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Tuesday
Jan202009

Quick, efficient meeting scheduling

A minor holy grail:  the ability to quickly come to a group consensus about when to hold a meeting.  Yes, if everyone has Exchange or everyone uses Google Calendar you can accomplish something like this.  And, there are many, many tools like www.meetingwizard.com that faciliate this, but most of these tools are quite cumbersome to use, requiring that the user pre-enter the names and email addresses of the rest of the group being scheduled. 

Enter www.doodle.com.  Now, I have no idea the pedigree, longevity, etc. associated with this tool/site, but from a usability point of view, it's top notch!  To create a "survey" as they call it, you click on the days on a calendar grid to select the choices, enter the possible choices of times on those days (in a remarkably free-form way), and you're done.  You receive an email with a link to the survey.  You can forward that email to anyone you want, but presumably to the people with whom you want to meet, but ANYONE who receives the email can chime in on their availability, making it possible for one of the attendees to themselves ask someone to join the meeting.

OH!  And as people enter their availability, you, as the instigator of the meeting, get status updates with links back to a very visual grid showing, and tabulating, everyone's availability.

I'm just trying it out, but so far it's a very simple, very powerful, VERY efficient tool to accomplish the dreaded "when should we meet?"

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