Gray's Matter
Justice Gray - North America's favorite metrosexual software consultant

I Wish These People Updated More Than Once a Year

I like to generally avoid having meetings (or long ones, at any rate), but when I do have to schedule them, I like to make the meeting request as impactful as possible.  Since not everyone knows how to write a proper meeting request, I thought I would share an example of an actual meeting request that I sent out, with the names changed to protect the innocent:

Based on Drew's adventures with the ROC application and Team Foundation Server, Kory did a quick investigation and his findings regarding this will SHOCK and ASTOUND!!! But will Kory survive what JACKSON KEVAC has to say about this extraordinary development?  This meeting will change the face of FSS application development FOREVER!!!

There are some key differences between this and the average meeting request, besides the fact you were likely aroused while reading it:

  • Judicious use of exclamation points.  This conveys unbridled excitement and gets people interested in your meeting.  I left out the tilde-exclamation combo of "~!" as I think it comes off as a little unprofessional.  Meetings without exclamation points are also meetings without attendees!
  • Use of bold font to convey importance.  Nothing gets people jazzed up like seeing their name in bold print.  If you need to convince someone of a point, it is best to reference their name in all caps and bold font before the meeting so that they too can feel like a super-hero.  It worked for this meeting.  It works even better when combined with:
  • Use of "action" terms.  Note the use of words like "shock" and "astound" in this meeting request.  Seriously, how many meeting requests do *you* receive with these words in it?  Have you ever received one like that?  Probably not, and that's why *this* one stands out among the pack.  Rather than leaving people thinking, "Another boring meeting to call in sick for", have them anticipate the meeting with fervor.  "I am going to be shocked and astounded!!  THIS MEETING IS GOING TO RULE~~~!"  Any sort of metaphor that compares the meeting to exploding genitalia is *money*.  However, be careful not to overuse it lest you be typecast as the guy or girl who always talks about combustible genitals.
  • "Forever".  Why don't people like to go to meetings?  Because they don't think they are of any consequence.  Wouldn't you be more likely to attend a meeting if you knew that the ramifications could be felt for years...even centuries??  Of course you would - you'd be there with bells on!  You need to make sure that everyone knows that the meeting you are scheduling is of earth-shattering importance.   Try to throw in something that makes it a little personal, too!  "This meeting will alter your destiny for ALL TIME!!  I'm talking to you Steve!!!" is a good example.

The important part here is that you are not writing a meeting request, you are writing a comic book solicitation.  It's this sort of BANG~!, WHOO~!, and BANGWHOO~! that people are looking for out of these meetings.  I have not failed yet to have scheduled a meeting with this type of fanfare, where someone did not come up to me afterwards and either:

  • compliment me on how exciting the meeting was
  • offer themselves to me sexually
  • both

Trust me, this might have a chance of happening to you too*!

* that result might be awkward in a situation where you just work with some other dude like Mack and Dickson do, but I figure when you're just two people working together you shouldn't need to have meeting requests anyway

Saturday, 17 March 2007 #