Scheduling a meeting on a date when everyone who needs to attend can show up is often time consuming. It may mean making a lot of phone calls or sending multiple emails back and forth. That seems like a hassle, so the meeting must be important to go through all that trouble. More time is money, and wasted time scheduling can be costly for the business. If there was an easier and cheaper way to plan a meeting, shouldn’t most professionals take advantage of it? That form is readily available through an online tool called MeetingWizard (one word).
MeetingWizard is designed to make meeting planning easier with regard to meeting times and attendance. The basic tool is free on the Internet and only requires the meeting organizer and meeting invitees to have email accounts. That means it’s available to everyone who does business and may require meetings! To use the tool, search for MeetingWizard (no spaces) online.
When checking out the tool, check out the online walkthrough, which is a slideshow of how simple the process is to follow. The walkthrough indicates three main steps in the use of the tool. These are:
- The meeting organizer creates a meeting request proposing dates and times to potential invitees (from one to fifty).
- Guests respond online showing availability after receiving the email.
- The meeting organizer reviews availability and confirms the best meeting time to invite.
There is a bit more to it than the three-step process above indicates. This is because some of the process steps involve multiple screens to read or complete as a sub-process of the parent step. However, the screens are easy to use and not overloaded with information, so the novice user won’t get lost in the technology. To start the process, the meeting organizer must register as a new user. Signing up for a free user account means entering some personal information, including your email address, and selecting a password for your account. Future logins will require the email and password to access the tool. Once logged in, the user simply follows the screens to perform the necessary steps.
If this is not enough to spark interest, visitors can go to the website’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. This is where visitors and current users find answers to common questions about using the MeetingWizard tool. After reviewing the tour’s online help features and FAQs, this tool should require very little additional training for most computer users. If you want, you can find easy step-by-step instructions for beginners by searching the web for “How to use the MeetingWizard tool to schedule a meeting date.” This additional set of how-to instructions is for the meeting planner only. Referring to this step-by-step information can be helpful as part of demonstrating how to use the tool. Following the demo with general guidelines for planning meetings would also be a good idea for training meeting planners. Instructions for invited meeting attendees are also available. If the instructions are helpful, it might be a good idea to include the link to these instructions in the meeting invite until people are comfortable with the tool.
In addition to sending emails, the tool also allows the creation of an address book to store the minimum number of email addresses and names. Other standard address book fields, such as title, company, and phone numbers, are optional. Using this can save a user time as they would not have to re-enter commonly used email addresses every time they need to send notifications or meeting requests. The user can create an address book or import data from an existing address book, saving even more time. Current import options include Microsoft applications of Outlook, Excel, and Word; more Netscape Messenger; yahoo; and text or comma-separated files. The address book also has sorting and grouping options that can be used if it contains a large number of addresses. Groups can be used to create teams of people so that the user does not have to select meeting attendees individually.
Remember that there are easier and cheaper ways to schedule a meeting by taking advantage of the Internet, email, and MeetingWizard. The next time you’re planning a meeting where multiple dates and times need to be verified with potential invitees, consider using this online alternative. You can save time for meeting organizers and invitees. Plus, the Meeting Wizard tool can eliminate all those repetitive phone calls and emails going back and forth trying to find a good time to meet. The time and resources saved can translate into dollars saved for the business.