We complain about spending hours in unproductive and mismanaged meetings, but the greatest crime is all the wasted time we spend scheduling the meeting. The endless back and forth communication — reviewing calendars, setting up a call-in number, adding the meeting to the calendar, inviting all the necessary attendees — gets even worse when your business, like many consultancies, runs off meetings.
A recent study revealed that an average white-collar worker spends about 6 hours a day on email alone. 6 hours! We are all Sisyphus when the scheduling rock rolls down the hill.
Tip: if you’re a Cialfo user, try our Meetings tool to set up meetings within your student management platform!
Whether you’re trying to find the perfect time to catch up with your team or looking for the best way to coordinate with clients, these meeting scheduler tools have you covered.
While Google Calendar isn’t technically a meeting scheduler, it has three major advantages working for it:
- Almost everybody you know probably uses Google Calendar.
- It’s incredibly easy to use.
- It’s completely free.
When you share your Google Calendar with someone (students, parents, team members), they can see the details of your calendar. Important: make sure your calendar’s privacy settings is set to either “Default” or “Private” so people making appointments on your calendar can’t see the details of your other events!
Check out me trying to schedule a meeting with our CEO, Rohan:
It gets increasingly complicated when you’re trying to schedule a meeting with two or more people, though. If I’m trying to schedule a meeting with the entire Cialfo team, this happens:
To make this easier, use “Find a Time” or “Suggested Times”. If you’d like Google to suggest a time for you to met, simply selected “Suggested Times” under your names in the event details. A pop-up will offer some times where everybody’s free.
Alternatively, use the “Find a Time” tab next to “Event details” to have Google help you find a time. In this option, you’ll see everybody’s schedules side-by-side. If you find an open spot, claim it with the blue-dashed box.
Not only is Calendly is prettier, it’s way more user-friendly than asking a potential client to schedule a meeting on your Google Calendar. It integrates directly with your Google or Outlook calendar and gives you a personalised URL where people can view your availability and schedule times to see you.
To help you stay organised, the app lets you set up custom meeting types and durations — for example, “30 minute check-in” or “60 minute essay review”. You can also add custom questions to the form people use to sign up to meet you, include a link to a document or web page to review prior to your meeting, or make events private.
Harness the power of machine learning! Clara is a virtual assistant that schedules all your meetings, getting acquainted with your scheduling patterns as she does so. When you sign up, you indicate your preferences as to which days and times you’re available for meetings and your favourite locations.
If someone requests a meeting, you can CC Clara’s email address (customisable to your company’s domain), and the virtual assistant will determine a time, date, duration, participants, and location for the meeting. She also understands human commands like “I’m sick, can you reschedule all my meetings on Tuesday?”.
The downside: Clara currently only works with Gmail, and she comes with a hefty price tag: $99 per month at the cheapest plan.
If you’re trying to schedule a meeting with a large group of people, it can become a nightmare really quickly. Rallly (with three Rs!) lets you create a simple, straightforward poll where attendees can vote on a day for an event that works best for them. It also includes an open comment section on the meeting page, so you can plan the meeting agenda or discuss details before the event.
Timebridge handles both outbound meeting requests and automates inbound scheduling and is compatible with Outlook, Google Calendar, and iCloud. On Timebridge, you can set a few default meeting options and black-out times off working hours, but you’ll be limited to five suggested timeslots per meeting.
The back-and-forth headache of scheduling will never disappear completely, but these tools will help you decide on a meeting time and – in Clara’s case – remove the annoying conversation entirely. Give these tools a spin, and opt out of email once and for all.
What does your scheduling process look like for meetings? Let us know in the comments.