MS Outlook is the best email manager to handle professional communication. In addition to email management, it provides calendaring facility too. And when you are using Outlook with Exchange/Office 365 account, it also allows creating calendar events to schedule meetings (using the Scheduling Assistant and Room Finder).

Usually, people find it troublesome to schedule a meeting request because it depends on the availability of a meeting room. But when you schedule an appointment or meeting using Outlook, then you can go to Room Finder wizard to check the availability of the rooms and any chance of conflict with the availability of any employee.

Here is how you can use the Room Finder feature in the Scheduling Assistant to find the available rooms and check for any possible conflict with the availability of the attendees.

  1. Start Outlook. In the Home tab, click New Items >> Meeting.
  2. Choose the Scheduling Assistant option.
  3. Go to Room Finder and use the drop-down of ‘Show a room list.’ Here, choose the room which you need for the meeting.
  4. There is a Suggested Times pane where you can see the best-suited time for the meeting when most of the attendees are available. The best-suited time appears at the top, and you can select any time frame. It will also show that if there is time conflict with any attendee.
    NOTE: You can also choose a time from the free/busy grid manually.

  5. After selecting a time for the meeting, if you want to conduct the same meeting multiple times in the future, then you can use the recurrence option.
    • Go to Meeting menu and click Options.
    • Click the Recurrence option and input the pattern for the meeting to recur.
    • After the recurrence request, the meeting menu changes to Recurring Meeting.
  6. After making all the changes in the new meeting, send the meeting request to all the attendees.

Scheduling the meetings with your team can be quite tricky if the size of the team is quite large. It becomes trickier if the team members are in different geographical locations. Here are some tips which you can apply during scheduling a meeting:

  • Scheduling Assistant
    Before going to send an invitation to the meeting, you need to know about the free time of the person. With the help of Scheduling Assistant, you can select a time when all the personnel are available and plan a meeting by checking their free/busy information on the calendar.

    you need to input the name of the person, and the autocomplete address feature in Outlook will suggest you the name. Then the free/busy pane will show the availability of the person. It is highly beneficial for scheduling meetings, especially when people are in different geographical locations (and possibly in different time zones).

  • Color-Coded Messages
    When your calendar is filled with multiple meetings throughout the year, then what should be the best way to differentiate between the meetings? To solve the problem, you should use a color-coded message from the Outlook. You can categorize these meetings as private, personal, or confidential. You can also tag the meetings based on their importance, from lower to higher.
  • Tracking
    After sending a meeting request, your first requirement would be to know the response of the receiving person. By using the tracking feature, you can get the information on how the receiver responded to the meeting invitation. To use the feature, select the meeting, and click the tracking feature. It will enlist all the persons whom you have sent the requests along with their responses. This way, you can make sure that all the required persons are attending the meeting.