The Art of Being Stood Up

By Jennifer E. Goldman, President of Resonance, LLC

I realize I’m not normal, but I’ve never minded getting stood up for business meetings. In fact, I relish it, especially if the meeting was set in a public place like a coffee shop or restaurant. While last-minute cancellations and no-shows reveal a lot to me about people I probably shouldn’t waste my time with anyway, they also provide me with an unexpected break in my otherwise hectic schedule.

Instead of huffing off back to the office if I get stood up, I will typically give myself the amount of time I was planning on spending in the meeting. Since I’d already scheduled myself to be away from the office for an hour or two, why not?

I never consider it time wasted. It’s time I can use to soak up new ideas in a new environment. I’m always amazed by how different surroundings can take your brain in new directions, inspire you with thoughts, ideas and solutions you’d have never come up with in your office.

That hour that I was planning on spending with someone else, who is either having a really ‘off’ day or who has time management issues, is now an hour that I can spend taking a break, unwinding, people-watching, catching up on reading business publications, planning next month’s social media posts, or reaching out to a colleague I haven’t seen in way to long and scheduling a meeting I KNOW I won’t be alone for.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I think people are ineffective in their offices, but the temporary change of scenery can do wonders for a person. That unexpected one hour that you find yourself alone and out-of-office for shouldn’t be time wasted in anger and frustration.

If nothing else, I recommend using that time to take a walk; discover new businesses, mull over your business challenges, reflect on your recent successes, mentally admire or admonish people’s fashion choices.

Even if you don’t do anything business-y in the one hour you unintentionally gave yourself, you might just find that you are better equipped to deal with the rest of your office day upon your return. And who knows, maybe you’ll find it so beneficial that you’ll begin scheduling fake meetings and unchaining yourself from your desk on a regular basis.