When meeting with employees, customers, prospects, partners and other business associates, it’s always best to schedule an appointment beforehand. This allows both you and the people with whom you’re meeting to prepare for the session. Having a prescheduled appointment also allows everyone to ensure they have enough time in the day for the meeting in addition to all of their other tasks.
Types of Appointments
There are several different options for setting up an appointment based on the kind of meeting you’re having. Types of business appointments include:
- In-person meetings at your office.
- In-person meetings at someone else’s office.
- In-person meetings at a neutral location such as a coffee shop.
- Phone meetings or conference calls.
- Video conference calls.
The way you schedule the appointment will depend on the technology your company uses and the technology the person with whom you’re meeting uses. When you’re requesting a meeting with someone else, be sure to book according to their technology preferences.
Booking Via Email
Most business meetings are scheduled via email, as email is a tool that many organizations use on a daily basis. The calendar option in email programs enables people to see their day’s schedule and keep track of all their appointments.
When you’re scheduling an appointment, you can directly email the person you’d like to meet and ask for a meeting. Specify the dates and times you’d like to meet and provide two or three alternatives so that he can select the one that best suits him. Let him know where you’d like to meet. Once he confirms a date and time, send your contact an appointment invite using your email program. This ensures that your meeting will show up in your business associate’s calendar.
It is best practice to include the location within the appointment invite. If you’re meeting virtually, provide the call-in number or video-conferencing link. If the person with whom you’re meeting is in a different geographic location, double check his time zone. Outlook appointments for a different time zone should be scheduled so that the meeting time is convenient for your business associate. Include a brief agenda within the invite so that the person with whom you’re meeting knows what to expect.
Making an Appointment Using a Booking Tool
Many businesses use online booking tools such as Acuity and Calendly to schedule appointments. This enables people to see the availability of the person and is especially useful for businesses that meet with people who are not part of their organization on a frequent basis. Booking tools can be set up to sync with your online calendar, such as Google Calendar, Outlook and iCal. This way, there are no meeting conflicts in your schedule.
There are several options for online appointment-booking tools, and many provide different features based on your business’s needs. Research carefully to find one that integrates well with your current technology and provides the booking features you require.
If you’re requesting a meeting with someone who uses an online booking tool, be sure to book your meeting using her preferred technology solution. Using her preferred method makes the scheduling process seamless on her end.
Fitting in Personal Appointments
There may be times during the business day when you need to schedule a personal appointment. Personal appointments include:
- Doctor’s visits or medical appointments.
- Hair and nail appointments.
- Meetings with the bank.
The medical appointment definition includes anything relating to you and your dependents’ health. Many personal appointments are scheduled over the phone, while others are scheduled over email or through a booking tool.
When you book your personal appointment, be sure to mark off that time in your business calendar. This ensures that no one else schedules a meeting with you during this time, causing a conflict. Ensure that the personal time you take doesn’t interfere with any business meetings you are scheduled to attend.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.