It’s rare that anyone looks forward to a day full of calls. On average, employees attend around 60 meetings every month – half of which are pretty much a waste of time. Since the pandemic, businesses have encouraged the use of calls to keep in contact and counteract the lack of face-to-face interactions. But this has posed its own difficulties – because let’s face it, scheduling meetings is a nightmare. From clashes to no-shows, the process of getting colleagues and clients on the phone can take longer than the phone call itself. So why is scheduling meetings so difficult? And what’s the best way to schedule meetings with a group?
1. Choosing the attendees
Deciding on the guest list is the first step when scheduling meetings. It can be difficult to determine who really needs to be there and who might be able to contribute. Every new participant is going to add to the length of the meeting– and if they won’t, because they’re not going to contribute, do they really need to be there? Alternatively, if you don’t invite enough people then you maybe missing out on some great ideas.
Unfortunately, there’s no right or wrong answer here – just start with the necessary participants and work from there. If it’s an ideation session, then the more brains the better. If it’s a budget meeting then fewer heads may be able to come to a decision much sooner.
2. Deciding on the length
“I’ve booked in an hour but we might not need it.” We’re all guilty of it – it’s the default length for most meetings, but longer meetings only tend to be longer because there’s time to ‘spare’. If you cut down your meeting times, you’re likely to find that you’re more productive in a shorter period because you’ll cut out filler conversations and head straight into the agenda.
3. Booking a meeting slot
We’re stating the obvious here; but for the most part, calendars and schedules are packed. So the biggest issue when it comes to scheduling meetings is the amount it takes to find a meeting time that suits everyone – particularly where there are multiple attendees involved. You might suggest one day and find that a colleague is on annual leave, or another has a different meeting booked at that time – and don’t get us started on different time zones!
Typically, finding a meeting time involves a lot of trial and error, and a lot of back and forth over emails. You’ll often find yourself sending over multiple suggestions for a meeting slot until you finally agree on one. This is the biggest time waster of all. Instead, it’s much easier to use a piece of software that will automate the meeting scheduling process from within your inbox.
4. Guaranteeing full attendance
It’s near enough impossible. At the end of the day, you can’t predict what might crop up during the day and you can’t guarantee that all attendees will hop on, but you can provide some encouragement. Start by setting reminders and allow attendees to update their responses to your invites. Providing a detailed agenda can also encourage more attendance as it shows there is real purpose to the meeting.
5. Finding a location
40% of workers waste up to 30 minutes just trying to find a collaborative space for their meetings*. From busy offices and pricey conference rooms to online platforms, there are many hosting options for your upcoming meetings. So it’s important that you determine whether the meeting needs to happen in-person or whether it can take place online.
· Set out a thorough agenda to avoid wasting time and achieve your goals.
· Put someone in charge of keeping the meeting on task and another to take notes that can be shared once the meeting is complete.
· Make sure everyone is prepared so that valuable contributions can be made – you don’t want your time to be wasted.
We all have our irritations at work, and scheduling meetings is one of them. Make your life a little easier by implementing our tips and tricks to help save you time and frustrations.