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How do you schedule meetings with multiple VIP participants?

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in Admin Pro Forum

Question: "As an EA, scheduling meetings is one of my more challenging duties, especially when the participants are all C-level executives. I'm in the process of scheduling several meetings for next month. Has anyone come up with a ‘better mousetrap’? Is the old-fashioned method of offering a few dates and using a basic chart to narrow down a mutually convenient date and time still the best way? I’m looking forward to hearing some new tricks to make this easier!" —Trisha Heil

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

aisha erivera December 19, 2013 at 3:02 am

i agree about your statement regarding,in scheduling the meeting,for it is very important to know all the attendees can attent the said meeting it depends upon prior on there availability.

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Melodie Turk January 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Laura – You’re comments are right on the money. I almost always schedule a conference call with other assistants (whether inside the company or out) to find a time that works for our executives. This method works very well.7450

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Amanda September 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Sometimes it is inevitable that someone will have to conference call in. At our organization, we have executives at multiple locations throughout the state, and there is no way they could travel to attend every meeting in person.

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Yvonne September 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

First, I determine who is the more important participant in the meeting. This will tell you who’s schedule it is more important to cater to. For meetings involving many outside parties, I prefer MeetingWizard. I have found it very helpful and easy to use by those unfamiliar with MeetingWizard. Go to http://www.meetingwizard.com, which is free.

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Sue September 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Am I the only one who finds that if you agree to “conference call him in” that that VIP (on the speaker phone) ends up getting extra attention this way? With everyone looking at the phone and loudly addressing the exec on the phone instead of each other? (Or maybe it was just that the alpha dogs are often the one most unable/unwilling to take the time to travel to the meeting in person)?

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Chandra September 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I agree with using Microsoft Outlook’s availability feature. Another option is making a conference line available for people to call in if they are unable to get away from their office.

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Kathy September 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

After determining which attendees are required to attend the meeting, our Executive Assistants conduct conference calls with the EAs of the “C” level executives and they work out the dates and times over the phone.

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An Admin September 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

I have used Outlook and Doodle. I prefer Outlook. Using doodle is great for the person trying to set up the meeting, however, not so great for the person being asked to check their calendars for availabilty. I have to copy down all the possible dates and times and then go check my boss’s calendar and then go back and enter the times that will work.
To schedule the meeting in Outlook, invite the attendees and, before you hit send invitation, you can check their availability.
Also, remember to say where the meeting will be held and how long the meeting will last.

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Mark September 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Trisha,

If it is inside the company, I use our calendar in our email, and once I put a persons name in it shows if that time is available. If the person is outside the organization, it is all about who is making the request, if my VP is making the request, it is because she wants to meet with them and we will flex her schedule, likewise most people who ask to meet with her are willing to flex to her schedule. I hope this helps.

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Amy September 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I first get clarification who is critical to the meeting, which narrows down the list. I then will conference in the assistants and we make quick work of narrowing down the best time and send out the meeting request explaining this is the only time available for key individuals to meet and to please adjust their calendars to accommodate.

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Sheri September 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

We use Doodle (www.doodle.com) when trying to find the best date that will work for most. Tungle.me (www.tungle.me) is a great tool as well, especially if all are using it and you can see free and busy times for everyone and they don’t have to be within the same company or network.

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Patty Buckner September 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Hi Trisha:

If these executives are all in your company, all you have to do is schedule the meeting in Outlook, invite the attendees and, before you hit send invitation, you can check their availability.

This is the simplest and fastest way that I know of and works very well, provided everyone keeps their Outlook calendar up to date.

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Kathy Hanks September 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I schedule meetings for 8 Board members. I use doodle.com. It is a web program that create a grid of the dates and times of your choosing. It is emailed to the participants or their assistants. They check off their available times and select submit. It is emailed back to you. As each person submits, they are added. When everyone responds, you have a complete grid and with one look can select the best date and time. It is a great time-saver. Hope it works for you.

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Melodie Turk September 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I would love to hear the suggestions as this is my biggest roadblock. I typically look in Outlook to see when the majority of people are available and then send several options to the assistants and narrow down from there. In a case where it is difficult to find a solution, I will schedule a conference call with the assistants so we can look through the calendars together instead of going back and forth via email. On rare occasions, my supervisor has had to step in and contact the other supervisor to ask them to make themselves available for the meeting, if it is critical. Or we sometimes ask if the person is not available, if they can send a proxy for them.

Looking forward to how others approach this issue.

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Lisa September 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Check out Doodle at http://www.doodle.ch it is great for offering several dates and times and builds the chart for you. I think sometimes it helps for the other EAs to see that everyone else is available but their executive so it will sometimes prompt them to reschedule something on their end to resolve the conflict. If possible, always only offer times that you already know are available for the executive with the most impacted schedule and work from there.

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