If you need to set up a dinner date with friends or a meeting with colleagues, the most difficult part of the chore has to be finding a day and time when everyone is free. The usual process is that you call one person, find out their schedule, then call another and see if the dates match up, and so on and so forth. It’s tiring, tedious and there has to be an easier way to do this.
Well, there is. Select The Date makes it so easy to set up an event that you’ll end up wondering how you could have ever done without it before.
Head to the site and you are first asked to sign up for an account, after which you can start creating a new event.
Step 1: Create Event
The first part of the process, of course, is keying in the details of what you want to do. From the drop-down list, choose the category of your meeting: Business, Restaurant, Drinks, Event, Sports, Trip, Flying, Boating; or leave it at Default.
Enter a title and location so that your recipients can quickly identify what the meeting is all about. The simpler it is, the better. You can also add a description if need be – a nifty tool to have to add your thoughts or annotate the event in any way you want.
The description box can be handy if you want to present choices, such as different restaurants to meet at, or destinations for trips.
Step 2: Suggest Dates
This is the meat of Select The Date. Instead of planning your schedule around others’, you get to simply tell people the date and time when you are available.
In the calendar presented to you, click any date to mark it as the Start Time for the window within which you want to have your meeting. Once it shows up in the Start Time, you an even customize the exact hours that you want to start it at.
And of course, you can then append an End Time for it too. So for example, if it’s a dinner date, you can schedule it between 19:00 and 22:00 for the same day, or even leave the calendar open for a larger window of a few days.
Select The Date also has the ability to add multiple dates, just in case you are free on a Friday and a Sunday but not on the Saturday in between.
Step 3: Invite
Now it’s time to send out the invitation to everyone whom you want at the meeting.
The first time you use Select The Date, you will be prompted to add each email address individually. There is no tool on the site to import your contact database, which would have helped matters tremendously. For now, after you key in each email, they will show up in a small pane at the right under the title ‘Invites’. Right under this, there’s an easy-to-miss option called ‘Save this group’. If it’s a group of friends whom you meet often, then this can be a major time-saver the next time you use this web app.
In fact, after the first time, Select The Date remembers all the contacts or groups you have invited in the past, and stores them all in a pane called ‘Your Contacts’. In Step 3, you can simply click on these contacts to add them or search through your contact database to find them quickly.
Step 4: Confirm!
Time to make sure what you have written so far is accurate before sending off the invitations. Once you have verified that, you have to select the ‘Answer Mode’, which is basically the type of response available to your invitees.
There are seven options here:
1) Standard (Yes, No, Rather not, Maybe)
2) No Maybe’s (Yes, No, Rather Not)
3) Yes/No Only
4) Everyone gets one vote (Yes/No only and each user can only pick one of the suggested dates)
5) One participant per date (Yes/No only and each date can be chosen by only one person; ideal if you are setting up a schedule for people to follow)
6) Show remark field (Yes/No only. The remark field is similar to the ‘Description box’ available to you in setting up the event. This is where your invitees can leave any comments they have. Ideally, we would suggest leaving this box ticked, but in case you don’t want any conversation about the choices, uncheck it to hide the remark field)
7) Hidden poll (Yes/No only. The participants will not be able to see who the other invitees are. There will also be no additional information regarding the availability of the other invitees.)
Send out the invitation and wait for your participant to respond
Step 5: Responses
Your participants can indicate their availability based on the choices you have given them, and if it isn’t a hidden poll, they can also send a message to all the other invitees.
There is one problem here though. We found that if the participants aren’t registered on Select The Date, there is a bug in registering their answer — sometimes, it doesn’t show up at all. It’s advisable to note in the remarks that all participants should create a Select The Date account for themselves to ensure the service works well.
Also, if any of your invitees hasn’t replied, you have an option to remind them with a click of a button.
And of course, you can send out more invitations at any point or edit the event itself.
Once everyone has indicated their availability and preference, you can set the Final Date, which will be sent out as an email to everyone invited. Now wasn’t that so much easier than making a thousand stressful phone calls to coordinate everyone’s schedule?