The Blog

  • June 2, 2008
  • Scheduling briefings

    Sometimes I think we rely too much on the written word, and e-mail in particular.

    E-mail is great for a lot of things and one of its most appealing aspects is the ability to work asynchronously — literally without being in the same time. Asynchronous communication makes it possible for one party to do something and let the other party respond whenever it’s convenient. This is not new to e-mail, it has been part of human communication as long as there have been letters. Asynchronicity has its limits though which become apparent whenever a communication needs to happen synchronously or in the moment. Humans have an old solution for that situation too, it’s called language. Language is great for conversing and getting quickly to a resolution.

    The difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication comes into sharp focus whenever someone tries to make an appointment to brief me. First there’s an e-mail to gauge my interest in receiving a briefing. If I respond positively there is another e-mail requesting dates and times I am available.

    I never give dates and times and instead ask people to call me to get the scheduling done and over with. Back when I would offer some dates and times there would be a long delay while the booker — typically a PR agency — went and checked with the client that actually wanted to give the briefing.

    But because my time is valuable it is my perishable inventory. I don’t hold time slots open while someone is checking with a client. To do so would add more complexity and would eventually result in wasting some time slots.

    Let me suggest a more efficient process. If you want to do briefings, set aside a block of time when you are available, plan a couple of weeks to a month in advance then hit the phones. Armed with your known calendar it should be easy to slot all the briefings in. You might find yourself doing briefings back to back in succession and, while that could seem tedious, you’ll actually warm to the task and get pretty good at it.

    Published: 16 years ago

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