Meetings are the worst, right? The back-and-forth scheduling, prep time and follow-up are often more trouble than they’re worth. At least they used to be. Luckily, simple and free online tools can transform the way you think about meetings and give you hours of your life back every week.
Here’s a look at three meeting tools no entrepreneur should be without:
Assistant.to for Scheduling
Assistant.to is your personal scheduling assistant. This awesome email plugin schedule in seconds all within email. No more back and forth. No double bookings. It connects to your calendar to find openings in your schedule. Individual links to open time slots can be inserted directly into your email. Once the recipient chooses a time slot, both parties are instantly sent meeting requests. The only drawback is Assistant.to can only schedule meetings between two parties to-date, but that’s hardly a reason not to use it.
Charlie, the Pre-Meeting Cyber Sleuth
Charlie is awesome. Charlie combs through 100s of sources and automatically sends you a one-
pager on everyone you’re going to meet with, before you see them. Before installing it, I would spent time before every meeting Googling other attendees. Even when I was meeting with people I knew, I would spend a few minutes combing Newsle or social pages to see if they (or their companies) had been featured in recent news stories. Charlie does all of this and more, preparing a very comprehensive tip sheet for everyone in your calendar and it emails you the results in approximately 90 minutes prior to each meeting.
This genius app gives you the confidence to go into every appointment feeling up-to-date and prepared. Charlie even looks through social likes to tell you what interests you have in common with people you’re meeting. There’s also a great dashboard that saves all of your briefings so you can reference them in the future.
Less Meeting for Follow-ups
Less Meeting is a meeting productivity tool that allows users to set agendas, share meeting notes and manage to-dos all in one convenient location. The free mobile app syncs with your calendar and automatically creates a hub for each meeting. You can effortlessly take notes, record audio and schedule to-dos for each attendee.
After meetings, you can send all of those things to other people in the meeting with the tap of a button. It’s also a great way to make notes and reminders for yourself — think of it as an Evernote just for your meetings. If you have more robust needs, like project management or ongoing task management tracking, you can upgrade to a desktop version that offers team sharing and other cool features.
The trifecta of Assistant.to, Charlie and Less Meeting has made me think of meetings in a completely different light. These tools save me time so I can actually implement all of the great follow-ups and ideas that come out of these same meetings.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Brittany Hodak is the co-founder of ZinePak, a custom publication company that creates fan packages for entertainers, brands, and athletes. She holds an M.S. in Marketing from CUNY Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business and a B.A in Public Relations from the University of Central Arkansas. In 2010, she was named to Billboard’s 30 Under 30 List. More recently, she and her co-founder Kim Kaupe were named to Advertising Age’s 2013 40 Under 40 List. A version of this article appeared on the WeWork blog. Connect with @brittanyhodak on Twitter.
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