Scheduling a Meeting

A large majority of my job is scheduling appointments for my boss. Whether it’s people who are requesting to meet with him, or individuals he would like to connect with, I have learned that there are key questions to ask that will make for the most successful meetings. To help our bosses be most efficient with his schedule, below are some questions I ask before just adding a meeting to the calendar:

  • To help my boss be best prepared for this meeting, can you give me just a brief context about it? (Ask someone requesting to meet) For example: is this meeting about relationships, marriage, finances, counseling, church life, future, business opportunity, or children (you may have some categories that are more common for your boss). Encourage them that you aren't asking them to share the details, but that this context helps your boss to be ready to the meeting.
    • Sidenote: This can also be a huge help for him not to be caught offguard with an unexpected meeting like a disgruntled employee or a heavy marriage counseling session.
  • How urgent is this meeting? Because our boss’ schedules tend to fill up quickly, we want to make sure meetings are happening in a timely manner. If it is time sensitive, I will do my best to rearrange other meetings while still valuing every person and making sure they understand the nature of any adjustment.
  • Who would you like to be in this meeting? Usually our boss will drive the attendance list so it is good to get an idea of who needs to be there. That way you can check their schedules and set a time that’s good for everyone. 
  • How long do you anticipate needing for this meeting? Typically I schedule meetings for an hour with 15 minutes buffer time between just to give some breathing room or if a meeting goes over, but sometimes people just need to “pop in” (still usually takes 30 minutes) or other meetings will last 1.5 hours so it is good to be prepared for these so your boss isn’t running behind the whole day.
  • Would you like lunch brought in? Any meeting that is between 11:30am-1pm, I will check if my boss would like food. Otherwise, I will do my best to make sure that his schedule has at least an hour in the middle of the day for lunch. Everyone’s got to have time to eat ; )
  • Would you like to meet at the office or at the restaurant? I ask this for any lunch meeting because sometimes it is more convenient to meet somewhere if he has another appointment offsite afterward. Other times he prefers to ride with the individual. 
  • Is there anything you need to be prepared for this meeting? If my boss is meeting with business men, key leaders, or prospective employees, I want to make sure he has any documents, questions, or information he needs BEFORE the meeting so I am not rushing to print when the meeting starts.

 YOUR TURN: What questions do you ask that help give you context to schedule meetings at the best and for the right length of time?