In the professional world, sending calendar invites entails a subtle art and level of etiquette— here’s how to not drive people insane!
When I landed my first big job in Corporate America I was so happy when I received my first calendar invite; I felt so special. A second later, I realized the meeting was scheduled for only 15 minutes. I was a bit floored — 15 minutes? That’s all they can spare for me? I immediately felt underappreciated and had a total WTF moment.
With time, I came to recognize and ultimately appreciate the efficiency in scheduling brief meetings! They are considerate of both sides- most likely you’ll leave a buffer to continue the conversation, but wow — what a power meeting it was! And it shifted the way I schedule.
From personally witnessing too many scheduling faux pas — I’ve decided that now is the time to get serious about this topic and make efforts in becoming more considerate of each other’s time. While I don’t think we are ever intentionally inconsiderate of others, I believe we’ve all fallen into some very poor practices.
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Subject is Objective!— If you’re scheduling a call or meeting with someone, DO NOT put the subject “Meeting with (the Person)” — I have countless invites to meetings with myself, and then I have to go in and change it, or figure out who set the meeting and what it’s about. Additionally, you can try to give some context — “Intro meeting Company X/Mike Rash” so that the person you are talking to knows what it’s about. (Remember, you’re not the only person on their schedule)
2. Every Minute Counts! — Set your calendar’s default for scheduling at half an hour. You can always make it longer (or shorter!), but if you’re just having an introduction call there is absolutely NO reason it should take up an hour of the person’s time on a schedule. You won’t speak for an hour and then they can’t schedule anything else — boom, a half hour of their precious time lost. I have my intro meeting defaults set to 20 minutes and it’s rare that I go over that. This demands efficiency without being abrupt.
3. Details Matter — Put your meeting details — phone number, Skype, Zoom, whatever — in the description part of the invite so they can easily figure out how to contact you. Also- put who is calling whom. If you’re the invitee to a physical location, add a Google Maps share link to the invite details and any tips about parking or “we’re on the 2nd floor at the end of the hall to the right” sort of thing. These make the difference between the invited being on time or being late and flustered / frustrated.
4. Dialable Digits — Piggybacking on the previous suggestion, put your phone number in your signature in a dialable format!! 212.222.3333 is not dialable! Use only numbers — 212222333 or dashes/parentheses (212)222–3333, making it an automatic dialing link. This way if I’m on the go and need to reach you with a question or concern I can just press the number to dial or text you, instead of having to copy paste it into my phone. Additionally, if you don’t have your phone number and I need to reach you — how am I supposed to do it quickly? Make sure it’s in your invite and your email signature.
5. Let “Someone” Else Do the Hard Work — Make both of your lives easy — use a scheduler like Calendly (which I think is a great product!) You can set various types and lengths of calls, set clarification/screener questions, default contact info. Also, you can set a default reminder 24 hours ahead which can almost entirely eliminate any last minute no-shows — because if someone can’t make it, they can at least reschedule with ample time. Furthermore, it eliminates a bunch of back and forth trying to schedule so it works for all sides.
Making these adjustments requires very little effort — and people will be so appreciative! There are probably many more tips — Add them below in the comments!
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