Practices for Professionals – Meetings Best Practice 4: Scheduling
Scheduling meetings becomes particularly difficult when they involve numerous or senior level attendees. That said, there are several rules of thumb when scheduling meetings that can help ensure on-time attendance by those individuals needed to achieve the meetings objectives.
Principles for Scheduling Meetings
- Schedule the meeting as far in advance as possible – This minimizes the number of conflicts that may present themselves for one or more of the meeting attendees and provides the greatest amount of time for attendees to resolve conflicts that do exist.
- Allow adequate for attendees to transition and/or travel to the meeting location – Scheduling meetings that are back to back in attendees’ calendars is a promising method of ensuring late or no attendance. Allowing for a reasonable transition time between their preceding activity and your meeting helps ensure their on-time attendance.
- Allow transition time after the meeting – Similar to allowing transition time before the meeting, allowing some transition time between attendees post meeting obligations helps to ensure they remain for the entire meeting duration and stay engaged in the meeting rather than thinking about their ability to make their next obligation.
- Avoid scheduling meetings immediately after lunch – Meetings scheduled following meals tend to find attendees digesting their food which results in a more lethargic mental state leading to less effective meeting participation.
- Avoid scheduling meetings at the end of the business day and immediately before lunch – Scheduling against the time employees depart the organization will create an unnecessary distraction that diminishes engagement.
- Avoid scheduling recurring meetings on Fridays or the day before a holiday weekend – The day preceding a weekend or holiday tends to be one in which individuals seek to wrap-up loose end obligations that would hinder their time off. Such distractions diminish meeting participation.
- Avoid scheduling meetings early Monday morning or on the day individuals return to work from a holiday – Professionals returning to work after time off tend to find their in-boxes full and are under some pressure to perform tasks left unfinished prior to departing on their break. These activities serve as distractors to meetings.
Best Times to Schedule Meetings
The most effective times to schedule meetings and especially recurring meetings for those companies following a traditional Monday through Friday workweek include:
- Tuesday through Thursday
- Mornings from 30 minutes after individuals arrive at work until 30 min before their lunch break
- One hour after the lunch break until 30 minutes prior to the end of the day
- Monday afternoons and Friday mornings, if necessary
About the Author
Nathan Ives is a StrategyDriven Principal, and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.
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