Here come the Holidays! You’ll soon be making resolutions to get skinny, save an extra few bucks a month, or to read more non-smut material (like Alexandre Dumas, for example). Wonderful! Add this to your list, “I will stop sending uninformative calendar invites to those who I schedule meetings with.” I can’t tell you how many meetings that I plan where the other person, full of gumption and speed, sends me a calendar invite for it within moments of our agreeing on a time, just for it to say, “Meet with Jared,” “Me and JC,” “Website talk," and so on. I know I'M in the meeting, but what am I meeting about and who am I meeting WITH? The calendar invite tells me none of this.
Sounds harsh, right? No. I’m doing you and everyone in your world a favor. We haven’t been taught this kind of professional courtesy yet, but it’s becoming more and more of an issue. When you send someone a calendar invite, you are indeed determining what will be on THEIR calendar too, so it needs to work for all involved.
Here are 4 Tips to creating professional calendar invites:
1. Create A Relevant Title
When Just 2 People Are Meeting
If the meeting is just you and one other person, feel free to put both names in the title line. This way, the other person won’t have to open the event and read the notes to know who this meeting is with. For Example: Ted Cruz talks Web with Jared Cullop (JCI MKTG). This clearly shows who is talking and about what. It even includes the name of the web company which is handy if you are meeting with multiple companies.
When Multiple People and Organizations Are Meeting
If there are multiple people, especially if there are multiples from multiple organizations, use the notes section of the invite (talked about futher down). In the title line, be sure to put something that works to bring clarity for everyone you invite. For example: Chicago Bulls MKTG talks Inbound Marketing with JCI MKTG. This shows which department is meeting with which company and what they are meeting about.
2. Add The Location
Be sure not to put the location as “my place.” Make sure the location is named and there is a proper address. iCal makes this easy with suggesting addresses when you type in the name of the location. If you are having a phone call and not a face to face meeting, put something like “Jared to call Scotty at 888.777.7777.” You want to assign someone as “the caller” and the other as “the waiter-onner,” that way you both don’t just sit there waiting on the other one to call. How many times have you sat there unsure of who is supposed to be calling with anxiety taking you over that you might lose this deal. Next time, put in who is calling who and you'll save yourself a panic attack.
3. Set The Correct Amount of Time
If there’s no chance that the meeting/call will take a whole hour, do everyone a favor and change it from the default 60 minute meeting to the 15 or 30 or whatever that it is likely to take. Nothing is more frustrating than having to postpone another important meeting because you thought this meeting was going to be an hour long and it ends up only being 15 minutes. Save each other time by getting this right. Also, don't go over the amount of time you scheduled if you are the scheduler. Unless the other party invites you to stay longer, get ready to leave 5 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end. That shows respect of their time. They will most likely invite you to stay longer if they have the time. If they don't, they can schedule a longer meeting with you at a later date and know you will respect their time. This is an easy way to win points with people.
4. Add In Notes if Necessary
Some meetings require people to jump on a webinar, google hangout, skype or Facetime. Make sure to leave those details in the notes section so they don't have to search through emails to find the contact information. If it's a webinar, include the link, passcode and a number to reach should they need assistance. Per my earlier example of setting up a meeting with multiple people and multiple organizations, a good example ‘notes usage’ would be to put the people attending the meeting with their organization. This way everyone knows who's who.
- JCI MKTG
- Jared Cullop
- Tonya Norman
- Tyler Vaughn
- Epic Chicago Bulls
- Michael Jordan
- Scotty Pippin
- Michael Jordan (yeah…)
YAY! I’m sure many are reading this and nodding their heads, while others are wondering if they’ve really messed this up royally in the past. Hopefully, this helps you make a better impression on those you meet and converse with. Decide today to make the change, for a better 2016!