Millions of dollars are lost in inefficient meetings each year. So how can you fix that? The first step: your meeting invites. If used the right way, they can help make your meetings much more effective. Here are some best practices for Google Calendar to help ensure that your attendees are prepared and know what to expect when arriving for a meeting. This can help the meeting run efficiently and keep everyone on task.
Use the description space to, well, describe
The Description field is a great place to clearly describe what your meeting is going to be about and outline the main points. Let everyone know why you’re calling this meeting. It’s very helpful for people to have a clearly stated goal or purpose–it’ll help them prepare ahead of time with an objective in mind. In order to make your meeting more efficient, try adding an agenda or schedule here and stick to it.
Add any useful attachments to the invite
The Add attachment link under the description allows you to include an attachment with the event invitation. You can add a file from Google Drive or somewhere else on your computer. If there are documents that would be helpful for your attendees to review beforehand, this is a good opportunity to share them so that everyone is well prepared.
Add the meeting location
Don’t forget to add in an exact location, or click on the “Rooms, etc.” link and add a meeting room. Not only will this tell everyone where to meet, but it’ll also mark the room as busy so there isn’t a conflict with others in your organization.
Mark any attendees as optional
Another great feature is the ability to mark some attendees as optional. If you have a member of your team who doesn’t really need to attend the meeting, you can mark them as optional by clicking on the head icon next to their name in the invitee list. If the icon is dark, they are required; if it is light, they are optional. This cuts down on the number of unnecessary attendees and wasted time.
Be on time: Use the “speedy meetings” feature
The “Speedy meetings” feature will by default set your meetings to 25- or 50-minute intervals. This is great because people are always scheduling meetings for 30- or 60-minute intervals, and attendees often end up scheduled back to back and have difficulty rushing from meeting to meeting.
To make this setting your default, go to your Calendar view > gear icon > Settings. In the Default event duration section, you’ll see a check box for “Speedy meetings,” which will make 30-minute events end 5 minutes early, and 1-hour events 10 minutes early. It’s a great feature to help make the best use possible of everyone’s time.