This story originally appeared on Calendar

Microsoft Calendar is a popular program for personal online calendars for a few reasons: its customization options. Here’s how to organize club and group activities — not only can you maintain your own calendar, but you can also freely interact with others to plan group events. The program is straightforward and detailed so that you aren’t spread thin across multiple lines of communication. It’s pretty easy for any sized event, from casual lunches with friends to town hall meetings.



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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 have involved, the more complicated this will be. You can refine this process by having everyone share their personal Microsoft Calendars, which is easy on the main page. Just have them click “Share,” and you can scan everyone’s schedule to identify times that are free across the board.

2. Creating Collaborative Calendars

For larger organizations, it may be preferable to create a collaborative calendar over a single event. This way, you won’t have to spend time making and sharing large-scale events individually — people can check themselves. The ability to check oneself also means that multiple people in your organization can moderate the shared calendar. A collaborative calendar strengthens the line of communication so events can be seen with little effort from the host.

3. Setting Up Group Events

While personal events are only visible to you, you can create and share group events with any potential attendees. As the event host, you have complete control over the details and roster. You can prevent or allow attendees from directly sharing them depending on the event’s exclusivity and edit them for everyone. More people can also be added as hosts if you aren’t the singular moderator.

4. Creating Recurring Events

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

5. Differentiating Event Types

You can specify an event’s purpose in the title, but more events make it harder to differentiate them visually. Microsoft Calendar provides two up-front methods of categorization — event symbols and colored tags. The symbols and colors make it a lot clearer for some if, say, your organization has multiple meetings for different purposes. A problem-solving session, for example, can be marked red with a wrench, a celebration purple with a cake, etc.

6. Including Relevant Resources

Many events will involve online resources needed to prepare or engage with them. Maybe your organization has an article or document that is relevant to the meeting and that you’d like to share. You can do so right in the event’s description alongside the text by selecting one of the symbols below it. Choose the image or other attachment option and post your info just as quickly as typing said description.

7. Arranging Video Calls In-App

Microsoft acquired the Skype video-calling service in 2011. Since then, the corporation has made enormous efforts to integrate it into its ecosystem as smoothly as possible. 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 begin a Skype meeting immediately.

8. Notifying Attendees of your club and group activities

A shared event involves every host or attendee in its activity logs to keep them updated. Any time you change the event or have more information to share, the roster can be notified manually or automatically. Person-specific notifications can be (independently from the entire roster) sent out, so nobody is overwhelmed by unnecessary alerts. It’s quite easy to keep everyone up to date with the information they need for their duties.

9. Receiving Responses

People who see your event can, if they want, respond to let you know their availability by marking 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 reply. This status and subsequent reactions are not set in stone and can be changed anytime to provide flexibility.

10. Utilizing the Schedule Assistant and Room Finder

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

11. Accommodating Everyone’s Needs

If somebody cannot attend an event but wants to, your calendar can still accommodate their needs. Alongside marking their availability — attendees can also propose new meeting times if they can’t attend. Marking your availability makes scheduling more of a group effort so everybody can fit things in. Combined with the Schedule Assistant, you really can’t go wrong.

The next time you’re in charge of planning an event, your calendar tools will do most of the work for you. You can set it up in as little as 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; Thank you!

The post How Microsoft Calendar Can Organize Club and Group Activities appeared first on Calendar.



This story originally Appeared on Entrepreneur.com