Q. The clients we work with overseas use a variety of incompatible email and calendar tools, which makes scheduling meetings difficult. Can you recommend a good solution for scheduling meetings among people who use different calendar systems?
A. A cloud-based scheduling application called Doodle might help (doodle.com). (The basic edition is free, and the premium edition starts at $39 per year.) Doodle allows you to create web-based meeting requests via an encrypted link you then email to your guests, an example of which is pictured below, followed by a picture of the resulting scheduling screen.
The green checkmarks in the screenshot below depict the availability of the invited parties, which in this example reveal that all four invitees are available to meet on April 17 and 18.
Using Doodle, you can schedule and manage all of your meetings in the cloud, or if you prefer, Doodle can synchronize your meeting details with a variety of scheduling applications (including Outlook, Google, Yahoo!, and other programs supporting the iCalendar format). This allows participants to view their meetings in the calendars they currently use. Presented below are a few comments about Doodle:
- Only the meeting organizer needs a Doodle account; invited guests can participate without creating an account.
- Doodle is very visual. For example, users can set meeting times by dragging a date range across the Doodle calendar to specify the event's duration.
- Doodle can also be used for taking polls or voting.
- Doodle allows you to customize the scheduling page by replacing the Doodle logo with your company's logo.
- The free edition of Doodle displays advertisements; the premium edition does not.
- A 50% discount on the premium edition is available to educational organizations.
About the author
J. Carlton Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.
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