How not to confuse people with your meeting invitations

Confused nerdy guyHave you ever received a meeting invite from someone and thought what the heck is this? The invitation doesn’t make clear who is calling the meeting or what the purpose of the meeting is. The person sending the meeting invite probably wrote it so that it made sense to him not thinking what it would look like on your calendar.

I received one just the other day, it said “Call Arden”. What? If I open the meeting invite I will see who invited me, but wouldn’t it be great if I knew exactly what the meeting was for and who is in the meeting without opening it?

There is an art to sending meeting invites so that both parties understand what the meeting is about. It’s very important to think of the other person when you’re creating the meeting invitation. Ask yourself, what does the other person need to know so that it’s clear what this meeting is about when they see it on their calendar.

I typically will write what is being discussed in the meeting and will add both of our names. Here’s an example: “Etiquette training phone debrief with Heidi and Arden. Arden will call Heidi.” When Heidi sees that on her calendar she’ll know exactly what is being discussed in the meeting, who is on the call and who is calling whom.

It gets complicated when more people are invited to the meeting and some of them know very little about its purpose and the people in it. In that case, the meeting invitation has to be even clearer. Let’s say I’m invited to meet with a prospective client, who I have been talking to on the phone, and her boss who knows very little about me. If I was sending the meeting invitation I would write: “Meeting with John Swart, Elizabeth Hannan and Arden Clise to discuss business etiquette training for Microsoft Sales Team.” Any of the meeting recipients would know who is in the meeting and what is being discussed.

You might wonder why I specified the company when the people I’m inviting know they work for Microsoft. I did so because I need to know who the meeting is with when I see it on my calendar a few weeks later.

While meeting invites can really be wonderful for making sure meetings get on people’s calendars, be sure what you write will make sense to the person receiving the meeting invitation.

Have you seen other ways of sending effective meeting invitations? Have you ever been confused by a meeting invite?


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