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Top 6 Meeting Schedulers – Reduce the pain of scheduling meetings

Amie Parnaby
17/12/2021
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Top 6 Meeting Schedulers

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Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could ask for a meeting and everyone is free at the right time? In reality, that is very rarely the case. Someone is on holiday, another has a business meeting, and another might only work part-time. If you use the traditional route of asking everyone to work out a meeting time, it takes a lot of back and forth before setting a time and date. Sometimes it feels like you need extra staff as “meeting schedulers” because it takes up so much time.

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid meetings. It doesn’t matter if they are conference calls, video meetings or ones where you all get around a table to thrash out new developments. Internal meetings, client meetings, or even those with external contractors all need to fit everyone’s schedule. 

Yes, there are always meetings that should have been an email. However, it would be best to avoid having those rather than scheduling them.

Meeting Schedulers

Meeting scheduler apps and software services work to remove the pain and repetition of scheduling meetings. Rather than making someone play messenger and organiser to ensure everyone can attend, calendar synchronisation and availability attributes do the work for you.

You might wonder if meeting schedulers are worthwhile, and the only answer to that question is another one: What could you get done in the time you spend corraling meeting attendees, checking calendars, and making alternate arrangements?

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just spent the last hour ensuring that everyone can attend a meeting at the same time. For the sake of this example, we’ll assume it’s an important one that requires everyone to be there. You’ve finally pinned down the date and time, but the conference room you need for the meeting/presentation/sales pitch is no longer available for the time you’ve arranged. You’d be pretty annoyed and have to either ask the people who have it booked to swap times with you or start the process again. You don’t want to do that.

The best meeting schedulers allow you to synchronise multiple calendars to ensure the compatibility of meeting availability. They enable several different meeting types, direct linking and many other features you need to manage your meeting scheduling requirements effortlessly.

So which are the best meeting scheduler for your needs?

Meeting Schedulers vs. Appointment Booking Systems

There is a subtle difference between the two, and it’s essential to understand the difference to appreciate our picks for the top 6 we have selected.

Appointment booking systems work best for client interaction and meetings. Any service business that provides for individuals or groups that come directly to you for their needs will make their appointments in your available times. You can also use them for internal company bookings, that is not under dispute. However, they are also significantly more customisable for client appointment needs, resource management, accepting payments, and dozens more features that make running a service business much more straightforward to manage.

Meeting schedulers are more broadly helpful because you can use them for any meeting. Internal, external, or for clients. These apps do precisely what they say. They help you schedule meetings.

Some service businesses (and any other enterprise that requires booking an appointment) require additional resources to provide their services. Others, such as consultants and advisors, do not. At the same time, some businesses may offer consultations and appraisals for free because they charge for a final product – kitchen designers, decorators etc.

Internal company meetings rarely require the need to accept payment, nor do they usually require detailed reporting or effective resource management.

Some businesses straddle the fence. They have both significant internal meeting requirements and the need for client meetings and appointments. 

The key thing to understand is that meeting schedulers are primarily used to book meetings. They have a few more features to make life easy; however, they lack some expansive and far-reaching features that appointment booking systems employ because the users simply don’t need them.

Our Top 6 Picks For Meeting Scheduler Apps

Doodle

Bringing Busy People and groups together at the best times.

Doodle is excellent for bringing groups of people together for their meetings. It was a rarity in the meeting business space because of the polling option; however, others are beginning to understand this niche in the market. You can invite a group of people to indicate their availability at selected different times. When everyone has responded with their availability, you can define the meeting time and send out your invites – also add to calendars.

The polling isn’t strictly for the meeting time; you can also poll food preferences, locations and more to get everything right. It could also be used for internal event organisations such as anniversary celebrations, Christmas parties and other meeting types.

NeedtoMeet

Find a time that works for everyone, a standalone meeting scheduler.

Another meeting scheduler that makes it easy to bring groups of people or even two individuals together for a meeting. 

Need to Meet is an inexpensive system that starts from $12/year/user rather than the most usual monthly subscriptions. There is free Standard use, but it limits the number of time slot options and invitees on the polling (4 and 4). However, you get a 14-day free trial that allows you access to the Premium subscription, so you know what you’re getting.

SimplyMeet.me

Free forever scheduling for individuals and comprehensive language and calendar integration.

Perfect for both internal client-facing meeting scheduling, this meeting scheduler allows you to synchronise up to 8 calendars per user. This allows for the integration of scheduling resource availability such as conference rooms and presentation software if necessary and cross-referencing other required attendees.

The free-forever package allows individuals just starting their own business to synchronise up to 3 calendars and 500 meetings per month. Suppose you need to integrate many people into a team or simply want more features for your meeting scheduling. In that case, it is €9.99/month/user with round-robin scheduling, removable branding, and organisation management for up to 30 people.

This is one of the few meeting schedulers with a wide range of calendar integrations, including Outlook, Google, Zoho, Zimbra, NextCloud, and CalDav compatibility.

ScheduleOnce

Scheduling professional services and sales teams with excellent lead engagement.

As a part of OnceHub, ScheduleOnce is an excellent tool for professional services and lead engagement for sales teams. It lets you create multiple meeting types -the default is 15, 30, and 60-minute intervals – and share a link that clients use to arrange a meeting with you.
You can integrate with Outlook (365 and Exchange), Google and iCloud calendars.

For up to 25 users, ScheduleOnce is free with unlimited meeting and event types, pooled team availability, video conference availability, and more. Beyond 25 users, it’s $10/user/month.

Calendly

An all-round scheduling tool for personal and professional use with clients and colleagues.

The Calendly booking platform integrates with Office 365 and Google calendars, enabling you to define your availability for specific meetings. You can create a personalised URL with which clients and colleagues can check your availability and schedule an appointment with you.

Meeting slots are 15, 30 or 60 minutes in length, and you can create customised meeting types. It’s also possible to further customise each meeting type with intake questions particular to the meeting type. You can add document links for client and colleague-focused meetings for people to review beforehand.

Clara

A virtual scheduling employee that schedules meetings for you.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a virtual assistant take the meeting scheduling off your hands? Well, Clara does precisely that. Using machine learning and intelligence it can schedule meetings and learn about your booking patterns.

Clara understands natural language and human commands and requests like some of the best live chatbots.

During the signup process, you indicate your availability and location. If you cc Clara’s email address when someone requests an appointment, the tool will define all the relevant meeting details. This includes time, duration, location, and the participants.

Choosing a Meeting Scheduler for Your Needs

Our top picks include examples of meeting schedulers with specifications to fit every business with the need to schedule meetings. Your meetings might be between colleagues. You might be a solopreneur who needs to schedule appointments with clients, but you only have your own calendar to organise. Alternatively, you might have a large or growing company with increasing demands for interdepartmental meeting organisation. Or maybe you are a small startup navigating every position between a small team, and it’s challenging to set times when you can all get together.

When you choose your meeting scheduler, there are a few things you might want to think about:

  • Who will be booking meetings? Clients, Colleagues or Both?
  • How many people need to be in the loop? Large meetings or small?
  • Do you have other resources to manage as well as meetings?
  • Which calendars do you use? Can you integrate with a particular meeting scheduler?
  • What is your budget?
  • What additional features do you need to make it work for you? If any at all.
  • Do you need remote meeting functionality and video calling integration?
  • Which other systems do you need to integrate?
  • Do you need to accept payments for your meetings?
  • Do you need it to scale with your business development?

How to Choose the Right One?

Meeting schedulers can differ in features, design, and target users. Before you commit to one and perhaps realise it’s not for you, I recommend exploring a shortlist of 3-4 that seem the best fits for you (on paper, at least). Trial them concurrently and determine which actually fits your needs best compared to your other nominees.

Scheduling meetings via traditional methods is tedious and unnecessary. Alternatively, finding a meeting scheduler that works silently and seamlessly as part of your business processes is

Like smartphones and online shopping, meeting schedulers have evolved from a nice-to-have luxury to a requirement in productive people’s lives and businesses. As you explore the available options, consider your brand and the tools that have worked well and that you still need. Find a meeting scheduler that works well with the business and environment you have built, and that will take you forward.

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