In today's fast-paced business world, effective communication is paramount. A poorly managed scheduling process can lead attendees to feel disgruntled even before a meeting starts. Effective meeting schedule conveys excellence in preparation and reflects well on the meeting organizer.
Whether you're coordinating with colleagues, clients, or collaborators, mastering the art of scheduling meetings like a professional can greatly enhance your team’s productivity and reputation in the workplace. Here are some essential tips to help you become a scheduling maestro:
1. Lean on Your (Human or AI) Assistant
One of the most valuable resources for scheduling meetings efficiently is having a capable assistant. C-suite leaders may be accustomed to relying on a dedicated personal assistant to handle meeting scheduling and other minutiae. For the rest of us, a new generation of AI assistants such as Xembly are democratizing that same superpower by taking on the role of meeting organizer.
Now, with just a simple Slack message or email request, your personal AI assistant meeting scheduler can read your natural language scheduling request, identify calendar conflicts, and schedule an appropriate time. This kind of scheduling software can take the tedious task of back-and-forth email exchanges off your plate.
By entrusting the responsibility of scheduling multiple meetings to your assistant, you can also free up your time for more strategic tasks while ensuring that scheduling is handled in a professional and timely manner.
2. Provide Options (Only When Needed)
When it comes to scheduling, simplicity reigns supreme. If you (or your assistant) have a clear understanding of both party’s availability and preferences, then a smart capable assistant can instantly identify the ideal timeframe for a meeting. As a fallback, either party can and should always be able to request a reschedule if necessary.
When one party’s calendar is unknown, you (or your scheduling assistant) should be able to provide a few options that the other party can select from. Flexibility is key when trying to accommodate diverse schedules. When suggesting meeting times, provide a range of options that cater to different time zones and preferences.
However, be cautious not to overwhelm your invitees with a surplus of options. Presenting too many choices can lead to decision fatigue, making it harder for them to choose. Instead, offer a few well-thought-out options that suit your needs and allow participants to select the one that best aligns with their schedule. In general, 3-4 options tend to work best in most situations.
Xembly attempts to handle the tension of simplicity and flexibility by defaulting to one scheduled time that works for all parties while also giving the meeting organizer the ability to offer alternatives to the scheduling recipient if needed.
3. Be Mindful of People's Time
Respecting other people's time is a hallmark of professionalism. When scheduling meetings, always consider who really needs to attend the meeting. Would some participants be better left to receive meeting notes rather than attend the duration of the meeting? Group scheduling is a corporate art that needs to be dutifully respected.
It’s also worth considering the meeting duration and allocating the appropriate amount of time for discussions. Avoid cramming too many topics into a single session, as this can lead to rushed discussions and a lack of productivity. Additionally, start and end meetings on time as a sign of respect for participants' schedules.
Some companies even engage in standing meeting policies as a way to incentivize employees to schedule short meetings (New York Times, 2023). Whatever format and duration you choose, it’s important that participants come away feeling like their time was well spent. Otherwise, you may not get another meeting!
4. Use Booking Links as a Last Resort
While scheduling links with a personalized scheduling page were popularized by SaaS companies in the 2010s, these scheduling tools are increasingly becoming outdated as new AI assistants offer simpler and cleaner scheduling experiences.
Sending a booking link can confer the idea of, “why don’t you do the work?” They can sometimes feel impersonal and detached. It's always a good practice to communicate directly with participants whenever possible, as this fosters a more personal and engaging interaction.
In some edge cases, calendar links may still be helpful as a way to give the attendee very granular control over the meeting time, but in most cases, both party’s needs would be better served by a scheduling assistant who can assist throughout the entire scheduling process.
5. Don't Forget to Take Notes
Taking notes during meetings is not just about being professional. It's a way to capture important information, action items, and decisions made during the discussion. These notes serve as valuable reference points for follow-up and accountability.
First generation note taking aids would either give you a canvas in which to take notes (e.g. Evernote) or offer to provide a full transcript for you (e.g. Otter). A modern AI-based note taking platform like Xembly can offer the best of all worlds with a full transcript and video recording along with summarized bullet point notes and Action Items that can be traced to the exact moment within the transcript or recording.
By being proactive and inviting your AI notetaker to take notes during your meeting, you can help every participant stay present during the meeting and allow both attendees and non-attendees to remain committed stakeholders as they follow the decisions and Action Items through to completion after the meeting.
Scheduling meetings like a professional is a skill that requires finesse and consideration. By leveraging the right tools and adopting a mindful approach, you can streamline the scheduling process while presenting your best self and mastering smart calendar management.
In aggregate, scheduling effective meetings with the right stakeholders, for the right duration, at the right times, can also help to make your schedule (and theirs) more productive. A balanced workday with time for meetings, focused work time, and breaks can also help protect against the burnout that all too often plagues overworked individuals.
To get started turning scheduling mayhem into scheduling nirvana, visit xembly.com and sign up for free to try a modern, elegant scheduling experience.