I think Shakespeare said it best: To send a calendar link, or not to send.
Or something to the effect. But it’s a question not unlike William’s that professionals come to ask themselves at one point or another. And that’s because being professional means not only meeting scheduling – but also holding to a standard of courtesy in how one arranges those meetings.
Newer, post-pandemic terms have even entered our better officework consciousness in describing exactly that standard: ‘appointment booking culture’ and ‘meeting scheduling etiquette’, to name a couple.
Shooting a calendar link someone’s way is a bit forward after all, isn’t it? You’re saying ‘book a time with me’ but without really saying anything at all. And therein lies the faux pas: On the other end of that link is a person with their own Tetris game of an agenda – just like you. According to recent Protocol commentary on scheduling etiquette, public opinion largely ruled on the matter that it’s a power move best avoided.
But sending a calendar link doesn’t have to be forward. Or a power move. Let’s talk 3 tips on how best in 2022 (not) to send a calendar link.
Scheduling etiquette tip #1: Set a customer relationship tone
My first tip is to set the tone.
Setting the tone means hedging or softening the sending of your calendar link. Packaging a quick salutation with a tidbit about yourself or your day keeps this brief connection between you and another very much human.
Being vague in setting the tone isn’t a crime so keep any softening short and undetailed. Adding to that, keep it sincere. Don’t straightforwardly ask how someone’s doing, for example, if there isn’t a prior customer relationship there. Contacts are people too, remember? Wanting to talk business doesn’t necessitate prying into everyone’s personal ‘business’.
Another best practice for tone-setting is to mind your booking language. Verbiage like scheduling, arranging, or booking for a meeting or discussion comes with some conceivably stress-inducing baggage.
Opt for lighter language to precede your calendar link to the tune of dialling up, pencilling in, or setting aside time for a chat or talk. Sounds a little better already, right?
Scheduling etiquette tip #2: Create calendar link context
Context is your why and centre stage to my second tip. Why are you sending this calendar link? What reason, goal, or agendum is at hand?
By letting the recipient know what discussion potential to expect, they’ll have a better idea of, firstly, why they’re making room in their virtual calendar for you and, secondly, for how long they should book that meeting.
I like to think of contextualising or supporting any link as a menu. Yes, a menu. Hear me out.
You’re outside a café and before going in and ordering, you want to know what this café has to offer. Are they overpriced? Presented in a way that clicks with you? And have a potentially delectable selection of goods to your fancy?
You first look at the storefront’s in-window menu precisely to make those decisions. So give your contacts a figurative menu to see before they tick your calendar link and ‘order’ that sit-down to talk.
Meeting scheduling etiquette is all about expectation preceding perspective, and not perspective in the absence of expectation.
Nobody likes an ambush! Or a flat, expensive coffee. ;)
A final note on context is the calendar link or URL itself. I recommend for your calendar link a naked URL – likethis(dot)com and not hyperlinked like here – and this being in the spirit of transparency.
With a naked URL, you’re signalling to the recipient that you’re honest and forthcoming in your affairs: You say what you do, and do what you say. Returning briefly to a notion of professional standards and greater work consciousness, I can think of few qualities more important to broadcast than honesty and forthcomingness.
Scheduling etiquette tip #3: Show calendar flexibility
Your weekly yoga sessions won’t help you here, unfortunately. By contacts ticking your calendar link, they’re committing to the notion that you can provide them something in turn – something worth their time. With any booking action to follow, be flexible and show them that same commitment.
Your contact may need postpone or even cancel the initial meeting they’d booked. And that’s OK. Letting your contact pick an available time is, after all, a way of giving them the driver’s seat and decision power to feel every bit as important in this meeting as you.
If a scheduling change occurs, follow up for a next-step and be ever mindful of the etiquette we’d covered here under tone-setting.
When that meeting does materialise, flexibility didn’t stop at scheduling. If your contact wants to discuss matters not on your agenda, roll with it and provide them answers to the best of your knowledge.
They gave to you an opportunity by ticking your calendar link; now it’s your turn to show faith in equal measure. This balance is important in the budding customer relationship meetings like this (hopefully) foster.
So is sending a calendar link rude? Or worse: a power move? Kind of, actually. But not if you do it right. And that’s where etiquette comes in.
To avoid the unintentional rudeness plaguing the meeting scheduling lands, remember these 3 points of virtual etiquette when sending a calendar link:
- Always set a human-to-human tone and keep your booking language light
- Surround your calendar link with a transparent context that spells out the reason(s) behind booking any meeting
- Be flexible with any scheduling changes like postponement or cancellation and courteously remember to follow up