I set up an amazing app this week – Calendly. I am using it so current Seasons Leadership participants, who are located all over the world, can schedule time with me and we can avoid all the back-and-forth emails coordinating our calendars and time zones. It is brilliant! It’s so efficient and helpful.
I know I am sounding clueless, like, where have I been? This is not a new thing. There are numerous calendar apps available and in use by just about everyone. I know. But I have a pet peeve which has me avoiding using this calendar technology other than in a very limited way. I want to know what you think.
Here is the situation: Multiple times a day I will get a LinkedIn message, or email, from an enthusiastic person who wants to connect because we have common connections, or career interests or they have something that they know can help me with my business. They will have a nice intro and then say, “I’d love to connect with you in person, use this link to schedule time with me.”
Umm, exactly why would I do that? Didn’t you contact me? Doesn’t it seem reasonable that if you want to talk to me that you would ask to get on my calendar? To be honest, I have found this approach helpful in a way because I know that in fact, I do not want to talk to you further.
Calendly recommends using their app this way, suggesting this script on their website if you are trying to initiate a business meeting: “I’d like to meet to discuss this further. Here’s my scheduling link so we can avoid the back and forth of finding a time to meet. Would you choose the time that works best for you? Looking forward to speaking with you!” It must be working for some, if not many people if I keep seeing it used. So why does it bother me?
This comes down to business etiquette - the soft rules of what is expected in a professional relationship. These adjust over time giving way to common conventions of the day. Consider how much our business etiquette has shifted during the pandemic where video calls are now the norm and people don’t think twice about avoiding a handshake. Email itself was a huge shift when it took over the workplace. It is rather common for people to assign action items in email now but earlier on this would have been untenable.
Even still, I don’t believe our business conventions have moved beyond mutual respect. There is a humility you should assume when asking for someone else’s time. It’s a freedom from your own self-importance so that you and the other person can exchange ideas. If the one doing the asking, then turns around and demands you get on their calendar they make the meeting about their own self-importance.
I do not feel this way if the situation is in reverse. If I contact someone for a meeting or an appointment, and I get back a message to use their link to schedule time – I am happy to do it. Perhaps this is how Calendly, and other calendar services should sell their offering by flipping the script. After all, I was the initiator and am willing to use whatever scheduling methodology they prefer.
However, I am wondering if perhaps I am being unfair or out of date? I wonder if this is because it seems to be happening more, even with people I do know, and our relationship is such that I would be happy to talk further. But if they send a request email and then say, "schedule on my calendar," I want to say, “Not cool!”
Is the culture changing so much that this is acceptable? I really want to know.
Get on my calendar and we can talk… (Just kidding).