Put some science into your meeting scheduling.

meeting scheduling

Putting some science into your meeting scheduling could be the answer If you’re struggling to get your meetings to reach their goals.

So let’s get this out the way, we’re not advocating using science for meeting scheduling as some kind of brainwashing* tactic! We wrote a few weeks ago about the post-prandial dip and how this can affect meetings, how to mitigate the effects and work it to your advantage. This post is very much a continuation of that. In our quest for ever better meetings we’re constantly exploring the variables that affect outcomes. Whether it’s better planning, meeting scheduling, attendee selection, follow up and most importantly the human element. They all play a role in getting the outcome we desire, which in most cases is why we have meetings in the first place pooling knowledge, insight and experience to work a problem and reach a goal.

*We’ll write a post about brainwashing next week – Ed.

Is there an optimal time to have a meeting?

According to UK company YouCanBookMe, who analysed data from more than two million responses to 530,000 meeting invitations, the best time to have a meeting is Tuesdays at 2:30pm. So from now on you can only have meetings on Tuesdays at 2:30pm. OK, so that’s not really practical especially when some of us spend 30% or more of our time in meetings. I’d also ask the question is this the best time or the most popular time for people to book meetings? It’s certainly true that Mondays tend to be a bad day for meetings, people are back at work, picking up on tasks and tend to be most productive. Does this infer that Tuesday is just the next earliest available day. We could even argue of these are external meetings with clients perhaps could the timing be designed to avoid buying lunch! It sounds almost silly but these are all questions to consider.

Let’s look at things from an Amazemeet perspective. We know that the culture of increasing numbers of meetings is bad and having more meetings is bad, certainly if you believe every study done into meetings in the work place. But, we keep having them and keep having more of them. This would suggest that behaviour is out of whack with effectiveness and efficiency. We could therefore argue that pinpointing a time based on an inherently flawed premise is also a complete red herring.

Let’s take a different view

Perhaps the answer lies in science. Rather than scheduling meetings at the most popular time why don’t we work towards the most effective time. Afternoon meetings, especially after lunch meetings are prime post-prandial dip territory. As we’ve discovered the effects can be mitigated but that suggests after lunch is not the “best” time.

The “best” time has to take into account of the type of meeting. Let’s take 4 examples:

  • The informational meeting, mainly announcements
  • The decision taking meeting, deciding on actions
  • The discovery meeting, discussing problems and solutions
  • The brainstorm, lots of ideas and blue sky

and here’s some science to work out which should happen when

The Best Time to Learn Something New

Learning is at its most effective when the brain’s in acquisition mode. This tends to be between 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

This kind of meeting is definitely not something to do burning the midnight oil, the lowest learning valley occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

The Best Time To Make a Decision

How often do we say let’s “sleep on it” it’s common for a reason: we make the worst decisions late at night and first thing in the morning. Your cognitive powers are strongest once your brain has a chance to shake off sleep inertia.

Sleep science research has pretty established that a good night’s sleep i.e. good quantity (7 to 9 hours at night) and good quality (a decent amount of that in deep REM state) allows your brain to properly ‘consolidate’ everything it has gathered in the day. It is literally when your brain has the time to process and build lasting memory and refresh what it already knows. So, as if by magic, the problem that seemed so wicked the night before, is solved when you awake.

Save important decisions for when you feel most alert, generally within one to three hours after waking up.

The Best Time To Brainstorm

The major irony here is that research has found that people are at their least creative when it’s demanded the most: normally at the heart of the workday, between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Dr Michael Breus suggests leaning into “moments of groggy greatness” when we’re slightly tired and easily distracted. During these times, right and left brain communicate, which can trigger new and novel connections — and spark innovative ideas.

The Best Time to Ask for Money

No question, Friday afternoon. While this is the least productive day of the week, people are generally in a good mood. A positive outlook bodes well for asking for a raise or making a sale. Avoid Monday mornings — when people are the most stressed and grumpy — at all costs. Anecdotally there’s also something to be said for accents, it’s been proven that people trust Scottish accents the most when speaking to their bank. so next time money is involved make sure it’s Friday afternoon and you’ve practised your best Glaswegian accent.

These definitely aren’t 100% the answer every time but try it, you’ll be using science to schedule meetings that align with the way peoples brains work. A good first step when you’re using Amazemeet to plan your meetings is to think about the kind of meeting you’re having and schedule accordingly. We’d love to hear the outcome?

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