In an office environment with multiple departments and teams, it can get a bit hectic trying to schedule a meeting during the work day. It takes a lot of patience and flexibility to work with numerous parties and find a time that works for everyone.
Booking a meeting is only a portion of the battle. As team players, we have to remember not to take time for granted, because in a busy environment time really is of the essence.
Picking time and attendants
Be respectful of other people’s schedules. We are in client services which means the client comes first. A call with a client trumps an internal discussion every time. This also ties into the attendees needed at your meeting – if anyone is mandatory, make sure you are working around their schedule. If someone is not mandatory, make sure they are aware they are an optional attendee. Respecting someone’s time is the first step to blocking off any part of the day.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Does my meeting topic depend on discussion or brainstorming? If you answered YES, book a meeting!
Can I send this information in an email instead? If you answered YES, start with the email. Move to a meeting after recipients have had time to think about what you put out there and want to discuss further!
Does the necessary meeting attendee sit close to me? AND do I only have to ask them one question? If you answered YES, speak face to face with the person in mind. If they are in other meetings – try internal office chats like Slack! Great for quick messages and getting right to the point without wasting precious time!
Coming to meetings prepared
If you are invited to a meeting, there is probably a reason. Unless you have informed the meeting initiator that you are unable to attend, you are expected to be there! You could be crucial to the discussion so don’t let your team down.
Make sure your calendar is set up to notify you ahead of your meeting so you can show up 5+ minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin. This is especially important if you are joining a call with a client or outside partner so you can huddle with the rest of your coworkers to make sure everyone is on the same page ahead of time.
Most importantly: COME PREPARED! Bring a notebook. Bring campaign results. Bring ideas! Be ready to discuss the topic you are there to discuss. Take notes and make sure to follow up with deliverables and action items.
Staying on schedule
To avoid overflow in the time you’ve allocated, make sure to book enough time for your meeting! If you have a number of things to discuss, maybe 30 minutes isn’t enough time. OVERESTIMATE the time needed. If you don’t use the entire hour you have set aside, great! Extra time to yourself! This is much better than the alternative – running overtime and setting all attendees back in their daily schedule, or worse, late to their next meeting!
Unexpected meetings and huddles will come up with no notice, and of course we will all make arrangements. But the more we can plan ahead, the more we can respect those around us!