Let’s do some math …
You need to schedule a meeting with five attendees. You send out one email to ask, “When can we meet?” Each attendee sends you back a reply (x5), then you reply back (x5), then you send to the entire group (x1), then each attendee writes back twice (x5x2)…. When you add it all up, that’s approximately one kabillion emails to schedule one 30-minute meeting.
There is an easier way!
The Classic Scheduler: Doodle
The first time I found Doodle, I sighed with happiness. Without ever entering your email address or any personal information, you can propose several dates and times for a meeting. Then Doodle generates a link for both your admin view and the participants’ responses. You send the link to your participants, and everyone responds with availability, allowing you to use the admin view to find the perfect time.
I have used it for years, but recently they’ve upped their game to make them even more valuable. Now you can use the iOS apps ($2.99) to check on your schedules and propose more meetings. Plus they’ve added a new service called a MeetMe page that gives you a private URL you can send to colleagues to let them propose a time to meet based on your availability. For the advanced features, you need to register for a free account and connect your calendar. Premium Doodle (that sounds funny, doesn’t it?) starts at $29/year.
They’ve also branched out into business scheduling with a service called BookMe, which lets you offer customers the ability to schedule their own appointments. BookMe is a little pricy, starting at $9/month for one user.
My New Love: ScheduleOnce
As awesome as Doodle has been for me over the years, I have a new love. ScheduleOnce is my new favorite meeting-scheduling tool. I used to use WhenIsGood.net, which is very easy and very cool but not very attractive. ScheduleOnce couples the high-tech interface with easy-to-understand functionality.
Unlike Doodle where you have to choose certain times and ask participants to pick, ScheduleOnce and WhenIsGood both let participants drag their mice over available blocks so the system can identify a common time where all participants can meet.
ScheduleOnce also has capabilities like Doodle’s BookMe, where you can send a web page to clients to ask them to pick their own appointment times.
ScheduleOnce made Beth’s Top Meeting Tools list!