Want to cut down on unnecessary repetitive work for your organization? Here’s a calendar management tactic designed to do just that.

See if this scenario describes an organization you know. The boss calls a meeting and lets everyone know by sending an email. Now, 50 people read that email and make 50 entries on 50 individual calendars.

The next day, the boss realizes the time needs to be changed by 15 minutes. So, he sends 50 people an email. And now 50 people must make 50 changes to 50 calendars.

A day later, the boss decides there are a few documents everyone needs to have at hand during the meeting. He sends 50 emails and 50 people try to figure out how they are going to make sure they have those documents handy.

Stop the madness! There’s an easier and better way. Many of you have been doing it the right way for a while. But many people are “partying like it’s 1999.” Email best practice has progressed greatly since then.

Calendar Invitations

If you’re calling a meeting, just put it on your own calendar.

You’re thinking, “That’s all well and good, but how’s everyone else going to know about this meeting?”

In Gmail, look for “Add Guests” on the right-hand side of the box.  Add email addresses there just as you would have added them in the “to” line of the email.  In Outlook, look for the “Invite Attendees” button at the top of the box.

Do you have everyone as a “group” in your email contacts? If so, you’re going to see that same group show up as an option when sending a meeting invitation.

Sure, 50 people get 50 emails, but all they do is click “Yes.” Now, that meeting is automatically on 50 calendars. In fact, it’s there before they click yes, as a little open circle, and when they click “yes,” the circle is filled in.

So now, you realize you have to change the time. Change it on your own calendar and save it. Simple, right?

In Gmail, a box appears asking if you want to update the guests on the change. You even have a space where you can write a comment. In Outlook, click the “Send Update” button.

Fifty people get an email about the change, but those 50 calendars are already updated. The change is made automatically to every person’s calendar!

Realize you need to give everyone an agenda? Perhaps you think of documents they will need. Put them in that event on your own calendar. Click to attach something from your Google Drive, for example. Everybody now has the material within that event on their own calendars.

Virtual meetings made easy

You can even make the event a Zoom Meeting or Google Meet meeting. If you have the link to the meeting in your own calendar event, all attendees will as well. Google Calendar is going to give you a button that creates a Google Meet link in one click.

For Zoom users, you can have a Zoom button in your Google Calendar event as well. Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for “Zoom Chrome Extension.” Now, you’ll have that Zoom button. With one click, you create the meeting link and it’s inserted into your event. All your guests will now have it as well.

And if someone says, “I missed the meeting yesterday. What did we do,” just say, “Look at your calendar.”  Within that event is the agenda, the attachments, and perhaps even the minutes following that meeting.

When you know better, you do better. So if you have been handling meetings the old-fashioned way, now you know a better way, and it’s a much easier way. Introduce calendar invitations in your organization today.

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