No matter what business you’re in, you most likely spend time attending meetings, holding job interviews, or even one-on-ones with staff members or vendors. Nowadays, not all meetings are in person and could take place via Zoom, Skype, or other platforms. Either way, appointment-making skills are required.
To follow is some advice to help improve those abilities and reduce the stress that can come with getting multiple people together for a meeting.
Provide multiple dates and time options.
This tactic can help you avoid many back and forth emails to narrow down a date and time that works for everyone. When you send an email inviting others to a meeting, include at least three options, with a note for each person to choose as many possibilities that work for them. This way, you can select the date and time that has the most consensus.
Using this method can also be accomplished with online tools. There are many out there, but we know that the “Doodle” tool has a free option and allows a poll-type survey where invitees can choose the options that work for them. This alternative helps you to avoid sending out a batch of emails and is very easy to use as some platforms over-complicate the process and could be more of a burden than a help.
We often try to book as many appointments as possible in one day, but when you schedule too many meetings to close together, you risk being late for one or more meetings. This is especially true if you need to travel to each appointment.
Always leave room for error so that if one appointment runs over, you don’t risk being late to another meeting.
Since we now have alternatives to meeting in person, consider rotating between virtual and in-person. Meeting face-to-face is optimal, but when time and location are a restriction, continue to be productive by moving forward virtually. For instance, an hour-long meeting that requires a total of 2 hours of drive time may not be the best option. Sometimes you may not have a choice, but make the best decision for you and your business when you do.
Try to keep personal and business separate.
If you have a doctor’s appointment followed by a client meeting, this may not be the best scenario. If your doctor’s appointment runs over, and we’ve all been there, it’s unprofessional to show up late to your client meeting. Plus, it may be tough to “turn off your brain” from your doctor’s visit to focusing on your client’s needs. Keeping personal and business appointments on separate days is a better choice.
Work with a professional service to manage your calendar.
Managing a busy calendar can be like having another job, especially if your position requires meetings with multiple people. When you hire a qualified professional virtual services company, they first meet with you to discuss your options and ensure you continue to look great to those with whom they need to interact.
Based on your availability, they tackle the job of reaching out to invitees and scheduling the date/time/location and any other specifics. Once the logistics are confirmed, the meeting will be added directly to your calendar, and you’re all set. The service will also email the agenda and any other relevant material to the meeting guests in advance. Hiring a service to partner with will save you a great deal of time and frustration to allow you to focus on preparing for the meeting and concentrate on your core responsibilities.
Confirm. Confirm. Confirm.
People get busy and may not be as organized as you hope. Confirming the meeting sends a gentle reminder and lets you know how many copies you need if there are handouts or refreshments if you’re serving food.
If you’re working with a virtual services company, they will send a brief email a day or two before the appointment that outlines the meeting and requests a simple yes in response if everything is correct.