Now that we have the basics down for calendar management, let’s talk about some of the best resources to help keep calendar events running smoothly. Here are my top 10 calendar tools:
The Top Inbox is an email-scheduler extension that, among many things, sends automated reminders if emails go unanswered. It’s incredibly handy because not all of your meeting requests will get answered.
Pros: Automated reminders are the best thing since sliced bread. You can elect for emails to pop back to the top of your inbox if it goes answered, or set up an auto-follow-up to the recipient. I use this tool everyday, all the time, across all of my inboxes. I no longer need to make a note to follow up with someone when I’m scheduling with them if they don’t answer.
Cons: Zip, zero, zilch. This is a free tool that allows you to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in your inbox, track opens and send followup with email sequences. Reminding yourself to schedule a meeting has never been easier.
2 GOOGLE CALENDAR’S “FIND A TIME” FEATURE
Google’s”Find a Time” feature is the best way to book internal meetings for a group in Google Calendar.
- Create a new event and click the “Find a Time” tab.
- Add in your invitees’ email addresses, and you’ll see their personal calendars displayed.
- Select a time that works for everyone.
- Click save. The invitations will go out right from here.
Pros: It’s the easiest way to achieve a bird’s eye view of multiple calendars at once. No switching back and forth between various individual calendars, and no email chain asking multiple people when they’re available.
Cons: Nothing! This is one of the only tools that has no cons. It’s a simple yet effective tool that I consistently rely upon to book group meetings.
2 GOOGLE’S “WORLD CLOCK FEATURE”
Google’s “World Clock” feature facilitates working with international clients and setting up meetings in different time zones. Google returns with another incredible built-in tool that allows you to view multiple times zones across the globe right from your calendar.
- Click on the gear in the upper right-hand corner of your calendar and select “settings.”
- Click on “labs,” and scroll down until you find the “World Clock” feature.
- Once enabled, you can choose any and all the time zones you need.
Pros: Google’s knocked it out of the park again with another stellar feature built right into your calendar.
Cons: On the rare occasion, the “World Clock” feature fails to load. It’s a rare occurrence, but a glitch can throw a wrench in your work flow.
World Time Buddy is a simple tool that compares multiple time zones at a glance. If Google’s World Clock fails, I hop over to World Time Buddy.
Pros: I’m a visual person, so I love that this tool allows me to see multiple time zones stacked upon one another. Bonus alert, you can auto-save potential meeting times right onto your Google Calendar.
Cons: Free users can only add up to four locations at on time. Still, this tool is incredibly intuitive, easy to use, and free.
Doodle is a simple way to poll availability from a group of people. I use this when my clients want to set up a call or meeting with a large group of people outside of the company. (Google’s “Find a Time” is only an option for people within the same company.)
- Create up a poll by entering various dates and times for an event or meeting.
- Send the poll link out, and your colleagues or meeting attendees can vote on which time works best for them.
- Let Doodle tally the results for you and show you which date and time works best for everyone. It’s simple and fast.
Pros: This tool is absolutely free to use, intuitive, and provides a visual representation for which date and time works best for a large group of people.
Cons: While there is a way to include various time zones, it’s hard to find. It would be nice to have a more prominent way to offer multiple times zones for groups spread out across the globe.
5 GOOGLE’S “OPTIONAL MEETING MEMBERS” FEATURE
Google’s “Optional Meeting Members” feature is great when someone may not necessarily be needed in a meeting. For optional attendees, you can use Google Calendar’s optional guest feature.
- Just click the little black silhouette next to the person’s name.
- Select appropriate icon. A solid icon means their attendance is required, while a transparent one means it’s optional.
- When the calendar invitation is sent out, the term (optional) will appear by the non-essential person’s name.
Pros: It’s an easy way to let attendees know if their presence is mandatory or not. Plus, it eliminates the need to email non-mandatory attendees to say, “Hey, you’re not needed!”
Cons: Nada! This is another effective tool built right into your Google Calendar.
Calendly is a simple scheduling tool that eliminates the need for back and forth emails. This is especially handy if you have a client who is a coach, mentor, or consultant and/or someone who runs their business predominantly over the phone.
- Connect your client’s calendar to the site, and Calendly automatically checks all calendars for conflicts to avoid double-booking.
- Share a link to the Calendly page, and let the invitees schedule their own appointments.
- Whenever a new appointment is booked, Calendly automatically inputs all the details on your client’s calendar as well.
Pros: This tool can be integrated with Google Calendar, Office 365 and Outlook. It’s fully optimized for desktops, phones and tablets, ensuring invitees have no compatibility issues while perusing availability. Perhaps my favorite feature, Calendly is one of the few tools that can be embedded directly into a website, allowing customers to schedule right from your client’s site.
Cons: Although the free, basic plan provides sufficient features for most people, those who need pooled availability options for teams, customizable email notifications for invitees, reporting/metrics, and CRM integration will need to shell out $8 – $12 a month. Check out the pricing here.
Uberconference is a great resource for clients who take meetings over the phone. It provides a unique dial in and pin to each user.
Pros: Your dial in and pin are free. The online dashboard is incredibly simple, and shows you everyone who’s in your conference call, and uses an icon to show who’s talking. You can record calls right from the desktop version and send the mp3 file to yourself or attendees, or screenshare with others right on the call. Double bonus for great call-quality.
Cons: There are limitations to the free account. If you’re a free user, you can only have 10 people on the line at a time. However, if you pay $10/month for the service, you not only get to ditch the pin number, but you get access to international dial ins as well and can host up to 100 participants on the call at one time.
Last con, regardless of a paid or free account, there is no way record a screenshare session. Something to keep in mind if you or your client tends to share their screen often during calls.
Globafy provides free international numbers. Rather than pay for an international conference line or mobile carrier rates, this is a cost-effective solution if a client needs to make an international call. All you need to do is choose your own 8 digit pin and distribute it to those who need to be on the call.
Pros: This service is completely free, and call-quality is crystal clear.
Cons: There’s no way around using a long 8 digit PIN number. There is also a slim (but no impossible) chance that you may have picked the same 8 digits as someone else. Although it’s never happened to me, you could accidentally dial in to an ongoing conference call.
9 GOOGLE HANGOUTS
Google Hangouts is usually easier to use than Skype because the videochat link is integrated right into the calendar details, and there’s no need to ask if someone has a Skype ID.
Pros: This service is free, easy to access and has an intuitive interface. There’s a handy chat feature too. Though not private, you can simultaneously listen to or lead a Hangout while sharing links, notes, and memes (obviously).
Cons: Hangouts can only support up to 10 people at once. Also, the more people on the video chat, the worse the video quality.
KEEP UP WITH CHANGING TECHNOLOGY
Be sure to keep an eye on changing technology. I like to google “calendar resources” periodically to ensure I’m using the best, most up-to-date calendar management tools.
Find what works best for you. Some of the tools I purposely left out include Google Appointment slots, Acuity, ScheduleOnce, and Appointy, because I find that the cons outweigh the pros for my day-to-day.
SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES
Are there any resources that I left out that you like to use? Send me your faves in the comments section below!
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