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Schedule Meetings? Not Me!

The following are common problems when attempting to schedule meetings:

1) A date and time is announced, only to discover that some important participants can't attend, and then another date has to be found.

2) Participants are polled about their availability for a meeting, but are given so few choices that no common date can be found.

3) A meeting is confirmed, but then needs to be changed.

4) A meeting location is specified in one message, then changed in another, and those who miss the second message end up at the wrong room.

5) So many messages fly around about a proposed meeting that there's general confusion about when and where a meeting is.

6) Someone tries to use an intranet-based scheduling which is fine for work teams, but can't invite outside participants.

7) A work team decides to use a common scheduling system, posting and updating their schedules on an intranet, only to find that after the initial enthusiasm, people get lazy about updating their schedules, or resent having to show their availability to everyone else -- and eventually less and less time becomes available to meet.

8) Someone goes through all the trouble of scheduling a meeting then finds out the location they were planning on using is already booked.

9 No one sends a reminder about a meeting, and sure enough, several people forget and don't show up.

10) You get invited to a meeting but the organizer forgets to say where it is, how long it will last, or even what it's about!

11) People get so frustrated trying to set up meetings that they just stop doing it, or won't take the responsibility. It's rare to see anyone volunteering gleefully to set-up a meeting these days.

What are some of the results of this?:

- lots of time wasted
- inefficiency
- money down the drain

Worst of all, there's an opportunity cost as highly paid workers waste their time performing low skill work instead of higher value activities. But didn't we imply that setting up meetings is not such an easy task? True, but it's not rocket science, and rocket scientists shouldn't be wasting their time, and neither should secretaries.

All of us need solutions to make scheduling meetings more efficient and less of a hassle. Unfortunately, there is not one solution for everyone, and there's no substitute for judgment and common sense. In scheduling software we address the former, but let us look at a few good common sense ideas when scheduling a meeting...


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