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How to Schedule Meetings with Many People

Learn how an introvert can plan a trip to see 19 people in two days and still be relaxed and casual.

By
Stever Robbins,
Episode #100

Today’s topic is how to schedule meetings with many people quickly; you’ll find out how even an introvert can travel to another city and re-connect with everyone they know, without feeling rushed or pressured.

Relationships make the world go ‘round. Now it's true if we all turned backwards and ran in the opposite direction at the same time, we might make the world slow down and stop. But if we don't do that, relationships will keep making the world go 'round. Whenever I travel to another city, I deepen my relationships with people who live there.

The Challenges of Being an Introvert

It’s not easy, because I can’t just plan a big party and invite everyone. You see, I am an introvert. We’re a persecuted minority who can be very social, but people wear us out and we need time alone to recharge. We like one-on-one conversation, where we can affect where the conversation goes and how quickly. Otherwise we swoon. Like, at parties.

At parties, we get overwhelmed and head to the bathroom. But all we do there is breathe, relax, and recover. (The extraverts listening to this are shaking their heads in amazement. “Introverts do what?” The introverts, on the other hand, are all thinking, “You mean there are others? I’m not alone!”)

Extraverts do small talk well. Introverts like personal topics. Extroverts say, “Nice to meet you. What do you do for work?” I, an introvert, say, “Nice to meet you. What do you do for work? Does it make you feel like life is devoid of meaning and you’re just living a gray, dead-end existence in a soul-sucking cubicle job where you subjugate your humanity in favor of surface-level conformity?” I don’t get invited back very much.

An Introvert Travels to New York

So I invite myself. I invited myself to New York to meet my publisher, editor, and several old and new friends. Nineteen people in two days! And no small talk, just quality time at a relaxed, comfy pace. The coordinating and scheduling was easy. Here’s how I did it.

Grab a piece of engineer’s graph paper. That’s graph paper with an extra-wide first column and extra tall first row, so you can label the rows and columns. I also use wide columns so there’s room to write a word or two. There’s a link to a sample in this episode’s transcript.

How to Schedule Meetings with Many People

I know a gazillion New Yorkers, so I label the rows of my graph paper with their names. The paper has just over a gazillion rows, so it all fits on one sheet. I label the first column, “waiting to hear back.” I label the rest of the columns with the dates I’m in town.

Now the fun begins! I zip through, calling each person. I say, “I’m in town next week and hope to see people I love or at least, people I hope will loan me money. Can we catch up if our schedules match? What times work for you?” Saying “if our schedules match” is critical. I’m juggling a gazillion people, and can’t guarantee time for everyone. I put a slash in the “waiting to hear back” column if I haven’t yet scheduled anything concrete with someone I’ve called and I keep going down the list.

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