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How Do You Schedule a Large Meeting With Executives Whose Calendars Show Booked?

Help! I just started a new job. I need to schedule a meeting with 16 executives and President of large company. For a two month period, their Outlook calendars show solid bookings each day for half of them, with infrequent openings for the others. However, if Outlook shows booked, and you call their Assistants, you may find times they can change meetings to free up a few hours. I tried Doodle for another meeting but half of the people did not respond. I can’t propose meeting dates if there aren’t any times available. Out of desperation, I copied a calendar for September and October, called several Assistants, and we went through each of the 60 days to determine times that could be available. Then I moved these times to a master calendar, and it showed only 3 days available after just these few people. I believe we will have to hold a night meeting to get everyone to attend, but first I needed to document the fact they did not have time available in the day as they do not like night meetings. QUESTION: How do you find out from 16 Assistants where they can free up time? If I call them and write down times, it is easy for them to give me information. I’m afraid if I send a survey, they won’t spend as much time considering openings. Thank you so much for your ideas and responses. I value your opinions!!!

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Sometimes I just have to make a conference call and have all the Admins on the line and talk through the schedule. Debbie on 9/4/2014 1:11:40 PM
You can send an email out to the Admins with the times you have available. Sometimes, meetings can be moved around to accommodate your meeting if you note the urgency of the meeting to which needs to be held. Most Admins will try to work with you on trying to help you get your meeting held. And try maybe not a night meeting but a meeting after 5:00. Email usually works best for you and the other Admins. Unknown on 9/3/2014 1:09:42 PM
I can sympathize with your frustration. I work for senior executives of the company. What I would do is just schedule a recurring meeting when most will be available. Example: every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 9:00-10:00am. I would put a note for them to accept the entire series and that you will deal with conflicts as they arise every month. As the meeting occurs each month they can either accept, decline, suggest another date/time. One thing you probably already know is: change is the only constant around the office. Depending on how important your meeting is, most of them will free up their calendar for your meeting. Anonymous on 9/3/2014 1:08:19 PM
First and foremost, develop good working relationships with all of those admins! While they are there to support their executive, they are also there to make sure that their executive is able to work well within your company through interaction with other execs and their assistants. There are a few unknowns here. Do you support the President or do you support one of his executives? Where is your executive in the chain of command? Higher/lower? Have you been given a timeline or deadline within which this meeting needs to happen? If so, you will only have so much wiggle room and if that is the case, you need to let the other admins know this so they can communicate that with their execs. Choose three days with differing start times during the day and I would suggest you throw in an early morning meeting day/time (starting within the 7:00am-7:45am timeframe) rather than an evening meeting time. Most people operate at their fullest capacity first thing in the morning. If you go that route, offer a nice coffee bar with some fruit and pastries, if your budget/exec will allow. That way you have their undivided attention; they are not sitting there distracted by other things that have already gone on in their working world that day. No matter what day and/or time you come up with, you have to set boundaries or you'll still be trying to arrange this meeting months from now. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your new job! Kelly Dodson on 9/3/2014 12:52:17 PM
Typically I would request the availability of the most senior executive(s). Once I receive the Sr. executives availability, I provide those times and ask if the others can be flexible with their schedules. Most times they can be flexible and will accomodate. Mary Alexander on 9/3/2014 11:29:13 AM
I would find available times in order of 1. Person requesting the meeting 2. Highest ranking attendee (President) Set up the meeting, send the invite and they can manage their availability and time. They will rearrange their schedule to attend Unless you were specifically given the task of finding the best time of all attending, you have already done more than enough lastly, I would take the info you have and send out to the admins a selection of maybe 3-4 possible dates and say you will pick the date which is the best date as chosen be the majority of those who respond Betsy Gordon on 9/3/2014 11:25:47 AM
Is there a Chair of the Group? Our Committees require a Quorum. At one of the meetings, the Chair usually tosses out something like the first Wednesday of the month and we see if all can attempt to make this. Nights are full, so our groups meet at 7:30 in the morning and I order breakfast. They try to keep it to an hour or hour 1/2 at the most so all can get on to their jobs/lives. Then I just poll the committee with an email prior to the next scheduled date. Julie Minegar Stasi on 9/3/2014 10:55:20 AM
I would send a Doodle Poll to their assistants. It is a great tool. Alice on 9/2/2014 2:07:49 PM
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