Scheduling Tools Now Part of Doing Business

Calendar scheduling tools have come into the mainstream. I get them all the time. People ask for a meeting, then provide a link so I can visit their calendar and pick a day and time.

I have very mixed reactions to this. It can save time over going back and forth by email. But it also feels like I am doing all the work. So, I turned to my online community for their thoughts.

I took a poll and asked, “How do you feel about using calendar tools to request time on someone’s calendar?” Apparently I need to get over my reservations because 76% responded that the love them!

Here’s a sample comment: “I cannot BEAR going back and forth via email looking for a time to talk. I use Acuity Scheduling (since 2015). I can barely stand discussing anything over email if it takes more than one.”

Scheduler tools like Acuity Scheduling and Calendly have earned a place in the busy business owner’s toolkit. Some advice for using these tools well:

  • Take care with the days and times that you offer through your online scheduler. Don’t give so many options that your schedule becomes unproductive. One commenter to my poll suggested limiting client meetings to a certain day. The single day approach can also help cut down the exchange of emails if you don’t use a scheduling tool.
  • Offer an option so that people who find using your scheduler a challenge can get on your calendar another way.
  • Make sure the time slot lengths are realistic. I recently had a request to set up a meeting and the slot was 15 minutes. No surprise, the call took longer than that, but the scheduler did not offer me the option to book more than 15 minutes.
  • Be careful with how complex you make your system. I recently got one with multiple fields, including opting out of an enewsletter. I understand the temptation to use the scheduler to get people on your email marketing list, but be sure not to add too many distractions.

As with all online communication and marketing, don’t lose sight that your calendar link is part of the relationship you are building. Make sure the tool is presented as a helpful option rather than an imposition. And, be open to people who want to approach scheduling a different way.

What that APR After My Name Means

I chose to earn the APR – Accredited in Public Relations – credential years ago. I have maintained my accredited status since then to assure my clients and myself that I am offering the highest levels of expertise.

Unlike CPA and other professional credentials, APR is not well known. Here are the highlights of what it means:

  • The APR is a mark of distinction of a PR pro’s solid ethics, judgment, strategy and knowledge.
  • The APR process provides excellent training in comprehensive and strategic public relations.
  • APRs commit themselves to continuous improvement for the professional and the profession.

Accredited in Public Relations Level of Service

For my clients, the APR means that I offer you validated expertise in public relations and communication. I need to take continuing education to maintain the credential, so it also tells you that I am staying up with the latest in the field. It is your assurance that working with me brings you significant value.

For me, the APR keeps me current in my field. I enjoy learning through the workshops I take, as well as through working with other professionals who want to attain the APR. Through this process, we challenge one another to attain a level of excellence. We also act as a collegial body to sustain and advance the profession.

Learn more about the APR credential at the PRSA website.