If you’ve ever had to schedule a meeting by emailing participants, asking them what times would suit them to attend, and then, waiting for all their feedback, finding their returned emails in your inbox, and finally analyzing their responses and arriving at a time that suits everyone, you know that there must be a better way!
There are–numerous ones. There are, for instance, free online services which do this quite well, like Doodle, and Meeting Wizard. However, if you don’t want to open an account at yet another website, and you already have a Gmail account, you can use Google Forma instead. Here’s how:
When you’re logged into your Gmail inbox, click on the blue “Documents” link at the top of the page. Then, click on “Create New” at the top left hand. Then, select “Form”. This will open various choices for creating a form which you can email to whoever you wish and get their feedback automatically.
In the box that says “Untitled form” you might type in: “meeting times that suit your schedule.;” Then, in the window just below that type a brief description of the purpose of the meeting, and ask the reader to check the boxes beside the times that suit his/her schedule.
Under the Question Type window, select “checkboxes”. This opens lines for you to type in the time choices. In the Help Test window just above these, type in “Please check all those times that suit your schedule.”
Finally, put a check mark in each check box beside a choice window. Then, at the bottom, check the “Make this a required question” (because you want feedback on all the time options).
When you’ve completed the above steps click on the “email this form” button at the top right of the page and fill in the email addresses of all the persons to whom you want to send the form. If you happen to have a Google Group already configured you can just put the address of that group in the blank. That will send the form to every person in the Google Group.
Now that you have sent the form, each recipient will receive an email message with the form in it. They can fill out the form in that email and then click on the “submit” button at the bottom. Alternatively, they can visit the url of the form, which also appears in their email, and fill out the form online, and then click the “submit” button.
When a responder clicks the “submit” button this sends their responses to a spreadsheet. The creator of the form receives an email with a link to that spreadsheet. As the respondents fill out the form, their data automatically gets entered into that spreadsheet. So, as the creator, you can see who has responded and who hasn’t, and you can very quickly analyze which dates would be most suitable for your meeting.
No chasing down emails in your inbox! Automatic data entry into a summary sheet! This is cool!
You will now see at the bottom of the page a link to the form you have created. Click on that link to visit the page. If the form is as you wish it. Click the “submit” button.