Before Gojek, I had only worked at smaller companies where everyone kept their calendars open, and you never had to fight to get a slot for a meeting. My most common question, to my manager during my first month here, used to be: “But that person is always busy. How do I set up a meeting to close this? And if I get an open slot somehow, the other folks seem to have their calendars blocked.”

After 2 years of working at a company of ~5000 employees, and 100+ PMs, I have finally learned how to set up meetings. Here is how you should do it:

  • Inform, don’t ask. If you ping a dozen people requesting them to give an open slot for a meeting, there is no way you would find a common slot. So what I do is send out a mail invite with the best possible slot and request them to adjust instead. Let me tell you a secret: Most people in big cos are stretched, and rarely get time to do deep work. So a lot of them, :cough: including me :cough:, create meeting slots to get some work done. So your invite might not be actually clashing with another meeting of theirs.

  • Make sure the decision maker’s slot is free though. In case he actually has a clashing meeting, then you are screwed. Don’t have a meeting without the decider. It is an utter waste of time.

  • Send the invite with a note “Blocking your time in advance to discuss X”, followed by a detailed agenda. If the meeting agenda is shared in advance with all the relevant docs, there is a far higher chance of people attending. Request them to add other relevant participants. Add a line apologising for blocking their calendar. Mention that it is hard to find a time that worked for everyone, and hence this particular meeting time slot was chosen. This should do the trick.

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