Meeting and Appointment


How to Schedule an Appointment or Meeting in Writing?

Scheduling a meeting or an appointment is one of the most common forms of business communication. One may need to do so for various reasons, such as scheduling an interview, following up on a business lead, or discussing a project with a prospect. The ability to schedule meetings accurately, clearly and professionally is an important communication skill, yet not many people pay very much notice about it.

 

A. Advantage of Scheduling the Meeting / Appointment in Writing:

 

Meetings are typically scheduled in two ways: (i) by a phone call; or (ii) in writing, most commonly by e-mail or instant messaging. There are various advantages of scheduling and confirming a business meeting or appointment in writing:

  • It sets out clearly the meeting details, such as date, time, venue, contact information, dial in or log in details (for video or conference calls) and agenda for the meeting, to minimise any mistakes from verbal communications.
  • It allows the recipient to time to check the message and response to clear any conflicting schedule.

  • Most calendar software and planning applications would allow you to accept the meeting and transfer the details instantaneously to the calendar. Again, this can reduce any verbal miscommunications.

B. Request a Meeting / Appointment in Writing


1. Agenda in the Subject Line


The agenda should be set out in the subject line in a clear and concise manner. Include the purpose of the "meeting" or "schedules" to attract the attention of the recipient. Try to include something in the message that will convince the recipient to open it (like the name of the project), in particular if the recipient does not know you and might consider it to be a junk mail.


2. State your Addressee


If you are familiar with the person you can call him / her on a first name basis – e.g. “Dear John”. In a formal business correspondence, you should use the title plus the last name – e.g. “Dear Mrs. Smith”. If you don’t know the name of the person, generally use “Dear Sir / Madam”. You can also address it to more than one person, or the whole department, for example, “To Members of the Compliance Department”.


3. Introduce Yourself and Build Rapport


If you are arranging the meeting for someone or do not know the person well, you might want to introduce yourself. For example, if you are the personal assistance of your boss and would like to arrange a meeting with Mr. So-and-So, say so. As there are too many spam messages these days, you should include relevant details so that the recipient can be confident that the email is authentic.

 

If you are not familiar with the recipient, you may want to build some rapport first instead of going straight to the request for a meeting. You can ask how they are doing, make a personal comment where you last met or mention a common topic / friend. This rapport breaks the deadlock, makes the conversation more humane, and lets you win their attention for a few seconds.


4. Explain the Purpose of the Meeting


Explain to your recipients the purpose of the meeting to help them understand its importance and make time for the meeting. Knowing exactly why you are having a meeting will also help the recipients to prepare for the meeting accordingly.


5. Date, Time and Venue


If possible, it is always a good etiquette to offer your recipients a choice of date, time and venue. However, instead of giving them a free rein, suggest 2 to 3 alternatives. It will also induce them to accept the meeting having to pick a time and venue as opposed to deciding whether to join the meeting or not.


6. Request for Reply or Confirmation


Ask your email recipients to let you know if they can attend the meeting. This will help you book and set up the meeting venue. As well as ordering any food and refreshments needed. It would be helpful if you could include a calendar link in your invite to enable the recipient to accept with just one click.

 

7. Clear and Concise


Your message should be clear and concise. It should be no more than three to four paragraphs and end it by focus on the goal of accepting the appointment. This will ensure that your recipients are ready to take action without you wasting their attention.