May 28, 2015 by Beth
Back in 2009, I was working at the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. The role of an effective chamber involves a whole lot of getting “the right people in the right seats on the right bus… going in the right direction,” as my CEO used to say.
In layman’s terms, that meant a whole lot of pulling in people from all different sectors of the community – corporations and retail giants, mom and pop shop owners, nonprofits, healthcare, education – to participate in committee meetings, board meetings, community strategy sessions and the like. In other words: lots of time balancing calendars.
One day when I had nearly reached the end of my rope, I discovered Timebridge – a seamless solution that would allow a meeting organizer (moi) to easily propose five different meeting times to a multitude of people and easily find the time when the majority could attend.
Scheduling meetings should be a breeze. Timebridge helps meeting organizers insist that be the case.
I was elated to find Timebridge, because it immediately eliminated two of my pet peeves:
- Dozens of “reply all” messages filling inboxes, causing prospective attendees to not want to attend altogether, and
- Countless personal preferences outlining individual conflicts, vacations and basketball games and diluting the importance of the meeting.
From a personal get together with friends to a professional meeting, it’s all the same at the end of the day: either you can attend/wish to attend or you cannot attend/do not wish to attend… right?
So, selfishly I was delighted that a tool existed to cut down on all the back and forth. In my opinion, Timebridge was built brilliantly based on two major factors:
- Membership and logging in are not required by meeting invitees.
- Responses are streamlined so that the meeting organizer can see quickly and easily the best option for the meeting.
Saved through a bookmark in my browser, I could easily grab a handful of meeting times and propose them to attendees:
In short: meeting organizer bliss. Their basic pitch (“Always herding cats?”) appealed to me from the outset, and I always felt as though I was doing a small favor to others by using Timebridge and ensuring their inbox would not be filled with everyone’s special requests. Attendees receive a simple email, click the link and click to share availability – less than 30 seconds for both the organizer and the attendee on both ends.
The reasons above would have been enough for me to keep using (and enthusiastically recommending) Timebridge through the years… as recently as this week. However, there have always been plenty of layers of icing on the Timebridge cake:
- Timebridge provides dedicated conference call information (i.e. a phone number and access code) to every user. By simply saving my conference call information to my phone, I could set up conference calls on a whim without the software/scheduling component or call-in without digging for a changing phone number and code.
- Add agendas, attachments and even phone numbers if attendees would like text meeting reminders or cancellations.
- Sync with Outlook, Google or iCal to view your existing calendar commitments within Timebridge while scheduling.
- Timebridge will babysit attendees and prompt them to respond if they have not replied with their availability.
With all that said, after recommending Timebridge to a peer just this week and attempting to answer her questions about free vs premium versions and how it works, I grew a little anxious that six years after I fell in love, Timebridge could be cued up for the axe. A little digging around on the blog and Twitter feed had my concerns worked up to a fever pitch, so I shot off an email to support… particularly since I was thinking about sharing a mention of Timebridge on my occasional Shiny Objects series on the Magpie Marketing blog, as well as recommending it at an upcoming crowdsourcing event on communication tools and tactics for the NWA chapter of PRSA. Mere minutes went by before I had exactly the answer I hoped for:
Read more here: Timebridge is getting some badly needed love.
It should be noted that Timebridge is not a replacement for your calendar, and I’m sure many people are hesitant to try yet another tool. I know this: using Timebridge for less than a minute three times a week to schedule group meetings is beyond worth the value of keeping inboxes free of the dreaded reply all.
You should feel perfectly comfortable trying out Timebridge in its current iteration – it’s worked swimmingly for me for years. Jeff tells me the new version will be coming online in June, so you won’t have long to wait for what I know will be a top-notch upgrade.
Jump on in, the water’s fine. I’d love to hear what you think!