This is a reprint of an article I wrote for Insight on Business, an excellent business publication dedicated to the 100,000 or so businesses in The New North (Northeast Wisconsin) from their October 2011 issue:
Tips from a technophile
Here’s a simple way to pick a meeting date among busy people
If you don’t happen to have a personal “technology shaman” to help you choose apps or tools for a leaner running business, finding the “best” new technologies can be tough. Why do we need new technologies? Because the one thing that the commoditization of internet and mobile-based technologies promises us is the ability to save time and money to deliver our goods and services.
But unless you run a technology company or you are a chief technology officer, the time you spend looking for the right tools may not pay off for you. Non-technologists will be better off either crowd-sourcing (looking for tools that many others are using) or else paying someone to help them find a good set of tools.
Time management tools
Let’s have a show of hands: Who’s not using Doodle (www.doodle.com) yet? For companies that routinely don’t – or no longer – offer administrative assistance to their C-level and/or marketing and sales personnel, Doodle is a brilliant tool.
If you happen to have a large enough IT budget to afford Lotus Notes, Doodle may not be for you. For everyone else, Doodle is great. Here’s why.
What is Doodle?
Doodle allows you to quickly find the best possible dates and times for any number of people to meet, whether they work for the same company or not.
What I like about Doodle:
- The freemium plan offers you a quick, no hassle and respectful way to schedule meeting times with virtually anyone.
- Doodle allows all of the people polled for a meeting to declare ALL of the meeting dates and times they want to consider.
- A premium plan (as little as $29 annually) offers your company advertisement-free co-branding with a personal subdomain.
How Doodle works
We’ll assume that you’ve already created a free account for yourself.
- A moderator, let’s say you, logs into Doodle on your browser.
- You open a new poll and enter a topic (subject line) for your meeting.
- Choose several dates and times that work for your schedule over the next few days or weeks. Doodle can read and show you your online calendar as you’re doing this.
- Enter the e-mail addresses of all desired participants for the meeting. Again, Doodle can read and offer you your own contact list during this process if you allow it to.
- Send the Doodle poll when ready. Your included contacts will receive a link via e-mail inviting them to participate.
- When all participants have selected dates and times that work best for them, Doodle will graphically show you which dates and times will work best for everyone.
At your prompting, it will even announce to the participants the specific date and time you select when you’re ready to close the poll and put it on your, and their, calendars.
Many thanks to the publishers of Insight on Business.