What is the Perfect Time for Your Next Meeting?

Meetings are a great tool to use for sharing information with a group of people. Large or small, planned or impromptu, meetings make it easy to brainstorm and collaborate.

Timing is very important when it comes to scheduling meetings. First, you have to select a time when most people are available. Second, you need to decide on the length of the meeting—too short and you won’t have enough time to cover all of your information and if it’s too long, you’ll lose the attention of your guests.

When to schedule a meeting

When is Good, an online meeting scheduling service, conducted a survey looking for the best time to conduct a meeting. They found that most people were available and willing to accept meeting requests for Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. By this time, most people have already had their lunch and have gotten their second burst of energy, yet there is still enough time before the end of the day.

Since Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. are not always going to be available, it’s important to know which days and times you should try to avoid. Common sense dictates avoiding scheduling meetings on Mondays and Fridays as most people either recovering from or busy thinking about the coming weekend festivities. Also, many employees use their vacation time on these days to extend their time off. As a result, key decision makers may not even be available.

Also, try and stay away from early morning (before 9:00 a.m.) and late afternoon (after 4:00 p.m.) meetings as well. If you schedule a meeting too early in the morning, associates are forced to either prepare the day before or come into work earlier than usual. This may result in participants coming unprepared or showing up late to your meeting, and at the very least, you’ll likely struggle with lethargy and resentment throughout your meeting, regardless of its duration. Meetings scheduled late in the day might require you to compete with wandering minds that are more focused on watching the clock instead of listening to what you’re saying.

How long should a meeting last?

Numerous articles state approximately how long a meeting should be. But different meetings require different time commitments. The length of your meeting depends on what you are discussing and how many people are involved. A one-on-one status meeting probably shouldn’t go over 30 minutes, but a status meeting involving seven people might need to last at least an hour. Since today’s attention spans have decreased from 12 to five minutes, you don’t want to keep your meeting guests unnecessarily long.

Effectivemeetings.com suggests when considering the time duration, you should reflect on previous meetings. If you usually have a 30 minute weekly status call, there’s no need to schedule the next status call for an hour.

Next, you should follow the “Rule of Sixths” to help you budget your time more accurately. For the first two-thirds of the meeting, focus your attention on the most current agenda item. Divide the remaining third in half to be spent on past and future agenda items. The more organized you are, the more discussion you can fit in a smaller amount of time.

People are busy and schedules fill up quickly. Sometimes because of availabilities, you have to schedule a meeting on Friday at 4:00 p.m., and you may not have a lot of time to do it. Certain online meeting tools make these types of situations a bit more feasible.

Meeting tools that are compatible with mobile devices give individuals the flexibility to join or host meeting from anywhere. Some meeting tools have additional features that help with scheduling meetings. All of PGi’s products are integrated with Outlook, which eliminates the need of memorizing the contact information of your various meeting guests. Simply schedule your next web meeting with the Outlook toolbar and your invitation will automatically populate with all of your information—your meeting room URL, phone number and audio key. This allows you to significantly simplify an otherwise complicated task.

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Photo Courtesy: Looking Glass/Flickr

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