Last year during the first funding round of Tas Christian Fund, a grants body that I help administer, I needed to have a lot of meetings in a really short space of time and I didn’t have time to play email or phone tennis, sending emails back and forward until we finally coordinate both our calendars and agree on a meeting place. So I went looking for tools to help.
I found a great tool that made all the difference and I want to let you know about it. I have also used 3 other methods for scheduling appointments that are good for different purposes depending on what your needs are.
You Can Book Me
The tool I used and can highly recommend is You Can Book Me. I’m confident that this web based appointment scheduling tool saved me approx. 80% of the time it would have otherwise taken to schedule those appointments manually. It syncs directly with your calendar and you can set a bunch of useful features like…
- The buffer between appointments so that you have enough time to get to the next meeting.
- Add custom fields to the booking form. I used this to provide location options which also helped to save time.
- Set the application to send an email or SMS reminder on the day of the meeting. (I used the email but haven’t tried SMS).
- Set up multiple calendars all syncing back to your single iCloud or Gmail calendar.
- You can even set the applications to receive payments based on the booking selected.
In all I found this to be an excellent app that was easy to set up and easy to use.
To check it out for yourself visit You Can Book Me
Look past the giggle worthy name and you see a tool that can save you a huge amount of time if you have to coordinate group meetings. If you need to find a meeting time that suits 3 or more people Doodle is the best application that I have come across. Doodle allows you to suggest multiple meeting time options and participants can choose which best suits them. The application then shows you clearly which of the options the majority of people can attend. Doodle can also be synced with your calendar.
The only thing I’d say about Doodle is that you need to push it and get in contact with participants using methods other than just emailing them direct from Doodle, as I don’t remember using Doodle once when everyone responded on the first request.
Even with this challenge Doodle is the best/only tool that I’m aware of that handles multi-participant booking.
You can try doodle by clicking doodle.com
Hire a freelancer
If you want to take it to the next level you could hire a virtual assistant to manage your email for you. There are a number of considerations if you are planning to do this.
- Hire someone in a similar time zone. For readers in Australia hire from Australia, New Zealand or the Philippines.
- When hiring, check for literacy – make sure they are going to represent you in the best light possible.
- Check for attention to detail – ask questions in your recruitment process that check for an ability to pick up small details. (This is important!)
- Think about how often you will require them to check your email. I recommend at least twice a day: once at the start and once at the end.
I’ve done more than 90 contracts with freelancers over the past 2 years. In the coming week I’ll write another post covering traps to avoid and things to do to get the best outcome when working with freelancers.
These are all great options and once you’ve tried them there really is no excuse to book meetings in the same time wasting way that we have in the past. I have used all these options and all have worked great.
Do you have some good appointment making tips? I’d love to hear about them. Why not leave a comment below.