By: Jeff Robbins
Sending the perfect calendar invite? It’s more challenging than you think. I don’t know about you, but if things are not on my calendar, they are usually not going to happen.
I enjoy connecting with people for calls, meetings, and standups, but it’s all too easy to get into some deep headspace for a project and completely forget about an appointment. Therefore, calendar events and notifications are really important to my workflow.
Even though I know I’m not alone in this dependency, I’ve noticed that many remote workers have no clue about how to format calendar invites. To improve productivity and time efficiency, distributed teams need to know exactly what makes a good calendar invite so that you, your co-workers, and the rest of your contacts know exactly where to be and when.
Here are the three most important sections to a calendar invite:
1. Location - If it’s a phone call, add that number to the Location or Description/Notes. When attendees click the calendar notification pop up on their phones, they can easily click to join the call.
If there’s an access code for your conference line, be sure to add a comma after the phone number. This means “pause” on the phone, so attendees will be able to click for the phone to dial through and it automatically adds the access code. Within 10-15 seconds, attendees are into the meeting without having to type anything.
2. Description/Notes - Avoid this problem: “Proposal update with Andrew in 10 minutes? Which proposal? Who is Andrew? What is the update?”
Be specific and include context with every meeting. Any information, reminders, links, or introductions that are relevant to that meeting should be included in the description. You don’t want attendees to attend unprepared or have to spend ten minutes searching for threads in their inbox to refresh their memory. The more details, the better.
3. Time Zone - Always specify the time zone; not only will it make the invite more compatible between various platforms, but it’s great etiquette. Put the cherry on top by scheduling the appointment in the guest’s time zone, adjusting the appointment length to match the agenda, and confirming that the time aligns with the participant’s canonical time zone.