How Microsoft Calendar can organize club and group activities

This story originally appeared on Calendar

Microsoft Calendar is a popular program for personal online calendars for several reasons: Its customization options. Here’s how to organize club and group activities — not only can you maintain your own schedule, but you can also freely interact with other people to plan group events. The program is simple and detailed so that you are not scattered across multiple lines of communication. It’s easy enough for events of any size, from casual lunches with friends to public gatherings.

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How your calendar can organize club and group activities

1. Sharing availability for your club and group activities

The worst part of planning an event with busy people is fitting in a time that works for everyone. The more people you involve, the more complicated it will be. You can refine this process by asking everyone share their personal Microsoft calendars, which is easy on the main page. Just ask them to click “Share” and you can analyze everyone’s schedule to identify free hours across the board.

2. Creating Collaborative Calendars

For larger organizations, it may be better to create a collaboration calendar on a single event. This way, you won’t have to spend time creating and sharing large-scale events individually – people can check out themselves. The ability to verify each other also means multiple people in your organization can moderate the shared calendar. A collaborative calendar strengthens the line of communication so that events can be seen with little effort on the part of the host.

3. Configuring group events

Although personal events are only visible to you, you can create and share group events with potential attendees. As the event host, you have full control over the details and listing. You can prevent or allow attendees to share them directly based on event exclusivity and change them for everyone. Other people can also be added as hosts if you are not the only moderator.

4. Create recurring events

Once an event is created, it will by default have the option to never repeat. But you can easily set it to repeat after any time increment with just a few clicks. Setting your calendar to repeat is perfect for recurring events like check-in meetings or book club discussions. Each time it repeats, the event will have the same settings which you can keep or change depending on the situation.

5. Differentiate types of events

You can specify the purpose of an event in the title, but the more events there are, the harder it is to tell them apart visually. Microsoft Calendar provides two primary methods of categorization: event symbols and colored tags. Symbols and colors make it much clearer to some if, for example, your organization has multiple meetings for different purposes. A problem-solving session, for example, can be marked in red with a wrench, a celebration in purple with a cake, etc.

6. Include relevant resources

Many events will involve online resources needed to prepare or engage with them. Perhaps your organization has an article or document that is relevant to the meeting that you would like to share. You can do this directly in the event description next to the text by selecting one of the symbols below. Choose the image or other attachment option and post your information as quickly as entering said description.

7. Arrange video calls in the app

Microsoft acquired the Skype video calling service in 2011. Since then, the company has gone to great lengths to integrate it as smoothly as possible into its ecosystem. Microsoft Calendar is no exception – each event has a dedicated “Skype meeting” switch to help you set it up. You can click “Meet Now” on the main calendar page to start a Skype meeting immediately.

8. Notify attendees of your club and group activities

A shared event involves each host or participant in their activity logs to keep them up to date. Whenever you change the event or have more information to share, the list can be notified manually or automatically. Person-specific notifications can be sent (independent of the entire list), so no one is overwhelmed with unnecessary alerts. It’s quite easy to keep everyone up to date with the information they need for their duties.

9. Receive responses

People who see your event can, if they wish, respond to you to let you know their availability by tagging it directly. Not only is it possible to label themselves as available or not available, but attendees can send a detailed response. This option is always present, but if you need this information, you can set the event to request a response. This status and the resulting reactions are not set in stone and can be changed at any time for more flexibility.

10. Using the Scheduling Assistant and Room Finder

Microsoft Calendar has a few notable features to streamline this scheduling, two of which are the Scheduling Assistant and Room Finder. These features are only available if you are part of a physical organization that has set them up. The Room Finder will automatically search for room availability in the building based on the organization’s schedule and room usage. The planning assistant can go even further by finding a room and a time that suits the schedules of all participants.

11. Meeting everyone’s needs

If someone can’t attend an event but wants to, your calendar can still meet their needs. In addition to marking their availability, attendees can also suggest new meeting times if they cannot attend. Marking your availability makes scheduling a group effort so everyone can fit in. Combined with the scheduling assistant, you really can’t go wrong.

Next time you’re in charge of planning an event, your calendar tools will do the trick. most work for you. You can set it up in just sixty seconds, whether you’re an experienced planner or not. There’s no better way to bring people together.

Image Credit: by Andrea Piacquadio; pexels; Thanks!

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