As a busy corporate exec or business leader, you juggle all sorts of flaming swords and projects every day. You rely on your productivity systems and your calendar to drive your schedule.
If you're like me, you live by your calendar. We use Google Apps at Mojo, which means that our calendars are shared and available in the cloud for seamless collaboration.
One thing I've noticed, however, is that not everyone manages their calendar well. When I send invites to others for business meetings or accept invitations from others, I encounter all sorts of inefficiencies that make life a little more challenging.
So without further ado, here are a few ways you can do your part to create a user-friendly scheduling experience for those you work with.
Respond to Invitations
This one seems super basic but not everyone does it. I cannot count how many times I send a calendar invitation to someone (who knows about the meeting and should be expecting it) only to get no response. Not a yes, a no, or even a maybe. It just takes one click to respond and it's good manners because it lets other attendees know that you're confirmed.
I recently had a Facebook conversation on calendar etiquette and some people on the thread made some good points about duplicate entries. The argument against accepting invitations was that if you already have the event on your calendar you don't want to accept the invitation because it's "extra work" or additional "noise." I disagree. It only takes an extra couple of seconds to delete your calendar event and accept the invitation.
Even better, now you are subscribed to additional updates so you are in the loop if anything changes or the meeting gets cancelled. Using one centralized invitation is more efficient than relying on outside communication and a series of unique calendar events.
Use Descriptive Titles
I get all sorts of invitations with titles like "Lunch" or "Meet with Michael." While it may be fine for the other person to use vague language or titles that apply to their context, it reduces the usability of my calendar.
When you send calendar invitations, try to think of how it will look to the other person or people on the event. If your name is Bob and you book a lunch meeting with Joe, use a title like "Bob / Joe lunch meeting to discuss marketing proposal." Notice how this is very clear and descriptive? Both parties can quickly look at their calendars and determine exactly what the meeting is about.
Include Location Information
Along with titles, it's also important to include detailed location information in calendar events. Not everyone knows where "Pete's Pub" is or "The Acme Office." Yes, we can easily Google it but that's extra work. If you include the complete address of locations in our calendar invitations then attendees can just click on the event in their phones to activate the mapping feature. This saves time and potential frustration.
If it's a virtual meeting or a call, include exactly who is calling who and what the number is. For example: "Michael will call Joe at 555.555.1212 x123." This clearly specifies what's going on.
Include Relevant Notes in the Description
Finally, the description area is there for a reason... use it! Be sure to place notes, agenda items, documents, conference call info, and anything else that adds context to the event. The more information the better. This helps attendees prepare for meetings more effectively.
While these guidelines might seem picky and detailed, they can go a long way toward reducing friction when working with others to schedule appointments.
How do you reduce friction when using your calendar?