When I travel for business, useful reminders keep me on track. The airline lets me know if my flight gets delayed; my hotel tells me when I’m eligible to check-in online.
As an entrepreneur and executive, I maintain a busy schedule, even when I’m not traveling.
Life frequently interrupts my perfectly coiffed plans so I can easily miss important to-do items every so often. That’s why I co-founded Calendar in the first place—to share the benefits of effective time management so people could focus on their biggest priorities.
Automated reminders work for appointments, tasks, and even for those times when you need to schedule a much needed snack break, so why don’t we use them for meetings, too? Every company should use reminders before meetings to accomplish these five critical goals.
1. Reduce No-Shows, Tardiness, And Late Cancellations
People miss meetings or show up late for a variety of reasons, but where you live and work is a cultural cue for being on time or arriving a few minutes late.
In Japan, a working professional wouldn’t dare arrive 30 seconds late to a meeting at work.
In Brazil, however, attendees know they can wander in a few minutes after the hour unless the organizer specifies the meeting will be on “English time.”
You may think it doesn’t matter whether a meeting starts at 2:00 pm or 2:10 pm, but statistics say otherwise.
According to Doodle, poorly organized meetings will cost American businesses $399 billion in 2019. Doodle’s survey respondents named ineffective or poorly organized meetings as more annoying than video calls with bad reception.
Reminders help attendees wrap up projects and other calls to ensure they arrive on time.
Whether you use appointment scheduling software or an online calendar, you can modify your reminders to work for you. A push notification 15 meetings before the start time might work for some, while others may prefer an email two hours in advance.
Communicate and collaborate with your team on their reminder preferences to map out a solution that works for everyone involved in the meeting.
2. Give Everyone Time To Plan Ahead
When meetings remain top of mind, attendees tend to prepare more thoroughly. However, with an average of 62 meetings per month, most workers don’t think about the next meeting until it arrives.
Make sure everyone comes prepared by using a calendar app or scheduling tool to maintain a forward focus on the meeting topic and action items.
Attendees should not only be aware of the date, time, and location, but also the meeting agenda. Your agenda tells everyone what the meeting will cover and allows people to consider questions or concerns before the start time.
Use reminders to inform invitees about what materials, documents, and plans they should bring.
For your own meetings, reminders can help you stay on top of your tech so you don’t waste the first 15 minutes fighting your slide deck. Get everyone on the same page and your tools in order before the meeting to minimize frustrating interference so you can hit the ground running as soon as the meeting begins.
3. Improve Productivity And Information Delivery
When everyone shows up on time and knows what needs to happen, meetings become more effective. This isn’t (entirely) magic; it’s simple logic.
A meeting that starts and ends on time, covers the proper agenda, and doesn’t devolve into side conversations is an effective one.
Reminders make people more likely to show up on time and prepare accordingly. In this optimal environment, your meetings are more likely to accomplish their goals and increase the understanding and productivity of the people who attend.
Think about all the occasions you had to reach out to meeting invitees to confirm their attendance or ask when they’d arrive.
According to WorkMarket, automating small tasks like these can save up to three work hours per day for business leaders (and two hours for regular employees). Imagine what you could do with an extra 45 days per year!
The possibilities are endless -- start and slay a good chunk of that novel you were thinking about writing, finish that degree that’s been waiting for you, or even bank all the time for that Instagram-worthy four-week trip around the world.
4. Maximize Revenue And Reduce Waste
Even if automated meeting assistance only accounts for 10% of your newfound efficiency—though the numbers are likely much higher, considering how much time leaders spend in meetings—you could spend that extra time creating an effective work-life balance. In the process, your happiness may incrementally rise in relation to additional time spent relaxing, enjoying loved ones, working on hobbies, and focusing on your health.
By taking the guesswork out of your meetings, you can cut some of your hour-long appointments down to 30 minutes.
That would give you and your teams more time to strengthen customer relationships, improve products and services, or explore new innovations. Your time is your most valuable resource; the more you have, the better!
People who receive automatic and SMS reminders are more likely to let you know when they can’t make it. Instead of sitting around for 15 minutes texting and emailing until you confirm you’ve just wasted your time, you could rearrange your schedule on the fly.
In extreme cases, you could even analyze past cancellations to find more reliable partners or part ways with employees who consistently demonstrate unreliability.
5. Build Stronger Relationships With Employees, Customers, And Partners
According to a study conducted in Ireland, 46% of employees resent colleagues who routinely show up late. Some cultures forgive or expect a little tardiness, but in most Western nations, people appreciate it when others arrive on time.
Your business needs strong relationships to survive. That includes relationships with employees, customers, clients, and partners. Reminders help nurture those relationships by providing impersonal yet informative pushes to keep all parties on schedule. Some tools even let you soften the push to make reminders feel friendlier.
Reminder software Appointment, for example, lets users create unique and personalized messages.
You can add customized names, messages, and send times to create a more personalized experience that today’s customers demand. Better personalization and improved punctuality will help your business achieve its ROI goals and allow your colleagues to enjoy better relationships.
No number of meeting reminders will turn an unreliable person into the image of timeliness, but for most of us, a little automated help goes a long way.
The more I work on streamlining meetings, the more I realize just how profound the impact of strong time management is. Try using automatic reminders ahead of your meetings to see for yourself.
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