind Mister X overrunning, he’s such a compelling speaker’, which prompted a few choice replies. Here are two of my personal faves:

“fire alarm announcement, and wailing – at last some insight”

“I have a slide deck and you are going to see them all regardless”

Mister X stretched a twenty minute talk out to forty minutes, left no time for questions and threw the whole schedule out of whack. He made a powerful mark – and not in the way he intended. Note to the conference chair – next time, please intervene and stop the torture.

Subsequently – Mister X chose to blame the fire alarm for him overrunning, conveniently ignoring the fact that he was supposed to have been done and dusted before said alarm even started. He got short shrift from the Twitterverse on this point and has not been seen since (well he probably has – it’s just that we’re not looking anymore).

The day carried on in fine form and the rest of the speakers were informative, enjoyable to listen to and on time. At the end of the event, there was a generous chunk of time put aside for a panel Q&A. Normally I hate these – and I had to be coaxed up to participate, sorry about that. I was wrong to be reluctant, the audience had loads of questions and the discussion bounced around the room freely and usefully.

At the close, the conference chair did a quick who’s who type run through, starting with Mister X who had long since departed, presumably to screw up someone else’s schedule. This is what the chair said. ‘First we had Mister X (loooong pause), he overran.’ That was it – the sum total, the full stop under Mister X’s appearance. He overran.

You will have an opportunity to make your mark today, how will you choose to do it?