If you need to schedule meetings with people on campus, consider using Microsoft Outlook’s “Meeting Request” feature versus “Doodle” or other meeting management systems. Watch this video for a quick tutorial and let me know if you need any help.
Other “Digital Calendar and Meeting Request” tips include:
1. Keep Your Own Calendar Up To Date
As a Student Affairs / Higher Education professional, you should have access to a Microsoft Outlook calendar. It is very important that you keep this up to date with all your formal (meetings, programs, events) AND informal (work time, meals, closed doors, etc) appointments. Many folks forget to block off time for informal tasks, but one must do this to ensure the most accurate reflection of your free time.
2. Make Your Calendar Public
Setting up your calendar in Microsoft Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 is easy and necessary. By doing this, it helps others who need to include you in meetings to see when you are available without having to ask you, and since this is your work calendar, the information should be readily available. Follow the links to find out how to set it up for your version of outlook.
3. Meetings with Off Campus Folks? Use Timebridge!
Sometimes we get the opportunity to work on committees or groups outside our campus, and when we do, scheduling can be a difficult challenge. As a meeting organizer, here is what I would recommend:
Sync Your Calendar with Timebridge
Timebridge is a great tool. As they tout on their site: “TimeBridge is a web application that makes it incredibly easy to schedule and lead great meetings—and follow up after you meet. Think of us as your calendar-wrangling, agenda-making, note-taking, team-motivating, secret weapon in the battle against workplace inefficiency.”
Whether you use Outlook or Google, you can sync your calendar with Timebridge, share it with others, and have folks propose meetings time to you that will automatically input them into your calendar once you accept it. Encourage those outside your university that you meet with regularly to connect their calendar to Timebridge so you can find meeting times much easier.
4. Export Calendar Files to Share Over Email
An advanced tip I would add is the ability to share a calendar appointment over email with a colleague so it automatically adds it to your calendar. There are two ways to do this. First, assuming you created the appointment as a Meeting Request, you can simply add the person as an invitee and it will email it out (whether they are on your campus or not!) The other way would be to go to your calendar, right-click the appointment and export it as an .ical file. Attach it in an email and send it along. Once the recipient opens it, it should add it to that user’s default calendar.
We need to do a better job at using technology to help increase our efficiency, not create more inadvertent work for those involved. Please encourage others to watch and learn as well. The more folks do this, the easier it will become!