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Extra Clarity

Most of my appointment calendar is fully booked most of the time. Each no-show or late cancelation means that someone else isn’t getting a chance to speak with me. Such failures sadden me.

I ask people to send me documents in advance because I can read faster than they can talk, and I can read the document in advance (perhaps in those timeslots freed up by the no-shows and cancelations mentioned above.)

Prior to a meeting, I asked someone to send me a translation of their visually beautiful deck that was unfortunately written in a non-English language. They wrongly thought I meant that they should cancel the meeting. Never dawned on me that they might infer that. Confusion about whether a meeting was canceled or not has happened before. Now I include an explicit “the meeting is not canceled” note.

When possible, when a meeting is canceled, rather than just removing it from the calendar, I change the meeting name to “CANCELED Meeting ..” and wait until everyone has acknowledged the cancelation before actually removing it.

While each of these actions is an extra step, it is a small step compared to learning whatever that language had been.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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