Find meeting times with Scheduling Polls in Outlook

Trying to find common meeting times when scheduling a meeting with a lot of people can be a hassle, with calls going back and forth between potential attendees. You can make it easier by allowing people to vote for selected times using the Scheduling Poll option. Here’s how it works…

To start a scheduling poll, enter the meeting attendees in the To field of the email, put your cursor in the body of the email, and select Message > New Meeting Poll. That will open up the FindTime panel down the right side of your email:

In the scheduling panel, select the duration of your meeting and two or more time slots to choose from. The people icons will be green or red based on whether the person has availability on their calendars. When done selecting time slots, click Next:

Before clicking Add to email, look at the poll settings. I prefer to have Notify me about poll updates turned ON (so that I can see when people are voting), Schedule when attendees reach consensus turned OFF (as I’m a control freak), Hold selected times on my calendar turned ON (so that I don’t end up booking something else in one of the time slots being voted on), and Require attendees to verify their identity turned OFF (as that asks for verification codes and doesn’t seem to work very well):

Once you’ve added that to your email, you can click on Edit Poll:

In your email, you have a chance to add any additional explanatory text before you send out the poll. Click Send when you’re ready to start collecting votes:

In my calendar, I can see that I have three HOLD times blocked out so that I know not to overbook them:

On Sandra’s side, she received an email asking for her votes on when to hold the meeting. To find the times, she clicks on 3 options:

The poll shows the meeting times, how others voted, and the option to select PreferYes, or No for the various time slots. Once she’s made her choices, she can click Vote to register her choices:

Back in my Inbox, I get an email saying that Sandra has voted, and I have all the information I need to choose my time slot. I click on Schedule:

I get a recap of all the time slots and the voting, and can make my final selection. I click on Schedule meeting:

I now have a regular calendar meeting, and can fill in any meeting information and send it to the meeting participants:

Also… In my calendar, all the meeting holds are removed, and the actual meeting is added onto my calendar like any other meeting.

For more information, check out Create A Scheduling Poll.

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