The digital world has impacted many aspects of our lives, but none more than how we communicate with one another. Computers, smartphones and tablets have not only revolutionized how we communicate messages, but they have also increased our effectiveness in organizing group events and meetings.
Almost everyone belongs to some sort of group which meets from time to time. It could be for work, sport, study, church or volunteer activity. Trying to coordinate a meeting by making personal phone calls to each of the participants sounds archaic. What’s more interesting, is that use of email for this purpose is also diminishing. Email is great for a back and forth conversation with one or two people. It is certainly not ideal for managing the RSVP’s of a group. The emails are not consolidated, people change their minds, you are not presented with a clear real-time view of who’s coming, and there are no configurable options (e.g. who can bring guests, who can see the guest list).
Below are short descriptions of five websites and applications that can help simplify your meeting planning process. These tools can simplify the communications issues relating to the meeting- so you can focus on the meeting content.
If your meeting involves attendees from offsite locations, then GoToMeeting is a great tool that will connect everyone. It is a great resource for scheduling and hosting online meetings which allows you to invite up to 25 attendees. A downloadable app makes it possible to join the online meeting through Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone and Android devices. There is no limit to how many meetings you can have and it’s easy to use. GoToMeeting also allows you to share your screen with your attendees and it also comes with a messenger feature that allows you to communicate with your attendees discreetly.
Whoozin is the ultimate web-based RSVP tool. Whoozin incorporates the information about your meeting or event (and images, if provided) into a web page, and sends out email Invitations to the participants. Recipients click a link in the email to RSVP, and you can track all the responses in real time. Events of your group (a “group” may be your company, or perhaps a department) remain consolidated- in that the “Whoozin group page” lists all the upcoming and past events. Individuals who are designated as “members” of the group are automatically invited to each new meeting. You can customize information about each event, including whether or not the attendees can see who is coming. WhoozIn has impressed its customers with its friendly design and intuitive approach, and best of all… it’s FREE!
If the challenge you face is scheduling the right time to meet with your peers, then Doodle may be the tool for you. This website will poll participants to determine which of several proposed meeting times is best, based on everyone’s schedules. It works with a number of calendars including Outlook, Google Calendars, iCal, Yahoo. Once you synchronize your calendar, no more double booking and you can also schedule events right from calendar view.
For those who like to distribute notes among co-workers, we have a solution for you. Minutes.io helps keep you organized. It is a free app that does not require sign up and it works straight from your computer browser. This tool allows you to take notes, keep track of attendees and record the minutes of each meeting. You can categorize your notes (e.g. TODO and IDEA) to help formulate the agenda for future meetings. After a meeting, the minutes are stored in your browser where they can be emailed via secure URL to all the meeting participants making it accessible from anywhere.
If you are a traveler and you’re constantly trying to schedule meetings in different time zones, then this tool is for you. World Clock Meeting Planner helps you find the most convenient meeting time in 12 different cities for all parties involved.
If you want set the meeting by reference to local time in different time zones, you can use the Event Time Announcer to convert your local time, and share the meeting with all your attendees.