I’m trying to plan a meeting but it seems not everybody liked the day that I picked orignally. I’ve now got several alternatives and I would like people to vote on the meeting days and times that are available and then pick the one with the most votes.
Is there any way I can create a “vote for meeting” invitation in Outlook?
You can create a custom voting email in Outlook which contains all the options that are available. However, there are 2 major downsides to this method;
- Every recipient should be using Outlook for voting to work.
- They can only pick 1 option, even when they are perfectly fine with additional options as well.
I have not found a good way in Outlook to allow the recipients to easily select a date of choice without needing to do a whole lot of manual work or use additional applications. Most often it is not worth to do a lot of extra work for it anyway or you might as well could have manually processed all their wishes and select a date yourself based on that feedback.
Date voting website
While I don’t have a good Outlook workaround this time, I do know of a great website which is quite popular in The Netherlands and is called datumprikker.nl. Don’t worry about the Dutch name; the site can be set completely in English as well. In 4 easy steps you can send out your invitation with multiple dates and people can vote on their preferences. The website will then automatically calculate availability percentages based on their responses so all you have to do is pick the date which has then highest rate of availability. The responses are calculated in the following way;
- ‘yes’ counts as 100%
- ‘rather not’ counts as 50%
- ‘unknown’ counts as 25%
- ‘no’ counts as 0%
Modifying, canceling, adding participants, etc… it is all possible from the website itself. You can also create groups to easily select the participants.
Pick a date fast and easy! (click for full image)
Note 1: The closest I got by using native Office functionality was by using the Access Data Collection function, which was introduced in Office 2007. This will require you to have Access installed on your computer but recipients do not need it. You can then collect their multiple answers and process it in Access accordingly (for instance by assigning 10 points for a “Yes”, 5 points for a “Maybe” and 0 points for a “No”).
Note 2: If you are using a previous version of Office, you can use this Easy Survey add-in from MAPILab as well (if you decide to order, use 4PM76A8 to get a discount). This will allow you to send out a survey and record the responses in Access. Participants do not need to have Outlook or Access installed for this to work.
Note 3: An alternative for datumprikker.nl is NeedtoMeet. This website offers you not as much functionality at the moment though and only allows Yes/No answers. Considering it is a startup, I’ll expect more features to be added over time.