Tech Tips: Making ends meet with MeetingWizardWritten by Carrie Rathsack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Online social networks are a convenient way to stay connected with colleagues, friends, and family. But sometimes we just need to meet with people face to face (F2F)… no, really, we need to meet with people face to face (it’s good for you)!
Problem is, everyone is so busy! How do you go about scheduling a meeting with 5, 10, or even 50 other people as busy as you? Chances are, it’s either authoritarian, “We’re meeting at 2 pm on Thursday!” or else it becomes a myriad of emails or a never-ending game of phone tag. Worse yet, your autocratically declared “convenient time” may not work for everyone else and you show up to a meeting with only yourself.
Now there’s something to help — MeetingWizard (www.meetingwizard.com), which claims to
“Put an end to e-mail and phone tag” and “Schedule your meetings and events with ease”
Plus, it’s free*! (Unlike professional baseball of late, don’t be too alarmed by that asterisk; see below)
Seem too good to be true? Well, it’s not… at least for the last couple years and hopefully well into the future it will continue its current “free” model of service. (Note: it is not uncommon for free online/Web 2.0 services to change to a pay-for model, especially recently, as they also succumb to the economic downturn — like Jott.
Here’s what you can do with MeetingWizard (from their Web site):
1. Propose times (or announce time) of meeting
2. Review responses
3. Confirm (sends an email to everyone and even a reminder (if you choose) within a few hours to days of the confirmed event)
Imagine scheduling your next family reunion at Promenade Park, an office dinner at Tony Packo’s… or even your Little League picture day at the Mudhens stadium where no one has to be “Missing from the picture” because you used MeetingWizard to find a day where everyone can make it! Isn’t it wonderful when a technology tool can actually make life easier rather than more confusing, frustrating, or time consuming?
Here are some more details on what MeetingWizard offers:
- Up to 50 people for the free service
- Schedule as many meetings as you’d like
- Offers an “express” set up (less steps)
- Invitation allows you to specify the type of meeting (face to face/F2F, teleconference, web conference, online chat, video conference, social, to be determined)
- Option to preview the invite and/or customize the outgoing e-mail
- You may send reminder emails to those who have not yet responded
- Respondents can leave a message for you and your reply goes back to them via e-mail
- All past meetings notifications and responses are kept (“Now, Jim, you said you could be there and you weren’t…” Oops!)
- Address book for frequent emails/invitees and importing options, as well
Microsoft Outlook users can save the meeting details into their Outlook calendar with just a click
- Option to allow participants to see the invitation list and/or responses or keep them private E-mails sent to you (organizer) after each response or once all are received (the email will contain information about who responded and a link for you to quickly see the response page with all responses received so far, not just the one respondent’s)
As with any free tool, there are some possible downfalls:
- for groups over 50, it’s going to cost you (based on numbers and features) — “free” only gets you a sampling, but is plenty for most of us the e-mail text and online design aren’t gorgeous or dazzling (but are simple, practical, and functional)
- apparently no options for “click to add” to Google calendar, or others (only Outlook)
I’ve used MeetingWizard for the past couple years to schedule work and personal meetings or events and it’s always worked great. But, what do you think? Have you used MeetingWizard? What other tools are out there to use (in addition to the “bring your calendars to our next meeting” solution)? Leave your comments below ..
E-mail Carrie Rathsack at email@example.com.