All of us are scheduling meetings at work . However, we don’t always know how to do it right for the meeting to start off on the right foot. Here are a few guidelines for helping us doing so.
Do we need it?
Yes, this is the first question we all should ask ourselves. Do we really need that meeting? If we can close it in a corridor discussion or over an email, then we shouldn’t schedule a meeting.
On the other hand, I see many emails with endless back-and-forth threads that practically scream for a meeting to occur.
We need to make sure that the distribution is proper for the meeting, meaning we have all the key people for achieving the objectives of that meeting. Missing a key person might require a follow up meeting and/or email discussion.
Many times I see that after a meeting occurs, an email thread starts by a key person that was missing from the meeting, ending up with re-explaining the meeting notes over an email, which is usually not effective (otherwise, the meeting wasn’t needed in the first place).
Keep the forum as small as possible. Big meetings are not effective (unless it is a lecture).
Each meeting MUST have an objective. If possible, also add agenda to the meeting – what you want to cover in this meeting. Objective + Agenda = Objenda.
People must come to a meeting with understanding of what the meeting is all about. Describing a proper objective allows people to decide whether they are necessary for the meeting or not, and whether they should delegate the meeting to someone else that is more relevant then themselves.
This should make sure the forum of the meeting is the proper one.
Set the proper length for a meeting. Don’t set 30 minutes for a meeting you know would take 1.5 hours.
Try to schedule your meetings for 50 minutes, allowing people to reach their next meeting on the schedule.
If you set a meeting after lunch, take a buffer of 10 minutes. For example, if in your organization people usually eat 12:00-13:00, don’t start a meeting before 13:10. Otherwise, you would find yourself starting with a partial forum. This would start the meeting off on the bad foot.
The default outlook reminder is 15 minutes. I find this inappropriate as it is too long of a notice for people.
- People usually turn off the reminder and by the meeting start time they already forgot about the meeting.
- The ones that use the reminder Snooze option, need to do it 3 times till the meeting starts. Annoying!
I recommend using the 5 minutes reminder. People get it once and they start preparing to the meeting immediately as it is a few minutes away.
How to do it?
- Go to File
- Select Options
- Select Calendar
- Under “Calendar options” set the “Default reminders” to “5 minutes”