This week, I was trying to schedule a get together with a group of folks, and I did some writing about what I think is the best way to coordinate schedules with a group of folks. I am also posting my ideas here:
And, my ideas are … I don’t think that, for a big group (say ten plus), the host getting things started by throwing a date out works so well. What I’ve seen is, inevitably, after a date is suggested online. then one or more people then counterpost, “Hey, I *really* want to attend, but I can’t make that date. Any chance of moving it to [this other date]?” And, for smaller groups (like six folks on down), when one person throws out a date, then another person says that they can’t make it and replies with a different date, someone replies with a still different date, and so on, until, by random luck, after way too many emails, somehow someone stumbles onto a date that is acceptable to all (acceptable – until someone has an emergency come up at that time, and can’t make it, and either they get thrown overboard, or the whole interminable death-by-email process starts again).
I have found that instead by far the best way to set a date, for groups of say six or smaller, is for the person with the tightest schedule to send out a comprehensive list of all the dates that they are available during the possible time span, someone else in the group to edit that list down to just the dates that they are also free and reposts, and so on, until, when the last person posts, and you are left with a comprehensive winnowed-down list of date that all people are free. Ideally, you are left with multiple possible dates, so you have a backup if someone’s car explodes.
Same idea with a group of ten or bigger – a survey works great. The host proposes five or six dates that work for them on an online survey, and then the people in the group who intend to show up reply as to how the various dates work for them. After the results are in, you pick the date that works the best for the most number of folks. Some people will be left out in the cold and won’t be able to make it, but they can ideally accept it knowing that it *is* the scientifically best date, and that a date that would work for them would work worse for the group.
So, there you have it. Might all seem obvious, but I’ve been in the middle of more “let’s pick a date” email messes than I would have liked.