20 October 2007

Meeting Scheduling Tip

A friend of mine gave me a tip for scheduling meetings when you are going back and forth with dates and times and haven't confirmed a date yet. She has created a table that is very easy to use and keeps everything neat and you can see at a glance where you are at with the scheduling.
Set up a table with four columns across, four rows down (or however many people that are partipating in the meeting). In the columns across put the available dates/times and in the rows down, put the names of the participants. As you phone/email participants and find out their availability, put checkmarks or a Yes/No in the row beside their name and under the date/time that applies. I found I needed to customize it a bit to suit my needs, but basically it is ready to use.

(click on image to make it larger)

"The meeting table I use is quite simple, but helps keep track of who is available when. I think it's a good idea not to give the participants too many options, 3-4 dates is usually enough to choose from. "

Submitted by Denise, Executive Administrative Assistant


Richard Rinyai said...

Hi Patricia,

This is a great idea. I actually enter all of my information Outlook, since I can post all of this on there and e-mail it to all participants. They can then print out the information.

But it all depends if you are computer savvy or paper/pen oriented. This is a good alternative, if your computer breaks down for a while.


Richard Rinyai

Patricia Robb said...

Thanks Richard for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

have you tried using 'Doodle' which is one of the tools that Google provide?
It does the same thing but in a cleaner way and allows other attendees to see the details which can help sometimes when deciding on a date.


Patricia Robb said...

Yes, Doodle is good when you initially go out with dates but I use my meeting sheets for more than just that. I put the meeting logistics on it as well such as booking the boardroom, do I need to follow up with anyone for meeting materials, do I need to make travel arrangements etc. etc. I also like to track what days I have already offered so I don't go back with the same dates. I use Doodle occasionally and like the feature of sending it out from your own email account and provide a link and people can go to the link and choose the dates. I have had people send requests generated from Doodle and it went straight to my boss, he thought it was spam so deleted it. It was only when I was going through his deleted items that I found it and recognized it for what it was. So sending the link through your own email makes better sense. I would still want to keep a meeting sheet however to track all the other things involved in organizing a meeting. The meeting sheet is also good to have if the meeting gets cancelled then you can go through it and undo everything you have done for this meeting such as notifying people who you had asked to prepare something for your boss, unbook the boardroom etc. So yes, I like Doodle and it has a purpose for securing dates but I need more than that when organizing a meeting and that is what I use my meeting sheet for. It is great when you can combine technologies and make it work but I haven't found one thing for organizing meetings that does everything I need.

Patricia Robb said...

Richard also has a good point. Not everyone that you send a meeting request to is computer savvy and would not know how to handle going to a website such as Doodle. They are good as far as sending and receiving emails but that is it. We have to consider all of our audiences when sending a meeting request. Do they all know how to use the technology? I work for a board of directors and some are not as computer savvy as others so sending Doodle may not work for them.