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Finding a Good Meeting Time

Blog: Collaborative Planning & Social Business

The decision to call a meeting is separate from the decision of when to hold that meeting.  When calling a meeting, you usually have some idea who needs to be there.  Given this, you then go through a process to determine the best time for those people.   Here is how to do it in Weaver


One group I work with had been meeting weekly for a couple years, but the need to do work dwindled as we were waiting for a different group to move on a related topic.  This is a meeting that ostensibly has about 20 people interested in it, but only 5 people regularly attend.   The 20 are members mainly for receiving the minutes which record what the group does.

After many months off, it is time to call a meeting again, but was not quite sure who would be attending, and whether the old time slot was suitable or not.  I wanted to figure out who would attend, as well as what the best time was.

Create Meeting Without a Start Time

The first step is to create the meeting record.  I can put a description on the meeting, and even include the Go To Meeting connection details. Everything you need to know about the meeting to decide if a person wants to attend or not.

But I leave the meeting with a “To Be Determined” time.

I then set up a number of proposed times.  In this case, the normal timeslot, an hour before, and hour later, and then one on the following Monday.   I then sent a message to the 20 people who have been associated with the meeting in the past.   I am pretty sure the most will not want to attend, but the goal here is to try and find that out.

People Record Their Preferences

The email message has a link in it which loads a page showing all the responses and allows someone to enter their preferred times: time that they can attend, might attend, or can not attend.  There are five choices for each timeslot for each person:

Wait 24 hours for some responses and it looks like this:

This shows me two things at once.   The columns that are filled in are people motivated enough to actually respond.  These five are the ones likely to attend.  The empty columns are important too:  I don’t need to worry too much about their desires since they are not that likely to attend.

The chart also shows me that the first two proposed times are better than the last two.  I will probably wait another day, and then call the meeting for one of the first two slots using the pull down menu on the left.  After that, people can still enter values, but those really only help indicate whether you will be able to attend the meeting as set or not.

You are never “done” with planning.


Getting this to work well requires attention to a few details


The ability to collect from a large group of people the time they are available really helps me a lot in my setting up and running meetings.

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