5 Tips for Scheduling Meetings with Consideration for Everyone's Time


Employees often find themselves caught up in a whole big mess of meetings that they would rather escape than attend, mainly because they were planned without consideration for their precious time. There are also instances when too many people are invited to a meeting, causing employees to feel like they cannot speak up and hold a productive discussion. Scheduling meetings with consideration for everyone's time is very important.

5 Tips for Scheduling Meetings with Consideration for Everyone's Time When we sit in these kinds of meetings, it is easy to drift away due to the pressures of other work-related tasks weighing down on us and distracting us as we wait for the meeting to end. This scenario, unfortunately, is a reality for many people who are mainly just trying to do their job. So, what can be done to solve such issues? For starters, it is worth always having a meeting agenda that includes a schedule of events. Moreover, if you are organising a meeting, you should keep it as short as possible. Here are a few other tips that will help ensure that your meetings will not end up being a waste of time!


Always Have an Agenda


Agendas are effective tools that can help make meetings concise and effective. An agenda is an outline of the topics that will be discussed. It should include the goal or objective of the meeting and what role each attendee has in achieving that objective. It does not have to be complicated or down-to-the-minute specific. The main goal is to provide the attendees with a few general objectives and give them a general idea of what they should expect. When you come up with a clear outline of the meeting, people can prepare for it beforehand and get ready to take part in the meeting, allowing you to have a productive discussion. An agenda will also make staying on topic easier, making it harder for you to start drifting away from what the meeting was supposed to be about.


Be Specific About the Meeting’s Purpose


It is also important that you are clear about the objective of the meeting and what you want to achieve by organising it. On top of that, you should figure out who you need to invite and how each attendee can contribute to the discussion. If possible, you should also keep the number of attendees as low as possible. The fewer people are involved, the easier it will be to keep everyone engaged. For example, if you are in charge of organising a monthly meeting related to an ongoing project, you could say that the goal of the meeting is to evaluate everyone’s progress and brainstorm ideas related to the future of the project. Keep in mind that the goal of any meeting has to be realistic. If you are unlikely to achieve that goal within the planned time frame, you should rethink the meeting’s agenda and see how it can be shortened.


Encourage Discussion by Asking Open Questions


To ensure that everyone participates in the meeting and stays active, try asking open-ended questions instead of yes-or-no ones. Open-ended questions allow people to express their own thoughts and ideas, while yes-or-no questions tend to limit interaction among the participants. For example, instead of asking Do we have enough resources to complete this project?  try asking What resources do we need to complete this project? It will encourage the participants to speak up and take part in the discussion. You could also try to address specific employees rather than wait for anyone to speak up.


Do Not Forget About Different Time Zones


If you are in charge of an international team that is spread out around the world, it is worth remembering that not everyone is going to be in the same time zone as you. So, you should always ensure that you respect each person’s time zone when scheduling meetings so that no one feels left out.


Be Sensitive About How You Communicate


Do not send every attendee a dry email saying Please see me ASAP. An email like this can be very off-putting and could make someone feel uneasy about what they should expect from this particular meeting. Moreover, it is never a great practice to organise meetings at the last minute. In addition, try avoiding any kind of negative language that could cause offence or make someone feel uncomfortable. Here is an example of an e-mail that you could send out to people that you want to meet up with!

I would like to discuss an important matter with you regarding the project. Please see me at 3 PM today so that we can go over it together. I look forward to seeing you then!

Such wording allows you to get your message across in a clear and concise manner without making you sound too harsh or demanding.


In Conclusion


To sum up, employees who know that you put effort into making sure to provide every attendee with an agenda of the meeting and that the meeting is as concise and effective as possible will be more eager to take part in the discussion and stay engaged throughout the meeting. It does not matter if you are organising a company-wide conference or scheduling a conversation with a small team. You should always keep the goal of the meeting in mind and make it a point to respect everyone’s time by keeping it to the point, avoiding distractions, and keeping track of how much time has passed since the start of the meeting.