In a survey conducted by HBR, out of 182 managers, 65% blame meetings for their ineffectiveness in meeting deadlines. While around 71% of managers are of an opinion that meetings make them unproductive. And 62% of senior managers assert that these meetings come at an expense of deep thinking.
I am working at a digital marketing agency and we too faced a lot of problems every time a need to call upon a meeting cropped up. After all, there are only a few tasks as tedious and monotonous as scheduling a meeting. Deciding on a time that works for all parties involved can entail a losing battle of inadvertent double-bookings and interminable email strings. While we whine on to no end about whiling away countless productive hours in mismanaged and fruitless meetings, we fail to realize that the biggest criminal of all is the endless back and forth communications when it comes to scheduling one in the first place.
Upon doing some research, we came across some meeting scheduling apps. And without delay, I referred them to my boss. The result: apart from getting a bonus, our overall performance surged around 43%.
If you start searching on Google for meeting scheduling apps, you’ll get tons of results. But, out of these, the apps mentioned below have passed our stringent scrutiny. Whether you are seeking the best way to coordinate with your clients or striving to tap into the perfect window of time to catch up with all your team members, these apps should be your best friends!
The moment you install the Assistant.to the app, a new widget will appear in your Gmail “Compose New Message” window. The app allows you to select the meeting location and time from the message compose screen directly. Share all the open slots with the recipient via an email, where the recipient can click on a time frame that best caters to their hectic schedules. Once a meeting time has been decided upon, the app adds all the pertinent details of the meeting to your calendar.
Since the app integrates seamlessly with other meeting tools, such as Join.Me, Ready Talk, or GoToMeeting, it automatically adds and generates meeting links for those tools. Not to mention, it is compatible with both business and personal grade Google accounts.
However, one thing that you need to know before you start using Assistant.to is that the app is for one-to-one meetings only. Group scheduling is totally off the charts yet, which is why this app is best if you’re running or working for a startup.
A bitter fact is that the time squandered away in choosing a meeting time, even overshadows the actual time spent in a meeting. If you want group meetings to be held keeping the availability of everyone in mind, Pick will help you do so. Pick allows Google Calendar users to pick and select the time of their meeting via a web app or an iOS mobile app.
Just suggest a time you want the meeting to be held. Select a contact that you want to schedule a meeting with, suggest a time slot that fits in with your schedule, and the recipient is allowed to do the same. The availability of all the recipients who are on pick will automatically be updated, which renders scheduling meetings a breeze. Alleviating the obnoxious hassle of back-and-forth communications, Pick arrives at the most suitable time for all parties involved, saving you tons of time.
What if you have multiple offices across the globe?
International scheduling can make you bite your nails in apprehension but fret not. Say hello to Time Zone Ninja. A meeting scheduling app which can help you schedule meetings, keeping in mind the time zones of all parties involved.
Simply type in the locations of all members, in addition to a meeting date and a tentative time, and a simple interface will help you choose the magical Ninja hour for your meeting. The app generates a table, enlisting the respective time zones of all attendees, as well as a color-coded indicator of how your proposed time fares for all those involved. The app shows you three different times slots for the meeting; your proposed time slot and those an hour before and after your suggested slot. This three-hour range helps the app to come up with the most suitable time for all attendees. To select a different time, simply drag the slider under your location and everyone will be able to see it.
If you want to have a quick meeting with the maximum number of recipients, this app will help you do so. A simple meeting scheduling app which allows the meeting organizer to propose a tentative time slot for the meeting. After that, it generates a voting page for everyone to vote on and pick a time.
Not only this, Xoyondo provides organizers with an option to let attendees choose from a multiple-choice survey of what they really want. Now, you don’t need to worry about whether you need to stock up on blueberry muffins or cookies to entice in all attendees; simply ask the crowd what they want!
No one needs to worry about scheduling their meeting with this meeting scheduling app at their disposal. TimeBridge is a nifty app which can coordinate your meetings for you.
The operation is quite simple. Just select the recipients whom you wish to meet with. Next, select 5 different time slots for which you’re available. And leave the rest to TimeBridge.
TimeBridge will coordinate with everyone and let them know your desired meeting time and they can choose their preferred meeting time in turn or comply with yours. One excellent thing about TimeBridge is its amazing integration capacity with various tools like Google Calendar, iCloud, and even Outlook. TimeBridge can simply sync data from these apps and set your default meeting option with it.
If you want your clients to know your preferred time, you can also create a time availability page. Just send out this link and your clients or recipients will know the best, and the worst, time to contact you.
TimeBridge comes with numerous options. If you have saved your mobile number in your TimeBridge account, you’ll be able to receive SMS notifications five minutes prior to your meeting time.
A lot of teams have started using Slack for alerts, file sharing, and all forms of internal communication. In a matter of a few keystrokes, Meekan helps you schedule all your meetings via Slack. Be it any channel, as long as you start a human-readable message with “Meekan”, such as “Meekan we want to attend a conference this Wednesday”, the app’s Slack bot will automatically set an appointment for you.
Meekan takes a stock of all the parties involved and scrutinizes their calendars to come up with an optimal time slot that caters to everyone. Attendees are allowed to vote on their most preferred time slots. Offering extensive support for Outlook, Android, and iOS, Meekan helps you organize meetings regardless of your physical location.
Boomerang Calendar is essentially a browser extension which works in tandem with Google Calendar and Gmail. The best part is that this tool is compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome as well.
Boomerang Calendar is a simple tool which allows several people to coordinate simultaneously and in a simpler manner. Boomerang Calendar will help you choose the most suitable meeting time without overlapping it with your Google Calendar.
Another great feature that Boomerang Calendar provides is that it will share your availability with your clients and employees which can set your meeting time based on your availability. And yes details will only be shared with people whom you’ve given permission to.
In a digital marketing agency, there is a back-and-forth scheduling headache which can drive even the best of project managers crazy. Next time if you’re planning to set up a meeting, you can iron out the kinks in an efficient manner. Do give these apps a try and let us know which ones worked for you.