If you’re a freelancer, chances are you’ve been frustrated by trying to get your schedule to work with your clients. After years of massively failing at this, I’ve figured out a system that works for me. Here’s how I do it:
1. Find the availability sweet spot.
Most people scheduling groups make the mistake of booking either too far in advance, or on too short of notice. I’ve found that most people are open to booking events in a 1-2 week in advance range, although it varies a lot depending on who you’re working with professionally. Since I’m in music, most of the musicians and artists only have a realistic idea of their availability only a few weeks in advance.
2. Cut down the dates.
When someone asks you to collaborate, give the person three times in the widest range of times available (example: Monday morning at 10 AM, Tuesday at 3:30 PM or Saturday at noon). Ask which one works best for them. If you’re working with a large group, ask which two times work best for their schedule.
Whatever you do, do not ask an open-ended scheduling question like “what time works best for you all?” this will open up to literally thousands of potential times, and cuts down the chances that anybody will be available at the exact same time (think trying to hit a bullet with another bullet. Okay, maybe that’s a bit overly dramatic).
3. Get a majority.
If you’re working with a large group, figure out what time works for the majority of people. Once you’ve figured this out, write the people that the schedule doesn’t work with and use a bit of peer pressure.
Tell them that XX% of the group can meet on a specific time, and could they move things around to be there? I’ve found that most people that actually want to be involved in an event have a little wiggle room, providing the event really is a priority to them.
Have other tips for getting groups to work together well? Leave a comment below.