As with any project, not having all of the information needed up front won’t garner the results you had hoped for -- this especially rings true when it comes to having your VA set up an important meeting. Here are five categories of important information to make clear before your VA can set up your meetings for you:
Step 1: Set Up Meeting Limits Per Day
Tell your VA how many meetings your schedule can accommodate per day. For instance, I only allow for one half-hour meeting per day with anyone outside of my team, and my VA knows not to go outside these boundaries without asking for my permission first. Here are the questions you need to have answered in order to accomplish the same:
- What’s the earliest time I would be available to take a meeting? What’s the cutoff?
- What’s the maximum number of meetings I want to have scheduled on a daily basis?
- Are there any exceptions to the scheduling parameters I’ve laid out?
Step 2: Indicate Meeting Length
When it comes to determining how long the meeting should last, discuss:
- Length based on the type of meeting. A touch-base meeting could take 15 minutes, while an all-hands team meeting could take over an hour. Educate your VA on how to block off time accordingly.
- Whether you need additional time to get from one meeting to another. If that’s the case, have your VA set up “buffer” time in your schedule for however long you need.
Step 3: Discuss Venue Preferences for Meetings
Equip your VA with the knowledge needed to assign a venue for your meeting. This can place over your Slack channel or other preferred method of communication, and you should only need to indicate your preferences one time for all future meetings. Answer these questions to make this happen:
- Is this an in-person meeting or a conference call?
- If it’s in-person, what’s my go-to spot? Maybe it’s a neighborhood coffee shop or one of the conference rooms in your coworking space.
- If it’s a conference call, what’s the protocol for dialing in? Provide your VA with the best number to reach you if you prefer to be dialed directly, or train them on how to use your conferencing systems, such as Free Conference Call or Uber Conference.
Step 4: Use Keywords as Cues
After they’ve been trained, your VA should instinctively know how to schedule a meeting based on the keywords you give them. Here are some examples:
- If I say “coffee meeting,” my VA knows the precise location, time of day and length of time for these types of meetings without me having to say anything else.
- If I say “schedule a conference call,” my VA knows to use my conference line when more than 2 people are involved, or provide my cell phone number if I’m only speaking with one other person.
This will take time to become second nature, but encourage your VA to take initiative to book meetings based on prior preferences rather than asking you the same questions every time.
Step 5: Create an Agenda Format
Your VA should include all important information in the calendar invite that is sent to meeting attendees. This should include:
- Purpose of meeting
- Agenda items to be covered
- Contact info (emails/phone numbers)
Want some more specific advice on the steps listed above? Check out this post on the basics of scheduling a meeting with a VA.
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