Meeting Planner: The Essential Tool for Planning Your Next Meeting

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Meeting

Planning a successful meeting is much more than simply setting a date and hoping everyone can attend. It’s about strategic preparation, efficient coordination, thoughtful agenda-setting, and ensuring that each participant walks away with a clear understanding of their action items. In this blog, we will delve into the essential tools needed to plan your next meeting effectively. 

Whether it’s a corporate board meeting or a creative brainstorming session, these tools can streamline the planning process, foster better communication, and ensure that your meetings are productive, efficient, and goal-oriented. Let’s delve into the intricacies of meeting planning and the tools that can propel your efforts to new heights.

What is Meeting Management Software?

Meeting management software is a digital tool designed to streamline the process of planning, executing, and reviewing meetings. This innovative technology enables users to schedule meetings, coordinate with participants, set agendas, and track action items effectively. Meeting management software also allows users to record minutes, share documents, and send automated reminders for follow-up tasks. 

Some platforms even offer features like video conferencing and real-time collaboration on documents. With a multitude of meeting management platforms available, users can choose a solution that best fits their specific needs. From platforms tailored for small businesses to those designed for large corporations, the variety ensures that organisations of all sizes and types can benefit from enhanced meeting organisation and coordination.

7 Reasons to Use a Meeting Planning Tool

Before we delve into the specific reasons to use a meeting planning tool, it’s essential to understand the overall benefits such a tool brings to your professional life. Meeting planning tools are much more than just schedulers; they are comprehensive platforms that manage all the complexities and details of meetings, saving you time and stress. 

They are designed to streamline communication, improve organisation, and enhance productivity, ultimately leading to more effective and successful meetings. Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to juggle multiple tasks or a project manager coordinating a large team, a meeting planning tool can revolutionize the way you conduct meetings.

Staying on Time

One of the key features of a robust meeting planning tool is its ability to manage time zones. With team members and stakeholders potentially spread across different locations, coordinating a meeting that suits everyone’s schedule can be a daunting task. Meeting planning tools take into consideration the different time zones of all the participants, enabling you to schedule a meeting at a time that is most convenient for everyone. 

These tools also provide automated reminders to ensure that everyone gets to the meeting on time. This way, no valuable time is wasted, and your meeting can commence and conclude as planned, enhancing the productivity and efficacy of the meeting.

Creating an Agenda

Creating an agenda is a pivotal step in ensuring the success of a meeting. A well-structured agenda serves as a roadmap for the meeting, outlining key discussion points, and keeping the conversation focused and productive. Meeting planning tools often offer features for easy agenda creation, allowing organisers to define the purpose and goals of the meeting. Users can list out topics to be discussed, assign time slots for each item, and designate speakers or leaders for each topic. 

Additionally, a good meeting planning tool allows for collaborative agenda setting, enabling team members to contribute to the agenda and add their points. This not only promotes team engagement but also ensures all relevant topics are covered. The agenda can be shared in advance with all participants, providing them an opportunity to prepare, thereby making the meeting more effective and efficient.

Easy Task Distribution

One of the most important aspects of a meeting is the assignment and distribution of tasks. This is where a meeting planning tool comes into its own. With a meeting planning tool, you can assign tasks to individuals directly during the meeting and set deadlines for completion. The tool ensures that each member is aware of their responsibilities and the expectations attached to them. 

Please note, that this can help reduce confusion, promote accountability, and increase productivity significantly. Furthermore, these tools allow for simple tracking of task completion, enabling managers to monitor progress and ensure the objectives of the meeting are being fulfilled. This seamless process not only ensures tasks are distributed evenly but also that they are completed on time, leading to more efficient and effective meetings.

Meeting Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is crucial in any professional setting, and meeting planning tools can significantly aid in this endeavour. These tools allow organisers to set specific deadlines for each task assigned during the meeting, helping to keep team members on track and ensuring the timely completion of tasks. Additionally, reminders and notifications can be set, keeping all parties informed of impending deadlines and promoting a sense of urgency. 

This not only helps in maintaining the momentum post-meeting but also contributes to meeting the objectives in a timely manner. Furthermore, the ability to track the progress of tasks allows for timely interventions when necessary, ensuring that deadlines are met and the meeting’s goals are achieved. This feature of meeting planning tools is particularly beneficial in larger projects where multiple tasks and people are involved, facilitating the smooth running of operations and enhancing overall productivity.

Facilitating Feedback

Facilitating feedback is another essential function of a meeting planning tool. The ability to gather and analyse feedback is crucial for the continuous improvement of meetings and overall organisational effectiveness. These tools provide easy-to-use feedback forms that can be sent to participants post-meeting, allowing them to voice their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions concerning the meeting. 

This constructive feedback can be used to pinpoint areas of improvement, enabling organisers to make necessary adjustments for future meetings. It also encourages a culture of open communication within the team, promoting a more engaged and collaborative environment. Additionally, some tools offer analytics capabilities, providing insights into meeting effectiveness based on the collected feedback, thus empowering organisers to continually improve the meeting process.

Keeping Notes

Maintaining comprehensive meeting notes is crucial in preserving the context and outcomes of the discussion, and this is another area where meeting planning tools show their strength. These tools offer an integrated platform to jot down important points, decisions taken, and tasks assigned, during the meeting. This eliminates the need for manual note-taking and the risk of losing or misplacing them. Participants can easily access these notes, ensuring they stay informed and aligned with the meeting’s objectives. 

Some tools also provide the feature of distributing these notes automatically after the meeting, ensuring everyone is on the same page. This is particularly beneficial in enabling you and your team to find the best times for follow-up meetings or conference calls, as all the relevant information is readily available and easy to reference. By facilitating clearer communication and transparency, the note-keeping feature of meeting planning tools contributes significantly to the overall effectiveness and productivity of meetings.

Easier Internal Communication

Easier Internal Communication is another undeniable advantage of using meeting planning tools. These tools can serve as a centralised communication platform where all meeting-related discussions can occur, ensuring that every participant is aware of updates or changes. The ability to send real-time messages can greatly enhance the collaborative efforts of a team, allowing for immediate feedback and clarification on tasks or topics. 

Furthermore, these tools can also facilitate communication between meetings, ensuring continuous progress and engagement. Whether it’s through direct messaging, group chats, or threaded discussions, an efficient internal communication system can greatly improve workflow, leading to more productive meetings and ultimately, a more cohesive team.

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Benefits of Meeting Management Software Planners

Paperless Meetings

Shifting towards paperless meetings is one of the notable benefits of using meeting management software planners. The traditional method of printing agendas, minutes, reports, and other relevant documents creates a substantial amount of paper waste. 

However, by leveraging these digital tools, all necessary materials can be shared electronically, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly workspace. Furthermore, digital materials are easier to organise and access, removing the risks of losing or misplacing crucial documents. Paperless meetings not only enhance efficiency and accessibility but also promote a culture of environmental responsibility among team members.

Increased Security

Increased security is another compelling benefit of using meeting management software planners. These platforms typically come with advanced security features that protect sensitive data and information shared during meetings. All documents, notes, and communication can be securely stored and accessed only by authorised individuals, ensuring that confidential information remains safe. 

Moreover, many of these platforms utilise encryption technology for added security, making it exceedingly difficult for unauthorised access or data breaches. This aspect of meeting management software planners provides peace of mind to organisations, allowing them to focus on the meeting’s objectives without worrying about potential security risks.

Improved Collaboration

Improved collaboration is a crucial benefit brought about by the use of meeting management software planners. These platforms facilitate shared workspaces where team members can collaborate in real-time, regardless of their geographical location. The ability to share ideas, documents, and updates instantly aids in enhancing the overall group synergy, ensuring everyone remains on the same page. 

With features like virtual whiteboards, document co-editing, and discussion threads, these tools enable the efficient collection and exchange of ideas, thereby fostering a more inclusive and productive meeting environment. This not only streamlines the decision-making process but also helps in identifying and harnessing the unique strengths of each team member, resulting in a more comprehensive approach towards meeting the set objectives.

Real-time Information Access

Real-time Information Access is a major advantage offered by meeting management software planners. With these tools, all relevant data and documents can be accessed instantly by team members, no matter where they are in the World. This eliminates the need for time-consuming email exchanges or manual document sharing, making the process significantly more efficient. 

Real-time information access can also lead to more informed decision-making, as all team members have immediate access to the latest updates and can contribute to discussions with up-to-date knowledge. This ultimately leads to a more effective, collaborative meeting environment, enhancing the productivity and effectiveness of the team.

Simplified Note-taking

Simplified Note-taking is an essential aspect of meeting management software planners. During meetings, it’s crucial to record important points, decisions made, and actions assigned for future reference. These digital platforms offer an integrated system for taking notes, saving time and reducing the possibility of missing essential details. 

They enable participants to focus more on the discussion rather than splitting their attention between listening and scribbling notes. Additionally, these notes can be shared in real-time or distributed after the meeting, ensuring every team member has access to the same information. This simplifies the process of tracking progress and makes follow-up tasks more manageable. In essence, simplified note-taking enhances the overall efficiency and effectiveness of meetings.

How Does Meeting Planner Software Work?

Meeting planner software operates on a cloud-based platform that allows users to schedule, manage, and evaluate meetings from any location with Internet access. The first step is to create a meeting using the software’s interface, where users can define the meeting’s purpose, agenda, time, and participants. Invitations are then sent to participants via email or in-app notifications.

The platform also allows users to book meeting rooms or additional resources such as projectors or conference lines, depending on the meeting’s needs. During the meeting, participants can collaborate in real-time, share screens, and documents, and use the note-taking feature to capture key points and decisions. The software also facilitates post-meeting activities like task assignments, meeting evaluation, and the circulation of meeting minutes.

Advanced versions of these meeting planner software include AI capabilities that can automatically schedule meetings based on participants’ availability, send reminders, and even transcribe meetings. Thus, meeting planner software streamlines the entire process of organising and conducting meetings, making it more efficient and productive.

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Common Meeting Planning Tools to Schedule and Plan Your Meetings

In today’s fast-paced and digitally connected world, efficient and effective meeting planning has become imperative for businesses. With remote work on the rise and teams scattered across multiple geographies, traditional methods of meeting planning are proving to be cumbersome and unproductive. Therefore, it is vital to leverage advanced tools and technologies to streamline this process. 

Meeting planner software is one such tool that has revolutionised the way meetings are planned and conducted. In this section, we will explore some common meeting planning tools that can help you schedule and organise your meetings more effectively, thereby significantly enhancing productivity and collaboration within your team.

Fellow

Fellow is a comprehensive meeting planner tool designed to optimise team meetings. It offers a seamless and collaborative platform for teams to share meeting agendas, record minutes, assign tasks, and follow up on action items. Fellow’s intuitive interface allows teams to easily plan and structure meetings, facilitating more productive and efficient discussions. 

The software also integrates with popular work tools such as Google Calendar, Outlook, and Slack, making it easier for teams to schedule meetings and collaborate. Furthermore, its AI capabilities provide valuable insights, helping teams continuously improve their meeting practices. Whether you’re coordinating a small team meeting or planning a large conference, Fellow could be an essential tool in your meeting planning toolkit.

nTask

nTask is another powerful meeting planner tool that boasts an array of features designed to enhance the efficiency of your meetings. Its robust scheduling function allows you to plan meetings, define agendas, and set meeting objectives. nTask takes the hassle out of finding a suitable time for all participants with its smart scheduling feature, as it considers everyone’s availability. 

This tool is equipped to handle more than just meetings: task management, project tracking, and issue management are all within its capabilities. Importantly, nTask also supports resource booking, assisting you in reserving additional equipment or rooms required for the meeting. With its intuitive interface and comprehensive features, nTask is built to support a collaborative and efficient meeting environment.

Cisco WebEx Meetings

Cisco WebEx Meetings is a globally recognised meeting planning tool that robustly caters to all your meeting needs. The software enables you to schedule and manage meetings effectively, allowing participants to join from any location. Its impressive suite of features includes HD video, voice conferencing, and a multi-layered security system. Cisco WebEx Meetings further stands out with its capacity to book additional resources required for meetings, such as rooms or technical equipment. 

Screen sharing and collaborative whiteboards allow for real-time sharing and discussion of ideas, fostering an environment of dynamic collaboration. With the added convenience of mobile apps, users can participate in meetings and access resources on the go. Cisco WebEx Meetings, with its comprehensive and user-friendly features, provides a holistic solution for meeting planning and execution.

GlobalMeet

GlobalMeet is a versatile meeting planner tool that is renowned for its high-quality audio and video conferencing solutions. This platform simplifies the meeting planning process by offering intuitive scheduling capabilities, integrated calendar support, and automated email invitations. Designed for global collaboration, GlobalMeet enables participants from around the world to join meetings with just one click, irrespective of their location. 

It facilitates real-time screen sharing and document collaboration, ensuring all participants stay engaged and informed. Moreover, GlobalMeet understands that every meeting may require additional resources, providing options to book needed equipment or rooms. Its robust mobile app allows users to manage and join meetings from anywhere around the World, truly embodying the essence of a mobile workforce. By providing comprehensive features in an easy-to-navigate package, GlobalMeet helps businesses conduct more efficient, productive, and collaborative meetings.

Meetin.gs

Meetin.gs is a widely utilised tool that simplifies the process of scheduling and conducting online meetings. Boasting a user-friendly interface, this software allows for the efficient organisation of meetings from the initial stage of sending out invites to attendees through to the follow-up stage. It integrates seamlessly with various calendar platforms, ensuring that everyone is aware of the meeting times and any changes. The online meetings that are conducted through Meetin.gs support HD video and high-quality audio, facilitating clear and effective communication among participants. 

The software also includes features for real-time screen sharing and collaborative editing of documents, fostering a productive and engaging meeting environment. Additionally, with its powerful mobile app, attendees can join the videoconference from anywhere, making it highly suited for remote teams. By streamlining the meeting organisation process and enhancing collaboration, Meetin.gs is a valuable addition to any team’s toolkit.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling tool developed by Google. This tool is widely used by individuals and businesses alike due to its high functionality and intuitive interface. Google Calendar allows you to create and edit events, add guests, set reminders and even attach documents needed for the meeting. The tool makes it easy to coordinate schedules and find meeting times that work for everyone by viewing availability side by side. 

One of the standout features of Google Calendar is the ability to create multiple calendars for different parts of your life or business and share them with others. This feature makes Google Calendar an excellent tool for teams, as it makes the collaboration process smoother and more efficient. Google Calendar integrates seamlessly with various other Google products like Gmail and Google Meet, facilitating a more comprehensive, interconnected organisational experience. In essence, Google Calendar is a robust and versatile tool that can significantly enhance the efficiency of your meeting planning process.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a widely accepted event management and ticketing platform that helps businesses promote, plan, and host events. It offers an all-encompassing event management system, providing tools for ticketing, promotion, and participant registration. Eventbrite’s intuitive interface allows you to personalise event pages, aiding in the creation of a distinctive and appealing brand image. 

One of the key features of Eventbrite is the local time converter, which ensures participants from different geographical locations can accurately keep track of the event timing. The platform also integrates smoothly with popular social media platforms for seamless promotion of events. Its mobile app allows participants to find, purchase tickets, and check in to events right from their smartphones, ensuring convenience. Eventbrite, with its comprehensive set of tools, makes managing large-scale events a hassle-free experience.

F.A.Q.s

What is the most important part of planning a meeting?

The most essential part of planning a meeting revolves around clearly defining its purpose. A well-articulated goal ensures that all participants understand their roles and contributions, which in turn drives the meeting’s productivity. Additionally, selecting a suitable meeting tool is of paramount importance. 

The right software, which could range from Cisco WebEx Meetings to Google Calendar, aids in efficient scheduling and execution while providing necessary features such as audio-video conferencing, screen sharing, and collaborative document editing. This ensures a more streamlined and effective meeting experience. Lastly, the organisation of additional resources, if needed (such as rooms or equipment), and the provision of accurate meeting details to all attendees play a significant role in proficient meeting planning.

Is there a free meeting scheduler?

Yes, there are several free meeting schedulers available, each with its unique set of features. One example is Google Calendar, a highly intuitive and accessible tool that allows for efficient scheduling, reminder setting, and seamless integration with other Google services. Another popular option is Doodle, which offers a simple and straightforward interface for scheduling meetings or polls. 

These free tools, while offering basic functionalities, may require a premium subscription for more advanced features such as unlimited participants or extended meeting durations. It’s important to evaluate the specific needs of your team or business when choosing a suitable meeting scheduler.

How do you make a meeting planner?

Making a meeting planner involves a few key steps:

  1. Define the Purpose: Identify the objectives of the meeting. This will provide a clear direction for the meeting and help determine who needs to attend.
  2. Identify Attendees: Decide who needs to attend the meeting to achieve the meeting’s objectives.
  3. Choose a Date and Time: Select a suitable date and time for the meeting, considering the current availability of the attendees.
  4. Select a Location or Platform: Depending on the nature of your meeting, you might need a physical location or a digital platform.
  5. Prepare an Agenda: Outline the topics to be discussed during the meeting. This will help keep the meeting focused and efficient.
  6. Send Invitations: Use a service like Google Calendar or Meetin.gs to send out invitations to attendees. Include the date, time, location, and meeting agenda in the invitation.
  7. Prepare Materials: Organise any materials or information that will be required for the meeting. 
  8. Conduct the Meeting: Ensure the meeting stays on track and follows the agenda.
  9. Follow up: After the meeting, send out a summary of what was discussed, any decisions that were made, and any next steps that need to be taken.

By following these steps, you can create an effective meeting planner that helps ensure your meetings are productive and efficient.