The Common Act of Scheduling a Meeting
What’s more common than opening our calendars and scheduling meetings? Not a business day goes by where we don’t schedule at least one meeting with our colleagues, prospects, clients, managers, etc. It has become a daily work routine and we do it almost automatically. We open our email clients, then open our calendars, choose the start time and end time, subject and location, invite attendees, include a short message at the bottom and then click on “Save & Close”. Sounds familiar? Now, is that the proper way to schedule a meeting? Of course it is, otherwise why would we have these great scheduling features in our email clients? Well, let us explore this point a bit further.
It Takes Two to Tango
Scheduling a meeting is like tangoing – it takes (at least) two. Since you cannot schedule a meeting, conference call, video call, or even a simple phone conversation with yourself alone (Could be nice, ah?), you must consider the availability of the attendee and not only yours. You have to ask for the meeting and not dictate it. You have to show respect to other people’s time, and not only think about what’s right and convenient for you. That is being inconsiderate, and has no place if effective long-term business relationships is what you wish to establish with people you work with.
Building Email Rapport
Building rapport is the act of connecting and building relationships with others on the basis of mutual understanding, respect, and trust. Some people might argue that building rapport is more important when facing people or on the phone, rather than in emails. I truly disagree. When you have face-to-face contact with people, body language, facial expressions, eye contact and other nonverbal signals, help you bring more “life” to the message you wish to convey, and as a result, one can achieve a faster and more effective rapport with others. In emails, building rapport is much more difficult and requires special focus, care and attention, simply because it is more impersonal, and less intimate and engaging than face-to-face encounters.
Ask for the Meeting, Don’t Just Dictate it
So, if building email rapport is what you are aiming for, you want to always ask for a meeting, not dictate it. You want to, first and foremost, understand when would be a convenient time for the attendee to meet or have a conversation, and not just announce that “I am available tomorrow between 9:00 am and 10:30 am” without acknowledging, respecting or being sensitive to the scheduling needs of the other person. Some useful formats to consider when asking for a meeting:
- Please let me know when would be a convenient time for me to contact you.
- Please let me know what date and time suits you best.
- Please let me know when would be the best time for you to meet.
- Please let me know when would be a good time to call you.
- Please let me know what works best with your schedule.
- Please let me know when would be a convenient time for you to meet.
- Please let me know what time will work for you best.
- Please let me know what date and time works best for you.
- Please let me know what time is most convenient for you to schedule a meeting.
- Please let me know what time is good for you.