Scheduling meetings using Microsoft Bookings and Cortana

1,5 year later since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Who expected that we would still be working, most of the time, from home? But it looks like it is all coming to an end! 🙂 Hope everyone is doing okay, and all are healthy!

Scheduling meetings was always challenging for me, especially when trying to schedule a meeting with more than five people. But in the time of “Working from home” I can imagine that other people see this as a challenge as well.

Once, I was in an email loop that took approx. 20 “Ping-Pong” emails before the meeting was booked.

How do I deal with it?

There are 2 tools that I’m using, depending on the needs. When I need to plan a meeting with some people, “Cortana / Scheduler” is the tool I use. When I need to let someone know when I have the time to meet, “Microsoft Bookings” is my way to go.

Cortana / Scheduler:

I’m using Cortana already some years now, this to help me setting up meetings. Cortana is my “Virtual Assistant” when it comes to finding time and scheduling my Teams calls. I just send out an email and include Cortana asking to find some time, see below an example:

Cortana Scheduler email example

Cortana will then check with the other persons if they have time. If the person is in the same company, Cortana will use the “Free/Busy” option and book a time that is still listed as “Available” without asking for approval. When the person is external, it will always give some options (see example below)

Cortana Scheduler reply

The person can reply and let Cortana know if any of the date/times can be scheduled, or when Cortana needs to suggest another date/time.

It saves me on average 10/20 min a week, but this is because I’m not scheduling meetings very often, but I do join them 🙂

This brings me to the next tool I’m using in managing meetings 🙂

Microsoft Bookings:

I often get the question like “When do you have time for a call?”. Instead of replying with some options, as this can cause a lot of going back and forward when the options don’t align with the other persons calendar, I’m sending them a link to my Microsoft Booking page. From there they can check my availability, as this is synced with my calendar, and book a timeslot that works for them.

Microsoft Bookings page

And yes, when in the same organization you could use the “Free/Busy” option in Outlook Scheduling. But this will not work when the person is external.

How to get it?

Interested to use Cortana or Bookings yourself? Below the links to them, where the link for Cortana contains an invite code as well (as it is still in preview, for 2,5 years…)

Cortana: https://calendar.help/?c=MeTimeN1
Bookings: https://outlook.office.com/bookings/homepage
(Please be aware that Booking/Cortana needs to be part of your license and should be activated in your tenant.)

Is this something you will use? Or are you already using it? Or maybe you are using other tools to schedule meetings.

Let me know in the comments below!

For now, 
Thanks for reading! 

Kind regards and Stay Healthy, 
Mitchell Bakker

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