St. Norbert College started using Google Workspace in the spring of 2013. With the use of Google Calendar, it's very easy to invite each other to meetings and events. When doing so, your event appears on the invitees calendar along with all pertinent information. These are some tips for proper etiquette to be sure your information is helpful and understood.
Use Calendar Invitations
The most important tip we can offer is to use Google Calendar in the first place. When scheduling a meeting, create the event in your calendar, and invite the expected attendees. This puts the invitation on their calendar, along with the location, description, attached documents, etc. Be sure to provide enough information about the event to help the invitee decide if they will attend.
You can also invite a list of people. If you have access to a Google Group (email list), just invite that list (instead of entering each person individually).
Note that your invitation is just that, an invitation. There is no guarantee that everyone will attend. Invitees will either accept or decline your invitation; they can also attach comments to that response.
While inviting people, Google Calendar allows you to see the availability of each person during the time slot you've selected. You can also change the event to find a time that works for everyone. for more details, see Google's article on how to invite people to your calendar event.
Respond to Invitations
When you're invited to an event, respond. If you can't make it, just say so and add any necessary comments. Responding appropriately allows the organizer to plan accordingly.
Making proper use of all available event details not only helps invitees decide if they will be able to attend your event, but it also helps attendees manage their daily schedule.
Use Descriptive Titles
When entering the title for your event, be sure it makes sense for all attendees. A title of "Weekly Budget Meeting" is more descriptive than just "Budget". Avoid using acronyms that all attendees may not be familiar with.
Also, if you're scheduling a meeting that happens regularly, use consistent titles. If there is a regular staff meeting, make sure each title is the same, like "Staff Meeting"; this is better than having one "Staff mtg" and another "Staff", etc. This helps attendees know exactly what the meeting is, and that it's part of the series. This consistency also makes it easier for an attendee to search back through their calendar for information on a meeting they attended.
Include the Location
This may be obvious, but the location of your meeting is very important. Many people on campus look at their computer or smartphone to quickly know where to go for their next meeting. But they can't do that if you don't include the location in the location field.
Also, be sure to use the building and room number. Many people are new to campus, and even if someone has been around for a while, they may not be familiar with room names. Building names and room numbers are easy to decipher. For example, use "Todd Wehr 206" instead of "Heritage Room". The room number also makes clear what floor the meeting is on.
Include Notes and Documents in the Description
The description field can be the most important place to include information. Here are some examples of what to include there:
- agenda (perhaps a bullet list)
- link to a web page
- link to a Google doc
Think of anything that the attendees will need in the meeting, and put it here. If you have a lot of information to include, consider putting it in a Google Doc or Google Sheet and include a link to that document in the description. If your meeting is a continuation from a previous meeting, consider including some notes from that previous meeting so that everyone is starting with the same info.
Proper use of the description field means you shouldn't need to print agendas or provide any printed material for the meeting. Let attendees do that for themselves. For example, if you include a link to Google doc, some attendees will simply use that link during the meeting, while others may choose to print it ahead of time and bring it to the meeting.
The biggest mistake people make when scheduling a meeting is to assume the attendees already know what they need to know. By putting a little effort into creating the event, you can make sure your attendees have everything they need at their fingertips.
This article was adapted from "The Business Professional's Guide to Calendar Etiquette", by Michael Reynolds.