Help me set my meeting time please!
August 12, 2007 12:23 AM   Subscribe

I need to schedule a meeting between seven very busy people. Is there a simple web site where I can get them all to go to and let me know their free/busy times?

I am responsible to set up regular meetings for this group. At the moment, suggested times are sent by email and eventually we get to a consensus. This takes a long time and wastes time. These people don't share calendars and don't have the tech skills to do more than login to a site and tick some boxes. Any ideas?
posted by chairish to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Doodle.
posted by miles1972 at 12:57 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]
posted by __ at 1:15 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

Is the meeting important enough for these people to want to attend? Tell them when the meeting will happen, and if they can't make it, tough. If it's not that important, tell them to send someone in their place if they need to have input, or else just tell them what decisions were made.

If you, as the meeting facilitator, allow all the (seven!) participants to change the times on a whim, then you'll never have the meeting. Someone will always have something more important come up.
posted by lowlife at 5:27 AM on August 12, 2007

If it's a regular meeting as you state above, pick a time, starting several weeks out from now (three is usually good, few people plan meetings that far away), set up a recurring schedule from then, and stick to it.
posted by lowlife at 5:28 AM on August 12, 2007

Seconding Doodle.
posted by O9scar at 5:57 AM on August 12, 2007
posted by wile e at 6:33 AM on August 12, 2007

Oh, didn't read the question right. A shared google calendar? Or if everyone is on an exchange server, you can share outlook calendar appointments.
posted by wile e at 6:35 AM on August 12, 2007

I agree with lowlife, but to go further:

1. Arranging each meeting individually is unnecessary. Try to agree a regular time with all parties concerned, e.g. every Thursday at 3pm, or the second Tuesday of every month.

2. Don't try to introduce non-tech people to tech websites, especially if they are busy people and you don't know them well. The problem here isn't really technological any way. Email is fine, here.

3. Scheduling the meetings has fallen to you so you are entitled to be assertive. Don't ask for convenient times, don't get the to vote. Suggest a time that suits you that you think is sensible.

4. The phrase "let me know if there is any problem" is your friend, and should be preferred to "is this okay with everyone?" The answer to the latter will invariably be no, but people are more likely to go along with something if you use the former phrasing.

5. Do an exercise on the people concerned, differentiating those that must attend because their input is required, and those that are merely interested parties. Give more weighting to the scheduling requirements of those that must come along.
posted by nthdegx at 6:59 AM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

I basically agree with nthdegx. If these people aren't tech-savvy already, no reason to force them to schedule online. Stick with e-mail, an environment and technology they are familiar with. If they've got busy schedules, I find the best strategy is to suggest an early morning meeting.
posted by lucidreamstate at 8:09 AM on August 12, 2007

I like Meeting Wizard the best.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:06 AM on August 12, 2007

Oh, hell, just mark Doodle "best answer" already— it's exactly what you asked for.
posted by klangklangston at 5:47 PM on August 12, 2007

Meet With Approval.
posted by lunchbox at 6:23 PM on August 12, 2007

Response by poster: Doodle did the trick. Thanks!
posted by chairish at 1:04 AM on August 13, 2007

Ha ha ha, lowlife, that's hilarious. "Professor George, if you can't make it to my oral examinination next Wednesday, you're just going to have to pass me, and that's that!" "Steve Jobs, thank you soooooo much for agreeing to serve on our advisory group to give us advice about our startup business. The meeting is next Wednesday, and if you can't make it, TOUGH."
posted by salvia at 5:12 PM on August 13, 2007

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