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Running a business

Best times to have meetings when you work remotely

As a remote business, having meetings with clients and colleagues can be a bit tricky. So, what is the ideal time to schedule meetings? As with all great things in life, the short answer is, "it depends." It truly depends on what type of meeting you’re having, who is in control and the tone necessary for the gathering. Is it a one-on-one meeting, or with a group of stakeholders? In general, the four most likely scenarios are:

  • Meetings with prospects. In this situation, you are (or should be) in control. I personally block out certain days and times for these meetings, keep them to 30 minutes and only do two per week. This schedule works for me and helps me focus my time on billable work and not chasing those who may or may not be serious.
  • Meetings with current clients. Here, the client controls the topic, but you control the agenda. My schedule here is much more flexible to better accommodate those who are helping me pay my mortgage.
  • Meetings with staff/colleagues. These occur when knowledge transfer needs to happen when updates can’t be done in writing, or when brainstorming is necessary. These can be scheduled more spontaneously and on the fly, if need be.
  • Coffee talks/happy hours. Yes, sometimes the meeting is for fun. We commiserate while we caffeinate or decompress while we drink. These "meetings" are just as important as the others to boost morale and remember that we’re all human. Typically, no one in attendance needs to be "on their game," so outside of business hours is perfectly appropriate.

When deciding on a time for these meetings, knowing which type will go a long way. First, know that time zones matter. If you’re on the east coast, 9 a.m. may be a great time to meet with someone, unless it’s 6 a.m. on the west coast and that person is still snoozing soundly. Vice versa, those on the west coast should be mindful of planning afternoon meetings with those in the east. No one wants to watch their client yawn incessantly while sipping on their Sleepytime Tea. Either use software that automatically converts time zones for you, or bear in mind the physical locale when scheduling.

In general, mornings are better for meetings of a serious or task-oriented nature. Everyone is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to tackle the job at hand. As we inch into the afternoon, food coma and quitting time move to the forefront for many, and it becomes a bit more difficult to be productive. No one wants to see your tonsils while hashing out the logistics of a workflow process.

With these tips in mind, go forth and schedule more productive and fewer canceled (or no-show) meetings!

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