-How to control the location, medium and time of meetings
-How to optimize your schedule for each meeting medium
-How to share your “Go-To” preferences
Once you’ve managed to get your arms around the optimal duration for meetings, you can take your scheduling to another level by optimizing the venues.
The typical cadence of a meeting goes something like this:
Darth Vader: “Grand Moff Tarkin, I’d like to get together to talk about the Rebel force that has appeared outside the Death Star’s perimeter.”
Grand Moff Tarkin: “Sounds cool Lord Vader, how about we meet at the Starbucks in Sector Alpha at 7 p.m.?”
Darth Vader: “Oh I love me some Venti Skim Milk, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free Caramel Macchiato, I’ll see you there then.”
Darth Vader, for as powerful of a Sith lord as he is, just conceded control of three critical elements of the calendar game – location, medium, and time.
In this case it’s fairly irrelevant given the soon to be ultimate destruction of the Death Star, but even still – he should have never let this whole meeting conundrum take place.
If you want to take back your calendar you’ve got to learn to take control of the 3 Calendar Variables.
There are so many great ways to communicate these days, but we still tend to use them fairly arbitrarily. We call when we’re in the car. We meet face-to-face when it seems politically appropriate. We email whenever humanly possible.
Instead of using these tools arbitrarily, you should control your calendar by using them very deliberately. In the case of your assistant working for you, you can ask them to specifically use the tools that save you the most time or create the most amount of efficiency.
You can rank these differently, but generally:
One way to help control your meeting times and the cadence of the meetings is to give yourself a home field advantage – stick to a few tried and true locations and always suggest them first.
If you’re using an assistant then making a quick list of your favorite coffee shops, restaurants or conference rooms is a must. Aside from finding yourself in places you enjoy more often, it will also allow you control the time between meetings, letting you make sure your lunch just happens to be two doors down from your next meeting.
This sounds obvious but how many meetings have you attended in the last few weeks where you were the one setting the venue? Not many? You see what we mean?
Get the most out of meetings by using the proper medium for that specific type of interaction. When meeting in person—don’t travel across town—instead, meet at your favorite coffee shop.
Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.