The Scheduling Dilemma

Despite there being a plethora of tools out there designed to help make meeting scheduling easier (such as TimeBridge and others), the process is still an annoying one that affects pretty much everyone that works for a company that has more than a couple of employees. It’s maddening to try to schedule a meeting with a couple of people, all of whom are busy anyway, and be able to stick to that meeting in case something comes up or changes. So how do you avoid the madness?
Make it a culture thing.
Some companies (and individuals) really try their hardest to avoid re-scheduling meetings. I’ve been in a situation where I had a meeting scheduled with such a person. He found out that he was able to get free VIP Super Bowl tickets and was very upset that he to reschedule with me. I was later told by another employee that if it was really important to me, he probably would have missed the Super Bowl for our casual meeting. That’s dedication. I would never ask someone to do that (and he probably knows that), but the general mindset is what’s important. When you make a commitment, stick to it. Encourage your employees to do the same.

Provide multiple options.
When trying to schedule meetings, one of the best ways to make the process relatively painless is to send the person you’re trying to meet with several times and dates that work for you (or a couple of more general windows). This way, there is less back and forth with the scheduling. Alternatively, call the person to schedule the meeting. Sometimes a 5 minute phone call can save about 10 emails being sent back and forth.

Have tools available.
Whether it be a tool like TimeBridge or some sort of internal calendar program, having a system where employees can view each other’s availability is generally very helpful. It makes the process of scheduling meetings (especially among multiple people) much simpler and much less work for a majority of the attendees. And when you actually do have the tools, use them. The more sophisicated calendars can do a lot of interesting things and it’s a waste not to use those options, especially when they can be helpful.

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