Avoiding Frustration: Scheduling a Meeting for a Large Group of People

Avoiding Frustration: Scheduling a Meeting for a Large Group of People

I’ve been working on scheduling a meeting of a diverse group of a dozen people. It’s my Condo Board and I’m the secretary.

Super High Frustration

The scheduling process of pinning down a meeting time for these 12 people has been super frustrating. I’ve been reminded how subtle things can make a huge difference.

I must confess that for a while my frustration was so high that I just about resigned my thankless task thinking to myself, “If no one cares enough to respond, why should I care?”

But after a cooldown period, I realized that I do care.

This building is my community and these are my neighbors, so I want to figure this out. Without ongoing attention, the bonds that tie a community together weaken. I really don’t want that and I don’t think the others do either.

The Subtleties of Scheduling a Meeting

Here’s a brief rundown of where I went wrong and what I learned.

First, in my grand optimism, I sent a group email proposing three possible dates. I heard back from about half of the people and, of course, no one date suited everyone.

Then, I created a Doodle. That’s the nifty app that creates a scheduling survey. I offered 5 options on different days and different times. Again, results dribbled in and three or four people didn’t respond at all. Again, no clear winner of a date.

*Hair on fire!*

I mean really, I don’t get paid to do this stuff and you are my neighbors. I felt dissed!

*Cooldown period leading to new approach…*

Next, I sent a group email to everyone suggesting that we should run the Condo through the Executive Committee and ditch the condo meetings. It’s easier to get four people together than a dozen.

That didn’t create a big hue and cry, but a few people squawked. They didn’t care enough to give me a date, but they didn’t want to hand over the power and decision making of our building over to just a few.

Okay, I got that and even agreed with it. Getting everyone together now and again is important. So, I tried a new strategy…

I emailed the four Executive Committee members individually, proposing two dates. They all responded promptly. And one of the dates worked for everyone. Then, I sent a group email to the entire building telling them the date of the condo meeting and inviting them all.

The meeting will happen willy-nilly. Everyone will feel included and those who don’t show up … well, they’ll miss out — not only on the meeting, but on the yummy peach pies I plan to make to reward those who attend.

“So what?” you might well ask. But there are some good lessons here.

3 Lessons Learned

My story about difficulties scheduling a meeting illustrates three important lessons.

1. Email people individually when you want a response.

People are lackadaisical about email, especially group emails. They don’t read them and they don’t feel obligated to respond. So what was easiest for me — a group email — didn’t get the response I needed.

2. People don’t want to be left out.

Everyone wants to be included. When you threaten to leave people out, you are more likely to hear from them.

3. Set a meeting time with the key people in mind.

When scheduling a meeting, set the date based on the people you really need to be there. Then invite the rest and let the cards fall as they may.

TryTry ThisThis

Notice the Subtleties of How People Function

When it’s your job to get a group of people doing something together, you’ll be more successful if you pay close attention to how people function and tailor your leadership accordingly. Rather than doing what’s easiest, think in advance about what’s likely to work best. You’ll be less frustrated and more successful.

Share your ideas in the comments below. Or, head on over to Facebook and share your ideas and strategies there.

Image Copyright: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo

  • Good one! And if peach pie doesn’t bring out the troops, nothing will.

    • Andrea Kihlstedt

      Yup. Nothing like food… and do love a good fresh fruit pie. Can’t wait for apple season.