Author Topic: Holding a Meeting Slot  (Read 1793 times)

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Sparkle Star

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Holding a Meeting Slot
« on: April 10, 2013, 06:35:56 AM »
This is something I've wondered before but, as it seems to happen quite a lot at the moment, it's prompted me to ask - what's the etiquette when it comes to holding open a meeting slot that someone has suggested and then doesn't confirm?

An example:
On Monday, a client requested a meeting next week, giving three days/times that worked for her - Monday before 1pm, Tuesday before 11am and Thursday after 1pm.

Only one of those fits with my schedule. I responded saying so and asked her to confirm with a venue, as that would also affect the meeting time. Two days later and I've heard nothing - no response so far to my email or voicemail.

In the meantime, somebody else has requested a meeting within the same timeslot and I've also been asked to participate in a conference call involving 3 other people. What does etiquette say I should do? Should I decline other appointments until I've heard back from Client A? The conference call is difficult to rearrange as it relies on four people being free at the same time - which technically I am, as Client A hasn't come back to me. But if I agree to the call and then she wants to meet during a time I'd indicated I'd be available, that wouldn't be good either....

What do you guys think, or what's the generally accepted behaviour?
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Awestruck Shmuck

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 06:59:29 AM »
If it was a matter of *getting*/doing business, I would probably be more lenient - but if it's a more routine matter, I would call - maybe twice, and leave messages. Then I would send an email explaining that you had to schedule other meetings.

Maybe give her a few hours to respond, then let her know that for this week, you will now only be available at...2pm Thursday - and that you could hold *that spot* open for her until Thursday morning.

I think if she's not communicating with you, the etiquette is a moot point, your business (or your bosses/companies business) could suffer more from delaying these other meetings.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 08:57:17 AM »
Depending on the relationship of with your client, I'd send her a note asking her to confirm the meeting. Explain you have another meeting that someone is trying to schedule for the same time.  She may think the meeting is already confirmed and just last minute logistics need to be worked out. 

"Hi, Client. I wanted to confirm our Thursday meeting. My schedule is getting booked up fast this week. Would you let me know if we are still on?" 

If you don't hear back, send another note this afternoon saying. "I've had to schedule another meeting for Thursday. Would you let me know times that work for you next week?"

bopper

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 09:01:51 AM »
Turn this around.  You want to meet with someone and you said I can meet on A, B or C.  They say B and please send information.  Would you think at that point it is still up in the air?  Or would you think that you will get back to them once you have booked a meeting room?

PastryGoddess

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 09:28:21 AM »
Turn this around.  You want to meet with someone and you said I can meet on A, B or C.  They say B and please send information.  Would you think at that point it is still up in the air?  Or would you think that you will get back to them once you have booked a meeting room?

I don't think it matters.  You confirm that you have received their request and will be back in touch with them with more details.  I mean a simple "Great, thanks for confirming a date.  Not sure of the venue, but I'll let you know ASAP" takes all of 2 minutes to type and send.  It lets the person know you are both confirmed for that date and that you'll be in touch with more info.

I think it's kind of rude to leave people hanging.

learningtofly

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 09:35:55 AM »
I like Hmmmm's suggestion because it's polite and to the point.  However, if you agree to Thursday after one you don't need to hold 1-5 for your client.  If this conference call is best at 2 and has to be scheduled now and is more important, schedule it.  It may be that due to travel you may not be able to get to client until 4, but she did say she was available from 4-5.  I'd give her one more chance to respond, but after that I'd suggest new dates.

artk2002

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 10:14:44 AM »
Turn this around.  You want to meet with someone and you said I can meet on A, B or C.  They say B and please send information.  Would you think at that point it is still up in the air?  Or would you think that you will get back to them once you have booked a meeting room?

I don't think it matters.  You confirm that you have received their request and will be back in touch with them with more details.  I mean a simple "Great, thanks for confirming a date.  Not sure of the venue, but I'll let you know ASAP" takes all of 2 minutes to type and send.  It lets the person know you are both confirmed for that date and that you'll be in touch with more info.

I think it's kind of rude to leave people hanging.

I disagree that this is leaving anyone hanging. Bopper has it right -- I would assume that I didn't have to respond  immediately, since the OP asked that the other person respond with location  information, not confirmation. If the OP wanted immediate confirmation, she should have asked it in that way. You can't always get a conference room or the right equipment booked immediately.

Lesson: Ask for what you want. If you want confirmation then ask for confirmation, don't tie that in with other information that may take longer to get.

OP, I would follow up now.  Hmmmm's suggestion is the right approach.
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Sparkle Star

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 08:11:43 AM »
Just to clarify - the client said 'Monday before 1pm' (plus the other options) and I said that was the slot I could do.

I asked what time would suit her best as I could be flexible and where would she prefer to meet - would she come to our office or should I go to her? (As she's based around half an hour away, this does have a bearing on making other arrangements I can then make for myself.) So no specific time had been suggested/agreed.

When I hadn't heard from her, I called her mobile and left a voicemail and also followed up with an email, both along the lines suggested by Hmmm. Switching it around, to me this would indicate that the other person is expecting/waiting for a response.
After that, I had the other meeting/conference call requests, which was what prompted my post.

If she now responds and says 'Let's meet at 11am at My Office' and I have to say I can't because I've now committed to something else, I will feel I'm the one being rude for arranging something else during a time I'd originally indicated I was free.

Right now, I'm thinking I agree to the other requests and make them both as near to the beginning or end of the time period as possible, then chase up Client A again with Hmmm's suggestion - asking her to confirm a time/place and saying I've now had to schedule something else so can only do before or after a certain time.
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artk2002

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Re: Holding a Meeting Slot
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 10:17:00 AM »
You won't be rude at all. You've tried to contact her to get confirmation and she hasn't responded. You can't put your life on hold for her.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain