Make Meeting Times Inconvenient To Get Better Results

Finding a meeting time that works for everyone often requires lots of back-and-forth email and schedule shuffling. But under some circumstances, picking the most inconvenient time may actually be a better option.

Picture by pulsarin

That rather counter-intuitive suggestion came from Leslie Hawthorn, a program manager at Google. during a presentation at linux.conf.au on how to get involved with open source software. A common problem with open source projects is that scheduled online meetings will often be at awkward times, especially for Australian participants. While one solution to that might be using a collaboration environment like Wave, Hawthorn had a more radical suggestion.

"Have a meeting at the time that's inconvenient for most people," she suggested. The downside? Some individuals will decide that there's no way they're going to bend their schedule that much. The upside? Anyone who makes the effort clearly wants to be involved, and is less likely to be showing up just for the sake of being seen.

It's not a strategy that will work for every kind of meeting, but it's something to consider if you want to get genuinely committed people involved, especially with online meetings across multiple countries.


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