One of the easiest career-building habits to practice is to consistently arrive early, explains Marsha Egan

Arriving early to a meeting is advantageous. First, it allows you time to prepare and settle into the environment. This may include reviewing your notes, checking your equipment, and getting comfortable with your surroundings. Arriving early also provides an opportunity to socialize with colleagues or acquaintances, which can help build relationships and establish rapport. Think about the movers, shakers, and influencers in your group. Most likely, they will be there early as well. Finally, it shows that you are reliable and dependable and that you take your commitments seriously.

Conversely, arriving late can convey several career busters. It can be seen as disrespectful, indicating that you do not value others’ time or prioritize the task at hand. This can damage relationships with colleagues and superiors and may even jeopardize future opportunities. Additionally, it can interrupt the flow of the meeting and cause unnecessary distractions, potentially causing delays or miscommunication.

Furthermore, arriving late may also suggest that you are disorganized and unreliable. This can make others hesitant to entrust you with important tasks and can damage your reputation and prospects for advancement. Moreover, it can contribute to a culture of tardiness, where others feel less compelled to arrive on time themselves, leading to further delays and inefficiencies.

Of course, there are circumstances where arriving late may be unavoidable, such as traffic or unforeseen circumstances. In these cases, it is important to communicate with others as soon as possible and apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Top Tips to Ensure That You Arrive Early for a Meeting

Plan ahead

Make sure you know the exact location of the meeting and how long it will take you to get there. Use a map or GPS to plan your route and account for any traffic or public transportation delays. Know which room the meeting is in.

Leave early

Always leave earlier than you think you need to. This gives you a buffer in case of unexpected delays. It’s better to arrive early and have some time to prepare yourself than to arrive late and disrupt the meeting.

Prepare in advance

To avoid any last-minute rush, prepare for the meeting in advance. This includes reviewing any materials or notes you need to bring, organizing your thoughts, and making sure you have everything you need with you.

Prioritize the meeting

Treat the meeting as a priority and make sure you have allotted enough time in your schedule for it. Avoid scheduling other meetings or appointments immediately before or after the meeting, as this can cause time conflicts.


If you are meeting with someone else, confirm the meeting in advance and follow up on any details or changes to the schedule. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and there are no misunderstandings.

Employ self-talk

See yourself as an “early arriver.” Make it who you are, not what you do.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you arrive early for your meetings and demonstrate respect for the time of others involved.


Arriving early to meetings is a career builder. Believe it. It is a simple but effective way to demonstrate your professionalism, reliability, and commitment to the task at hand. Ultimately, by making a habit of arriving early to meetings, you can demonstrate your dedication and professionalism, and contribute to a culture of efficiency and respect for others’ time. It will be another positive in your career toolkit.

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, a Florida-based workplace productivity coaching firm. She is the author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-mail Excellence. She can be reached at, where you can also read her blog. To listen ... (Read More)

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