July 5, 2011

The Next Meeting Tango...

You're at the end of a long meeting. Significant issues have been discussed, weighed, and finally decided. Then the next-meeting tango begins. Out come the Blackberries, iPhones, Droids, and the seriously un-flashy, but always reliable paper calendars.

Tuesday at 4 pm. Thursday at noon.
Dentist, Council.
Friday at nine. Sunday at seven.
Vacation. Church.

I've been in some gatherings where this four-beat tango takes nearly as long as the original meeting.

Well, there's a new dance partner on the floor. A free service called Doodle is asking to cut in.
Doodle allows virtual meeting scheduling that even those with paper calendars can figure out. It's a free service, and it doesn't require registration or pesky passwords.

Go to the website. Enter a variety of dates, then send an e-mail to the participants. They select the dates that they can attend, and then you review the information and pick a time when most people can participate (or, you can pick a time when the long-talker can't participate. That's your call.) Then dash off a final e-mail with the selected date, time and location of the meeting.
This nifty scheduler gives people a chance to consult their calendars without spending 20 minutes of back-and-forth negotiations. It's a great tool for congregations and various committees and commissions.

What other meeting tools have you discovered? Share with us some good tools to make your meetings more efficient and effective.