Optimize your meeting scheduling with the New Scheduling Poll tool (FindTime) in Outlook
This tutorial introduces how to use the FindTime tool in Outlook to simplify meeting scheduling. By probing participants’ availability, this tool eliminates the hassle of email back and forth and makes it easy to select a suitable date and time. An effective solution to optimize appointment management.
Step by step
Scheduling a meeting can be a tedious and time-consuming task, especially when it comes to finding a date that works for all participants. Fortunately, the FindTime tool in Outlook can help you fix this problem. It allows you to probe the availability of your colleagues and facilitate the scheduling of a meeting in just a few clicks.
Under what circumstances should I use the Planning Survey tool?
The FindTime tool in Outlook is especially useful in situations where you need to schedule a meeting with multiple participants with very busy calendars. The big plus? The connectivity of your calendars between teams will also give you the available slots in real time of your employees’ calendars.
Even better, if you are responsible for training planning in your organization, the Planning Survey tool can help you survey the availability of your participants in order to choose the date that suits you best, or even naturally create your training groups according to the availability of each.
Thus, you can ensure their availability, but you can also block their agenda to avoid scheduling conflicts.
How do I use the FindTime tool?
- Open Outlook and create a new email.
- Add the meeting attendees to the email recipient list.
- Click the “FindTime” icon in the email toolbar to access the scheduling tool.
- Choose a few dates and times that suit you for the meeting.
Several parameters are possible at the end of the survey creation. Some may catch our attention such as “keeping the selected times in my calendar”, in order to pre-book the selected slot(s), or receiving notifications when a new vote has been submitted by the participants.
- The FindTime tool will then send a planning invitation to participants to indicate their availability.
- Once all participants have responded, you can choose the date and time that best suits them based on their availability.
In our example here, the date of July 18 is the one favored by a greater number, except for one person who will be on leave. It can therefore be assumed that the meeting can be held there. In this case, it is a question of Schedule a meeting (red arrow).
We can also notice two very interesting options:
– The “Send a reminder” button (blue arrow) to restart the responses of pending participants
– The option “Suggest another time” (green arrow) to possibly propose new availabilities if no date was successful.
- Finalize the meeting by adding details in the email, such as the meeting place or room, agenda, and any other relevant information.
- Send the email to confirm the date and time of the meeting with the participants.
Congratulations, you now have your meeting by making sure to find the best compromise between the agendas of all your participants!
Conditions for success
The collective importance of planning your calendar:
To plan your calendar, take into account the status of your slots (Available, Busy, Away…) according to their importance. The “Available” or “Provisional” slots allow you to be available for appointments.
Tip 1: Take into account that some employees do not pay attention to the status of slots in their agenda.
The more you are, the slimmer your chances of getting 100% uptime. Simply choose the slots that suit the majority. Be careful to differentiate between mandatory and optional participants when sending invitations to the meeting.
Tip 2: It is also important to communicate with participants to align meeting priorities.
Communication is essential for effective meeting planning without unnecessary conflicts. With this in mind, these tools promote productive meetings and stick to your planning priorities.
For example: You have an important meeting with all the department heads (busy agendas). And versus, you have at the same time your morning scrum with your team. What is the highest priority, the easiest to move or compensate?
Tip 3: Avoid offering more than 3 slots for scheduling an appointment.
The more opportunities you offer, the more participants will tend to scatter in different hours. (Ideally, offer 2 or 3 slots maximum.)
Tip 4: It is essential to set an early deadline so that your participants can quickly give you their availability.
This will allow for faster answers and more efficient planning.
Tip 5: If you use our M3Z method, you can schedule a follow-up task for the day before the due date.
This task will allow you to follow up with attendees who have not yet responded using the “Send a reminder” button and ensure that you get all the answers you need to effectively schedule your appointment.
To conclude, the FindTime tool in Outlook is extremely handy for anyone looking to save time in scheduling appointments and meetings. By allowing attendees to vote for the slots that work best for them, this tool eliminates tedious back and forth and reminder emails. Plus, with its ease of use and direct integration with Outlook, it’s a scheduling solution that’s accessible to everyone. The FindTime tool in Outlook is a must-try solution!
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