The art of effective meeting scheduling: Tips for busy leaders

As a business leader, you know the importance of meetings for bringing together your team, making decisions and taking your company from strength to strength. However, with so many demands on your time, scheduling meetings effectively is one of the biggest challenges for most CEOs and senior executives to master. So how can we make time for busy leaders?

According to a survey of employees by the University of North Carolina, most said that as much as a third of meetings were unproductive. This adds another important point. Everyone in an organization and not just those in senior positions needs to make the most of their time. 

Scheduling tools like Doodle are just one of the ways people can cut down the noise and take back more control of their day, but to help you further, here are some productivity hacks for busy leaders to make you a scheduling pro.

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Start with a clear purpose

Before you even begin to schedule a meeting, take some time to think about the purpose of the meeting and what you want to achieve. This will help you determine who needs to be involved and how much time is needed. 

One of the best things to do is to create a meeting outline. This is a little different from an agenda in that it’s more about setting out or workshopping high-level expectations, goals and objectives. This doesn’t have to be something formal or take a lot of time but it’ll give you an idea of what you need to accomplish.

Invite the right people

Not every meeting needs to involve the entire team. Consider who truly needs to be there based on their expertise, input or decision-making power. Inviting too many people can waste time and dilute the conversation, while not inviting the right people can hinder progress.

When planning the meeting think about who is going to add value to the meeting and ensure there are going to be clear next steps when it’s over.

Set a specific agenda

Once you know the purpose of the meeting and who needs to be there, create a specific agenda with clear goals and objectives. This will help everyone understand what will be discussed and what is expected of them. It will also ensure that the meeting stays on track and doesn't drift into unrelated topics.

It’s also important to make sure you take time to recognize team accomplishments. Add a couple of minutes to your agenda to give a shout-out for great work. It’ll help motivate your team and lift the spirits of the meeting.

Choose the right time and place

When scheduling a meeting, consider the availability of all attendees and choose a time that works for everyone. This is where a tool like Doodle can make the process simple. If you need to get a group together, try sending a Group Poll invite and find a time that works for everyone.

Also, think about the location and whether you need to be in person or online for a productive discussion. For example, a conference room may be better for a larger group, while a one-on-one meeting could take in a coffee shop.

Consider technology 

With video conferencing now a key part of most businesses, it's easier than ever to have meetings with people who aren’t in the same place as you. It’s one of the best time management techniques for busy executives to make use of.

This can also be a great option for remote teams or for inviting external experts to join the conversation. Just make sure to test the technology in advance, take account of time zones and provide clear instructions to ensure a smooth meeting.

Follow up after the meeting

One of the biggest mistakes people make with meetings is failing to follow up on action items and decisions. 

After the meeting, take some time to review the notes and send out a summary of what was discussed, as well as the next steps and who has to do what. This will help everyone stay on track and accountable for their part in achieving the goals of the meeting.

Effective meeting scheduling can be a key factor in the success of your business. By following these tips, you can ensure your meetings are productive, efficient and valuable for your team.

To recap these effective time management tips, remember to start with a clear purpose, invite the right people, set a specific agenda, choose the right time and place, consider technology such as video conferencing and follow up after the meeting. By doing these things, you can make the most of your time and achieve your goals more effectively.

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