Meetings that are unproductive and poorly managed claim endless hours of our time. What I believe is even worse is the valuable time wasted using emails, texting — and worse calling, going back and forth. After all, on average, a meeting is scheduled after eight emails, according to studies. But there are ways to politely share your scheduling link on Calendar.
Share Your Scheduling Link on Calendar
Thankfully, a scheduling link can solve this problem. If you’re not familiar, this is an instant communication method that establishes real-time connections between people or a URL. As a result, you will stop email ping pong, avoid scheduling conflicts, eliminate arduous work, and simplify your meeting workflow.
However, if you want to effectively share your scheduling link on Calendar, you need to do so politely. And here’s how you can accomplish just that.
Share when it is appropriate.
Let’s say you’re at your favorite coffee shop catching up on some work. Eventually, you strike up a conversation with a fellow patron. And, since you’ve hit it off, you decide to keep the conversation going by exchanging contact information.
It doesn’t matter if this is a potential romantic relationship or a new business connection. It would undoubtedly be pretentious if your first message included your calendar link. However, it is a relatively clear indication that you are a significant person.
Instead, just get their contact information and nurture the relationship organically. Then, in the following correspondence, ask them if they have a calendar link they would like to share. If not, then suggest sharing your calendar link with them. If that doesn’t fly, ask them when they’re available.
Additionally, disclosing “your schedule and routine to a stranger gives them information about your life that they could use against you,” says Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “Keep your sensitive calendar information to yourself.”
But, this isn’t the only time that it’s inappropriate to share a calendar link. For example, planning a surprise party or a brief 10-minute call probably doesn’t require scheduling links.
Open the door for them.
Traditionally, we were taught to open the door for others before ourselves. And we can definitely apply that to our Calendar availability as well.
Rather than just sending over your Calendar link and saying, “Here’s my calendar link,” you can “open the door” for someone else first. How? By asking for their availability.
You can then offer them your Calendar link after they have walked through the door. If you need a script to follow, try something like, “I would appreciate it if you could let me know when you’re available. Or, if it’s more convenient, you can choose a time off my Calendar.”
It may not seem like much. However, we observe a variety of seemingly little gestures, such as silencing your phone in a movie theater. Julianna Margulies perfectly put it, “Small gestures can have a big impact.”
Kelly Nolan, a time-management strategist, uses three different links in her Calendar for various purposes: client meetings, casual coffee dates or networking events, and team meetings. In addition, she gives enthusiastic support to auto-scheduling for unexpected reasons.
“You set end times,” Nolan told Bloomberg. For example, schedulers can set up time slots of up to 30 minutes, preventing attendees from ignoring the out-of-time cues when a meeting is over. Additionally, most programs she uses to protect her clients’ time are better than what they can manage independently.
“Many of us have that people-pleaser tendency to say ‘Well, okay, I’ll just make that inconvenient time work,’ which removes that propensity,” she said.
To avoid negative messaging, Nolan shares her calendar link and a note that says: If any of my upcoming appointments aren’t convenient for you, please let me know.
“It’s a signal that I’m willing to work with certain people beyond my calendar tool,” Kelly said.
Establish a friendly tone.
When inviting people to use your Calendar, pay attention to your wording. While you want to be direct, you don’t want to be too brash or disrespectful of their time. Instead, emphasize the convenience of using a calendar link, like no longer playing the back-and-forth game.
For example, you could say, “Whenever you’re ready, here’s my scheduling link on Calendar, so you can select a time that works best for you. I look forward to speaking with you soon.”
Timing is everything.
Timing is everything when sharing your Calendar. It’s best not to share your calendar link until it’s too late. At the same time, you don’t want to share it until the very last minute. It is essential to strike a balance.
You should share your Calendar 24-48 hours before you depart with your family and assistant, for example, if you plan a trip. For example, if you need a team meeting on Thursday, sending a scheduling link on Tuesday is cutting it way too close.
In short, you should factor in urgency and deadlines before sharing your Calendar so that it is shared at the appropriate time.
Moreover, be mindful of business hours, time zones, and holidays. For example, if you’re on the east coast and want to have a virtual meeting with a colleague who lives on the west coast, don’t suggest a 9 am EST meeting time. Instead, you’re asking them to jump on this video call at 6 am.
Even if the other person’s schedule does not align with what you have available on your Calendar, be open to accommodating their needs. For instance, “Could you share a convenient time for a meeting, or could you choose from my calendar if you prefer?”
Note that you don’t say that blocking out your time is only possible by using your calendar link. I often use this as a starting point, however.
Choose a compatible calendar.
Tech can be a little thorny sometimes. For example, even though it’s possible to switch between Apple, Google, or Microsoft, that can be confusing. What’s more, it’s not always convenient if you’re sharing a Google Calendar link with a group that primarily uses Apple Calendar.
Generally, you should ensure that your Calendar can be accessed from multiple platforms. This way, there is no syncing or sharing process to worry about. And, it’s convenient and doesn’t require the other invitees to install a new app or learn how it functions.
Follow the Goldilocks Rule.
“Certainly, privacy could be an issue for successful calendar sharing,” writes Kayla Sloan in an article for Calendar. “But many people merge work and personal calendars without issue.”
Most online calendars and apps “have settings that let you make some entries private and others shared.” Unfortunately, those settings prevent others from being able to see sensitive information.
“However, not all calendars have the same capabilities,” adds Sloan. “Therefore, you can permit everyone to see personal appointments, make entries vague, or not put them on work calendars.”
When adding event details to a shared calendar, strike a balance. Date, time, and location should be listed at the very least. It’s also a brilliant idea to include who will attend.
With attachments containing agendas and locations, they can obtain directions on their phones without giving too much information.
Also, avoid being vague. Do not just schedule the afternoon for “meetings.” Make sure everyone has the information they need in advance.
Don’t ghost anyone.
In other words, if you receive a calendar link, don’t leave the sender high and dry.
I’ve sent calendar invitations to someone who never replied in the past. Maybe because they knew about the invite and assumed that I anticipated their attendance. But, it’s still a pet peeve of mine.
You only have to click a button to confirm. Also, it’s nice to let others know you’re coming. Additionally, you will receive updates, such as cancellations. One invitation allows for more efficiency than multiple invitations.
And hopefully, because you responded, others will reciprocate when you share your scheduling link in the future.
You might consider embedding your calendar link in your email body. Why? There are fewer clicks involved than on your website. In turn, it’s more courteous since saving other time when scheduling.
Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.