Fixing Time for a Meeting by E-mail

When fixing time for a face-to-face meeting in a face-to-face meeting, the following is the common method:

  1. Someone proposes a date.
  2. Someone else says that that date is unsuitable and proposes a new date.
  3. Continue until a date is found, which suits everybody.
  4. If absolutely no date can be found, ask some people if the meeting can be held without them.

Many people who are not accustomed to e-mail try the same method when fixing a data for a face-to-face meeting via e-mail.

However, this method works very badly, because the slow interaction (often 24 hours before most people have read a new message) causes a long time before a suitable time can be found.

Instead, when using e-mail, use the following method:

  1. Select a list of five or more different possible dates in several different weeks.
  2. Send this list to everyone, and ask them to answer, for each date, whether this date is good, acceptable or bad for them.
  3. Collect the answers, and select the date best for most people. If no date is possible, try again with a new list of dates.