A Plea to People Who Send Calendar Invites: Write Better Subject Lines
You + Me = much more informative.
Next Thursday at noon, I have an item on my calendar that says, “Call with Jason Feifer.” Except, you know, I am Jason Feifer. And I don’t schedule calls with myself; if I need to chat with Jason Feifer, I can just talk out loud.
So where’d this thing come from? I was emailing with someone I need to speak to, and, once we settled on a time we're both free, his assistant created an invite and sent it to both of us. The title was “Call with Jason Feifer,” because that’s exactly the information her boss needs. But it doesn’t really help me, the other person invited to this event. Now, come Thursday, I might look at that entry on my calendar and have absolutely no recollection of who I’m talking to.
A quick scan backwards in my calendar finds many, many other examples of this. May 9 at 4 p.m.: "Jason Feifer Conference Call." (Question to ponder: Is a conference call more or less insufferable if you’re the only person in one?) April 13, 10 a.m.: "Interview with Jason." I hope I asked myself some great questions! Tuesday, April 3, at 11 a.m: "Jason from Entrepreneur." Just a statement of fact?
So here is my simple plea to everyone who sends calendar invites: Write titles that help everyone out. Put my name and your name. My company and your company. Or hey, some combination thereof. You can get creative! Here are some fine options:
1. Jason Feifer + Joe Smith
2. Entrepreneur / Joe’s Startup
3. Sync up: Jason/Joe/Nancy/Andrea
4. Joe/Jason interview
You get the point.
Together, we can maintain a baseline level of coordination between multiple parties. Together, we can remain fully informed and prepared. Together, we can create a living, mutually useful document of our finely scheduled time. And most importantly, together, when we get on the phone at noon on a Thursday, we can know who will be at the other end of the line.
I just spoke to Jason Feifer, and he thanks you for your attention to this important matter.
Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, and host of two podcasts: Build For Tomorrow, a show about the changes that got us here, and how to thrive in a changing world; and Problem Solvers, about entrepreneurs solving unexpected problems in their business. He writes a newsletter about how to find opportunity in change.
Prior to Entrepreneur, Jason has worked as an editor at Men's Health, Fast Company, Maxim, and Boston magazine, and has written about business and technology for the Washington Post, Slate, New York, and others.