Wouldn’t that be something? I sometimes daydream about a life where my meetings are scheduled for me and I focus my time and energy on getting the most out of the collaboration.
Unfortunately, getting more than two people in the same room at the same time to focus on the same agenda doesn’t happen by itself. And if your life is like mine, when “people” get called, your phone rings. So instead of spending time creating processes for creative minds to solve problems together, you spend your time e-mailing suggested meeting times, waiting to hear back, suggesting new times, starting over and finally settling on a time that works for most people–until someone cancels.
This is the part where I’d like to offer a magical process to make all of that hassle go away–unfortunately, short of hiring a personal assistant, I don’t know of any way to solve the whole problem. I do however have a way to make it a bit easier–which will give you some of your creative thinking time back.
Meeting Wizard helps manage the meeting scheduling process by keeping track of who is available when, who has responded and which dates/times have been suggested. It also provides ways to send reminders to everyone or just those participants who have yet to respond.
It’s certainly not the same as having someone take care of the whole process, but its free, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require you or your meeting participants to install anything on your computer. It also gets through some of the strictest spam filters I’ve seen.
If you are fairly computer savvy go to www.meetingwizard.com and check it out. If you are feeling a bit nervous, or appreciate step by step directions–read on!
Scheduling a Meeting with Meeting Wizard
- Set up account (first visit only)
- Click Here to go to account set up. Fill out the form using your e-mail address and a password you will remember.
- Go to www.meetingwizard.com
- Login—enter your e-mail address and your password. Note: in this case your e-mail address is just a user name. It will work even if you aren’t using the computer you use to check that e-mail account.
- Click—“Create a meeting request”, then click “propose one or more dates/times.”
- Follow the directions to add the proposed days and times to the list. Remember to click “add” after choosing each date/time. Click Continue.
- Fill out the Meeting event details with the same information you would use to send an e-mail invitation.
- If you leave the “add all new addresses to Address Book” box checked, you won’t have to re-type the address next time (you can choose it from the address book)
- For “Send me an email update” choose “as each response is received.”
- If you want a reminder to be sent to your participants automatically, check the box and click continue.
- Review your meeting request and click “edit details” to make changes.
- Click “preview e-mail” to update the email’s subject line and message (this is the info that will show up in your participant’s e-mail box—the meeting request details will show up on the meeting page after your participants click though.
- Click “Send” to send the request.
- To confirm meetings go back to www.meetingwizard.com and click “view meetings.”
- The meetings you have organized will be in the left column. Click on “view details and responses” for the meeting you are confirming.
- If enough people are available for one of the options, click the “confirm” button at the top of that column. On the next screen, add a personal message about the meeting being confirmed in the “Insert new message for participants” box and click send now.
- If none of the dates work you can add new dates by clicking “propose more dates/times.”
- If your participants are slow to respond, click “Send a reminder to everyone who has not responded” to prod them.
- Spend the time you would have spent organizing e-mail responses trying to figure out who was planning to attend creating a great meeting for you and your participants!