What to Do When You Miss an Appointment

What to Do When You Miss an AppointmentYou’re comfortably sitting in your living room, looking at your favorite social media site on your smart phone.

You pick up your hand to swipe, when all of a sudden, you remember something very important…

You have an appointment today!

You leap up from the couch and check the time.

Unfortunately, it’s already far too late for you to make the appointment in time.

In some cases, you might even have missed the appointment entirely.

How embarrassing.

So, just how do you gracefully recover from this faux pas?

In this post, I offer some steps to help you recover from a missed appointment.

Stay calm.

The last thing you need to do is jump into panic-mode.

You’ve already clearly missed the appointment. You can’t go back in time to correct things, so there’s really no point in making yourself feel poorly for your mistake.

Take a deep breath and exhale. Calmly accept the fact that you missed the appointment.

Now that you’ve calmed down and refocused, it’s time to set things right.

Communicate right away.

It is imperative you take action right away and contact whoever it is you were scheduled to meet. This is one of those times where you literally have to drop whatever it is you are doing, and make a phone call to your contact.

The longer you wait to get in touch with someone, the worse off you’ll appear (it may appear to the other person that you aren’t concerned or don’t care about missing the appointment).   

If your contact is unavailable, leave a voice message, and say you’ll send them a text or email, or will make a second call to follow-up. If you can’t get in touch with the person directly, see if you can get in touch with someone close to them. Depending on your appointment, it may be an assistant, a coworker, a family member, neighbor, or friend.

Apologize graciously and succinctly.

When you reach your contact, you should offer your apologies for missing the appointment. It’s the right thing to do. Now, you don’t have to go on for a full five minutes describing the in-depth details leading up to your missing the appointment. Make your apology brief and sincere. Your contact will appreciate this much more than a long-winded, frantic, or insincere apology.

Reschedule the appointment.

This is the perfect time to reschedule your missed appointment. It’s best to reschedule as soon as you possibly can, such as within the same day or week. This shows you are still willing to meet with your contact, and don’t want to lose more time than necessary until your meeting. While you’re at it, add in a few bold reminders and/or alerts to your calendar or schedule so you don’t miss your rescheduled appointment.

Make a kind gesture.

When you finally hold your appointment, it’s good manners to make a kind gesture. This gesture doesn’t magically excuse you from having missed your appointment, but it does show you are a thoughtful person. It helps to smooth out any existing tension surrounding your missed appointment.

This could be something as simple as buying someone a coffee, treating them to lunch, or bringing them a small bouquet of their favorite flowers. Of course, this small gesture will depend on whether your appointment is of a professional or personal nature, so use your discretion.

How about you? How do you deal with missed appointments? What is your go-to sequence of events to smooth things over with your contacts and reschedule your meeting? Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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    Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based productivity coach and consultant who helps people manage their time and energy so they can reduce stress, work less, and make more money in their careers and businesses. She has been featured in Fast Company, NBC News, The Washington Post, Business Insider, NPR, Huff Post, Fox Business, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.


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