When sending out a meeting invitation, it’s tempting to send it out quickly to ensure your participants don't accept another meeting invitation instead, forcing you to reschedule yours. However, rushing often results in mistakes. Save yourself time and embarrassment by asking yourself these five questions first.
1. Who are the participants?
First off, think about who really needs to be involved in the meeting. If someone’s contribution can be achieved with a simple email or quick call, they probably don’t need to attend. It’s better for them to spend that time working than attending a meeting unnecessarily.
You'll also need to think about the requirements of your participants. Is there a client attending who has a preference about how to meet? Will everyone be present in the office on the day you'd like to meet? Use your participants to decide whether to do an audio conference, a web conference or an in-person meeting.
2. What's on the agenda?
Everyone needs to know what's going to be discussed in the meeting before it starts. There’s nothing worse than entering a meeting without a plan. You'll waste valuable time and may even leave out important discussions points. To avoid this, make sure to include the agenda when you send out the invitations. This will give everyone time to prepare any knowledge and materials they may need.
3. What are the expected outcomes?
What do you want to achieve in this meeting? Having a clear outcome in mind will help everyone to reach that goal. Make sure that all the attendees are aware of anything that needs to be decided on during the meeting. This will give them time to look into the issue and prepare to deliver their opinion.
4. Are we using conferencing software?
If you’re using conferencing software to meet (via audio or face-to-face with web) and some participants are not familiar with using it, make sure that you include guidance on how to get in to the conference call in your email.
Alternatively, if scheduling an in-person meeting, add clear directions to the office you will use.
5. How long will the meeting last?
Make sure that you schedule enough time for all the important points to be covered, without going overboard. Everyone needs to know the length of the meeting in case it will overlap with a prior engagement, so don’t leave this detail out of the invitation.
Answering all of these questions means your invitation will only go to the relevant people and will contain all the necessary information for them. Additionally, your meeting should run more smoothly and be more productive.