At work I often schedule meetings and conference calls. If you’ve ever tried to coordinate multiple busy professionals by phone or email, you know what a headache that can be. Luckily, many free online tools exist to simplify this daunting task, and my current favorite is Doodle.
Give your Doodle Poll a name, location and description, select the dates and times you’d like to offer up as possibilities, and you’re good to go. You can choose to paste addresses into the poll or receive an email link to forward out to meeting participants. Each participant clicks the link, chooses the times they’re available, and you receive email updates (based on your settings) of their responses.
The option Doodle offers that I love is a Yes / If Need Be / No option to my poll. I know for myself, there are often times I could attend a meeting if it was the only option available but would prefer other time slots. The Yes / If Need Be / No option lets participants communicate this less-preferred option in their responses to your poll while still indicating they could make the meeting time if necessary.
You can also use the poll as an event registration with pre-established participant limits for particular options. This is helpful if you wish to schedule a series of webinars but can only host a certain number of people at one time. Doodle gives participants the option to sign up for their preferred webinar and will automatically stop allowing certain selections when a time slot is filled.
Like many similar tools, there is a paid option with additional features but I’ve found the free version meets my needs quite well. Some people look at me doubtfully if they haven’t heard of this service before when I tell them I’ll “do a Doodle,” but once they try it out they’re typically as hooked as I am.
Becket Moorby is a writer and non-profit professional based in central Vermont. She chronicles her adventures living in a 120-square foot tiny home at www.tinyhouseadventures.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @becketmoorby, +BecketMoorby on Google+ or www.facebook.com/tinyhouseadventures.