Doodle Meeting Organizer
I caught up with Michael this week for a closer look at the Doodle meeting organizer, and it took me about 2 seconds to see the light; there’s huge value here.
In short, the Doodle.com meeting organizer makes it easy to find a date and time for a group event by using a poll-based scheduling system. It’s not a calendar. Want to schedule a Sales and Marketing meeting between 15 people, including some employees in the field? You can either do it the old fashioned way and send out an Outlook invite – and receive several “Decline to attend” responses – or you can set up a poll in Doodle to see what time works best for everyone, and then lock it in place.
Doodle is a relatively new player in the U.S. market, but in Switzerland 1 in 10 people use Doodle.com to schedule their meetings and events. Now that’s market penetration. They’ve recently hit 3 million monthly users, a 167% increase over 2008, and offer the service in 28 languages.
Without further adieu…
The Top 5 Reasons You Need to Use the Doodle.com Meeting Organizer for Scheduling Meetings and Events
1. Doodle takes the pain out of scheduling events by replacing the human coordinator with a simple web application. No registration is required for organizers or attendees, unless you want to (you get access to a central dashboard.) They just click on the meeting link, select the time(s) they can attend, and the organizer sees a poll that clearly shows the most convenient time for everyone to meet.
2. It’s free! You can access all of Doodle’s functionality and co-brand your Doodle site with your logo without paying a dime, or you can upgrade to Branded Doodle, a white-label version, to replace the ad zones with your own images and encrypt your polls. (Flat monthly fee [$22 USD], no volume charges)
3. It has a clean, simple, intuitive interface. Schedule a meeting in 3 steps in then email the link to attendees. That’s it. When it’s time for the organizer to tally the responses, Green boxes = someone can attend at that hour, Red = they can’t attend at that hour. A tally appears at the bottom of each date and time, and Doodle suggests the best time to meet. My six year old nephew could schedule a meeting using Doodle.
4. Doodle integrates with Outlook, iGoogle, Facebook, Google Calendar, iCal, Sunbird… There’s a plug-in for Outlook, an application for Facebook, and an ICS Calendar Feed that syncs your Doodle meetings across Google Calendar, iCal, and Sunbird.
5. You’ll find you can actually coordinate a meeting between countless people with disparate schedules, and they’ll love you for it. With Outlook, it’s actually kind of patronizing to just schedule a meeting at the time that’s best for you. Yes, in Outlook you can see when other people have meeting scheduled, but that doesn’t take into account events or tasks they haven’t put into their calendar. Doodle gives you a different psychological experience to meeting planning by letting you participate in the scheduling process.
How to Schedule a Doodle Meeting:
1. Choose a meeting title and description (optional.)
2. Add a couple of dates on which you’d like to hold the meeting.
3. Add a couple of possible meeting times for each date you selected in Step 2. That’s it. Poll created.
4. You’ll then receive 2 emails, one containing a link to send out to meeting invitees, and another admin link you can use to administer the event (pick a final time, invite more attendees, close the poll, delete an entry, etc.)
5. Attendees then access the site – no sign-in required – check a box for each time-period they can attend, and Doodle tallies up the responses.
6. At any time, the organizer can access the admin page, close the poll, and select a final time.
You can watch a demo of Doodle here.