Successful careers are built by attending to details. That includes how you handle something as seemingly insignificant as an email calendar invite. Whether your organizations uses Outlook, Google Calendar or some other platform, calendar invites help everyone keep track of schedules.
Treat invites thoughtlessly, and you might end up rubbing your coworkers or supervisors the wrong way. Take them seriously, and you’ll make a good impression that can only help your path forward. Here are some rules of thumb to help you start on the right foot.
Always Respond to Calendar Invites
When someone sends a calendar invite, it means they’re organized. If you ignore it, it means that you’re not. Or worse, it signals disrespect, that responding is an imposition and you can’t be bothered. The truth is, it only takes a few seconds to indicate whether you will or won’t attend the meeting.
Know When to Send Invites
As with any technology, invites should make life easier. They should promote productivity and collaboration, not detract from it. With that in mind, you don’t always need a calendar invite. The more informal or ad hoc the meeting, the less likely you need an invite. If you’ve agreed to a one-on-one meeting with someone and you’re confident they’re organized enough to remember on their own, maybe you don’t send another email.
That said, many people appreciate the extra reminder. And for critical meetings or people hard to pin down, an invite is at least a record that you tried.
Another important exception are group meetings. If more than two people are involved in a meeting, send a calendar invite so there’s no confusion among the group about the date, location and purpose.
Use Descriptive Titles and Notes
Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes when you send a calendar invite. When it hits their inbox, they should know exactly what they’re responding to.
Avoid using vague subject lines or titles like “Meeting” or “Call.” Instead, for one-on-one meetings, use your name and the recipient’s, something like “John Doe and Jane Doe to Meet” or “John Doe to Call Jane Doe.”
For multi-person meetings, give the invite a descriptive title, something that describes the purpose of the meeting. For example, “Cake and Coffee: Jane Doe’s Birthday Celebration” or “Brainstorming Session with Task Force A.”
No matter what the meeting, include relevant information in the notes, including location and contact information, including conference phone line numbers, etc.
Set a Time Limit. Stick to It.
Calendar invites are supposed to help workers manage time more effectively. When recipients block time from their calendar, they have a reasonable expectation that the meeting will only take that long. They schedule the rest of their day on that assumption.
Therefore, when sending an invite, you should schedule the meeting for the appropriate amount of time. During the meeting, stick to the allotted time. If you still have items left on the agenda, save them for another meeting.
Update Your Invites and Audit Recurring Meetings
For co-worker and clients who rely on invites to keep them organized, the worst thing you can do is forget to make updates when there’s a change. If the meeting is canceled, for example, be sure to update the calendar invite. Likewise, if you responded ‘yes’ to an invitation but your schedule changes and you can’t attend, update your response.
Sometimes you will invite a group of people to a meeting that recurs every week, month or quarter. Then something will change – the day or time, for instance – and you will accidentally send a new invite to reflect the change instead of updating the old one. The result is that old calendar invites still linger on recipients’ calendars. To avoid this, check your own calendar to ensure all the recurring meetings on your schedule are up-to-date.
No Response? Send an Email.
If you sent a calendar invite and some recipients haven’t responded, it’s okay to send a follow-up, confirmation email a day or two before the meeting. There’s always a chance that the invitee didn’t receive the invitation.
Revature Teaches You Teamwork
Etiquette around calendar invites is really about teamwork. How well you react and adapt to the way teams work is a demonstration of your soft skills, something that employers value as much if not more than technical ability. Part of Revature’s commitment to recruiting and training emerging talent is to offer proprietary training that emphasizes both.
We pay recruits to go through an intensive and customized 10 – 14 week training, where they prepare for careers in technology. During the course, you learn coding and programming skills, along with instruction on how to make the transition from college to a professional career. By the end, you’ll have a feel for the real-world, enterprise-level environment in which software developers work. On top of that, we’ll place you in a job with one of our many clients.