In a surprising study, Harvard researchers found that 92% of employees consider meetings costly and unproductive. There are many factors that can lead a meeting to be unproductive, such as weak planning, miscommunication about the meeting’s value, or a lack of interest from the attendees, among others. One fairly easy way to get everyone aligned on a meeting’s value from the start is to draw up a strong and purposeful meeting invite email that explains why attendees should come to the call and what they can expect when they get there. So, if you’re looking for some tips on how to create an effective invitation for a meeting, you’ve come to the right spot!
- The benefits of sending a good meeting invitation
- How to structure a meeting invitation email
- Meeting invitation templates
- How to automate the process with Fellow
The benefits of sending a good meeting invitation
- Shows professionalism and good meeting etiquette
- Sets a clear purpose for the meeting
- Improves collaboration during the meeting
Shows professionalism and good meeting etiquette
Meeting etiquette is displaying respectful practices when it comes to planning, running, and following up after a meeting, regardless of whether it’s virtual or in person. Writing effective meeting invitation emails is an important part of good meeting etiquette as it gives the attendees all the information they need to be available and prepare for the meeting. Fellow’s Meeting Guidelines for High-Performing Organizations ebook also recommends sending an email with a positive tone about why the attendee’s time is valued and needed for the call, which shows respect for their schedule and energy.
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Sets a clear purpose for the meeting
According to research by McKinsey, teams only feel like it’s worthwhile to gather for a meeting for one of three reasons: to make decisions, to identify creative solutions (for example, by brainstorming), or to share one-way information (for example, in town halls). When you send your meeting invite, tell your attendees about the purpose of the call, why they should attend it, and include how they can come prepared. Try to frame your meeting’s purpose statement as one of those three high-priority reasons to increase the likelihood that individuals will see value in attending your meeting!
Improves collaboration during the meeting
In your invitation for a meeting, you should clearly mention how each attendee is expected to contribute to the conversation. This allows your participants to plan in advance if necessary. Then, when the meeting time comes, your attendees will be ready to engage and share what they’ve been expected to bring or discuss. Not only does this increase meeting engagement, but it also helps you stay on time and follow your meeting agenda closely.
How to structure a meeting invitation email
- Write a concise subject line
- Outline the meeting purpose
- Include the date and time
- Share a collaborative meeting agenda using a meeting agenda software
- Request an RSVP
Write a concise subject line
Meeting invitations should have punchy subject lines that communicate the meeting’s purpose in just a few words. They can be more or less formal, depending on the meeting type. MailChimp recommends using between 9 – 60 characters in the subject line. Also, personalizing the email makes it 26% more likely that you’ll get a response. Here are a few ideas to try:
- [Employee Name] + [Manager Name] One-on-One
- Quarterly Update Meeting for [Project Name]
- Product Tour with [Buying Company Name] and [Selling Company Name]
Outline the meeting purpose
A meeting purpose statement outlines in a sentence what is expected to happen in the meeting and why it’s worth the attendee’s valuable time. It should be explained using a positive tone to encourage your recipients to feel inclined to attend the call. Make sure to tailor the message to the recipients where possible so they can see specifically how it’s relevant to their ongoing work. For example, instead of saying “decision making for budgets,” you could say, “getting the CFO’s approval on the Q2 marketing events plan.”
Include the date and time
A crucial part of your meeting invitation should be the date and time. You’ll need to be mindful of any differing time zones for your attendees so that you avoid booking a meeting during a very early or late time. Meeting invite emails should also always include the location. If you’re meeting remotely, add the video conferencing link to the email. If you’re meeting in person, include the physical address and any instructions for entering the building.
Share a collaborative meeting agenda using a meeting agenda software
Meeting agendas are helpful for establishing the talking points that will be discussed during the call. You can leverage meeting agenda software that will make collaborating on this document easy, which allows other participants to contribute their ideas for discussion points. Just make sure to send this at least one business day in advance so team members can review and contribute to it. As a bonus, you can use your agenda during your actual call to guide the meeting’s flow and even write action items on it as you go through your meeting!
Request an RSVP
If you’re using an online calendar tool like Google Calendar or Microsoft Teams, your meeting invitations will automatically include options for guests to quickly RSVP. In most cases, you can also set the participant’s attendance as optional or required so they know how to respond. Attendees can also decline the meeting invite with a reason (for example, if it’s not relevant to their role) or they can propose a new time. This type of communication is helpful feedback that you can use for planning your meeting to ensure it’s appropriate for as many participants as possible.
Meeting invitation templates
Hi [Employee Name],
I thought it would be great to book some one-on-one time together so that we can talk through any challenges and goals that you have at the moment. Ideally, we can do this on a weekly basis as a check-in to make sure you have everything you need to achieve your goals.
Can you let me know of a time that works for a 30-minute call every week?
As the team is growing, we don’t get as much of a chance to connect with each other. I’d like to set up a weekly team meeting where we can all share our priorities and potential blockers for the upcoming week. We’ll also have 10 minutes at the start of the call for introductions to new team members or shout-outs.
If you have anything else that you would like to discuss with the team together, please ensure to add it to [this meeting agenda] at least one day before the call.
[Team Lead Name]
I’d like to book a meeting for us to align on [upcoming project]. The deadline for the next phase is due on [date], so I’d like to make sure we’re on track.
Can everyone please come prepared with an update on your respective action items from the last meeting?
Please add any questions or blockers that you have into the meeting agenda [linked here].
[Project Lead Name]
On [date], I would like to present [topic]. The [topic] is relevant based on our last meeting, and I think it will provide good information to move the project forward.
If you think of any questions in advance, please add them to the [meeting agenda here] under the “Questions” section.
Please RSVP by [date]. In case you cannot attend this call, I will be sharing the recording with everyone following the meeting.
How to automate the process of sending meeting invitations emails with Fellow
Automating your pre-meeting processes can save you a lot of time, especially if you’re planning several meetings a day. Fellow is a meeting management software that allows you to set up automatic reminders to be sent to the meeting attendees. This will remind people to add their own thoughts and ideas. These automatic reminders can be set up to be sent via email, Slack, or MS Teams. This will help you build a collaborative meeting agenda. The software also includes a Meeting Guidelines feature that automatically offers talking point suggestions based on your meeting’s topic or purpose. So, if you’re leading a meeting like a team check-in or brainstorming call, using this feature is a great way to automatically generate new ideas for icebreakers or discussion topics that will drive higher meeting engagement from your participants. After a meeting has ended, it’s a good practice to send out the notes to all the stakeholders so that everyone is on the same page. Everyone can do this, but as the meeting organizer, you might want to set up the meeting automations and liberate yourself from manually doing this each week.
Learning how to write effective meeting invite emails is important as it helps ensure your participants feel like their time is valued and will be used wisely. It also offers attendees the ability to plan in advance so you can jump right into your talking points when the call begins, saving everyone time and keeping goals more aligned.
As your role grows and you move up within an organization, the number of meetings you take on in a day can rise quickly. Finding a fast and efficient way to automate your pre-meeting planning is a simple tactic to spend less of your time on administrative tasks and ensure you still get some of your day to do highly productive work!