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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

Schedule People in Your Grid

Some people don’t call back. They hate me. I blot them from my memory, burn pictures with them in it, and erase them from my diary.

Some call back but can’t free themselves up when I’m free. I’m sad. I let them know I love them and want to see them when they’re in my city. Then I move on to someone who really loves me.

People who call back really love me. We set a time and write it in the column of the day we’ll get together. I divide each day into “breakfast, morning, lunch, afternoon, dinner, night,” which conveniently spells “bmldn.” If I’m meeting Joel for breakfast on the 20th, I write a B in Joel’s row in the column labeled the 20th. Then I fill in the “waiting to hear back” column with an “X” so I know this person is scheduled.

At any time, reading down the column for a day shows who’s scheduled for that day and when. Reading a person’s row tells when we’re connecting. If they really, really love me, they might be on multiple days or in multiple time slots. So I bring a little present like flowers, or Oreo Ice Cream Cake, or a pamphlet telling them to convert to my religion.

How to Have Quality One-on-One Time

I scheduled an hour and a half for each time block, with a half-hour for travel between meetings. The pace was glorious. If we didn’t use the whole time, I had extra time to wander Manhattan, looking at museums and parks and pigeons. Lots of pigeons.

How to Have Quality Group Time

My one group event was a dinner and show with five friends. Even an introvert can deal with a six-person dinner. I sat in a middle seat, so I could join any conversation at the table. We saw Matt Doyle, whom I interviewed in episode 91, “Dream the Impossible Dream.” He was on an elevated stage, we were not. We had a great view of his nostrils.

If you’re counting, you’ll realize I’m only up to 18 people so far. The 19th was Ben, whom I met on the bus back. He was trapped next to me for five hours, giving me lots of time to talk, and him lots of time to listen. A new friend! Relationships do make the world go ‘round. And with a simple piece of engineering graph paper, even an introvert can have quality time with 19 people in two days. Life is good.

RESOURCE:

-        The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D.
-        http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/engineer/ - Download and print engineering graph paper
 
Sample trip planning form
 
 
Called
8/26
8/27
8/28
Lisa
X
 
 
2 pm
Shahid
X
 
4pm
 
Mike
X
2pm
 
 
Grace
X
8pm
 
 
Jeff
OUT OF TOWN
Emily
X
 
 
D
Eric
/
 
 
 
Richard
X
 
 
L
Alan
X
Dinner
D/Show
 
Joel
X
 
B
 
Harriet
X
Morning
 
 
Paula
X
 
D/Show
 
Nancy
/
 
 
 
Elisabeth
X
 
 
N-8pm
Megan
X
 
D/Show
 
Marsha
X
 
M (10am)
 
Marshall
X
 
L
 
Frances
X
 
9pm
 
Ruth
X
 
 
B
Matt
X
 
(performing)
 
Kim
/
 
 
 
Alex
X
 
 
10am
Julia
X
Lunch
 
 
Dan
X
Breakfast
 
 
Len
X
 
D/Show
 
Phyllis
X
 
D/Show
 
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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