Your Calendar Link is Killing Relationships

“Etiquette requires us to respect everyone’s social boundaries.”

Judith Martin

Friends, let’s have an honest chat about calendar etiquette. I want to share a story that really grinds my gears, walk through some history, look at downsides and benefits, and give tips we can all use. Sound good? Here we go!

I was so annoyed just this morning. Got an email from someone I’ve been wanting to meet with about potential partnerships. But instead of suggesting some times that could work for both of us, she simply shot over his calendar link and said to book something. Ugh! Now I don’t even want to work with them.

This highlights the risk of prioritizing convenience over connection. The story is all too common, right? In our digital work lives, firing off calendar links has become the norm. But it pushes work onto others, removes the human relationship, and creates imbalanced dynamics.

Let me share another example. Last week a sales rep cold emailed me asking for a quick call. I said sure, here are a few times that work – how about Tuesday at 3pm or Friday at 11am? Simple, right? Well he shoots back with just his calendar link again telling me to schedule it! An immediate turn off.

It got me thinking about how many times this happens in a given week. I did a quick tally and it was over two dozen sends of calendar links rather than reciprocal scheduling. Very few took the minute or two to actually look at their calendar and find a time together.

And it’s not just salespeople. I see this across industries and roles – clients, partners, contractors, assistants, you name it. It’s become the norm to offshore coordination. But it’s such bad etiquette! Super impersonal and honestly disrespectful of people’s time.

Let’s back up. How did we get here? Well, with business back in the old ages (1980s), you’d just pick up the phone and flip through your paper planners together. It took more effort but felt more collaborative.

Once online calendar tools like Outlook emerged in the 90s, the temptation grew to protect our own time by firing off links. By the 2000s, online calendars were ubiquitous. It became socially acceptable to offshore coordination.

But in many cases, we’ve ended up valuing convenience over personal connection. Think about it – everything is more impersonal now. People text instead of calling. They email instead of meeting up. Businesses have automated customer service with bots.

Scheduling is just one more area where technology has disrupted social norms. But efficiency shouldn’t always be the priority! Lead with people! The truth is, there’s a better way, friends! Taking a minute for mutual scheduling has huge benefits:

  • It’s respectful of everyone’s time
  • Allows rapport building
  • Sets a cooperative tone
  • Balances the dynamic

The key is being proactive together in real time. Here are some tips:

  • Suggest 2-3 specific times that work for you. Don’t just ask “Are you free?”
  • On a call? Pull up your calendar and find a time together.
  • Use conversational scheduling tools like that handle coordination seamlessly.
  • If sending a link, set context first: “I’m free Monday or Tuesday afternoon – here’s my calendar for you to take a look.”
  • For recurring meetings, periodically revisit the time rather than sticking to the status quo.
  • Send calendar invites only after you’ve agreed on a time, not before.
  • If getting a calendar link, respond with 2-3 options that work for you rather than just booking something.
  • When receiving meeting invites, decline if the time doesn’t work and propose alternatives rather than just ignoring.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have a calendar link in my email signature, and my website has an online appointment booking page. These are great for people who want to get in touch with me. I would never send my calendar links to someone though!

Ultimately, scheduling is about showing we value each other. It’s about relationship building. So be human, be proactive, steer us toward shared times. Don’t just fire and forget.

Why does this matter so much? Because relationships are everything in business. The best work happens when people trust each other, communicate openly, and respect one another’s time.

Cold, impersonal calendar links train us to see people as Faceless entities to schedule rather than human beings. It hurts rapport. And it trains others to view your time as more valuable.

Whereas mutual scheduling sets the tone that we’re both important – we’re in this together. It breeds partnership and prevents bottlenecks. This mindset unlocks so much potential!

I hope these thoughts have fired you up like I am. Do the small but meaningful things, friends. Keep it personal. Nurture your relationships through better calendar etiquette.

My vision is that one day, back and forth scheduling is the universal norm. Let’s get there together! Here are some steps:

  1. Be the change. Commit to only mutual scheduling in your own practice.
  2. Have the courage to tell others when their linking practices bother you. Teach them a better way.
  3. Leverage smart AI tools that remove scheduling friction yet keep the personal touch.
  4. Continuously evaluate and improve your own etiquette. It’s a practice.
  5. Spread the word. Share this message so we can hit a tipping point!

“Time is the substance from which relationships are fashioned and it must be invested unselfishly in other people if the relationship is to thrive.”

Donald P. Smith

The wheels of business turn on relationships. So be a warrior for the human touch in all you do. Keep it personal. That’s how we’ll change the world, one meeting at a time!

Let me know what you think! What’s your biggest scheduling pet peeve? How else can we work together to fix this? The time for change is now!

October 20, 2023

Marcus Dickinson

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