Category Archives: Premium Doodle

UPDATE: Calendar invitations

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From the second you realize the need to organize a meeting to the handshake at the start, Doodle guides you on your way. Our newest feature smooths out the way to that handshake by allowing you to send calendar invitations.

You use Doodle to find the best date and time for a meeting and you can even send reminders to those who’ve yet to participate to make sure you can get the results in time. Once all the votes are in and you choose the final option you can share the the results in the most convenient way with your participants. A calendar invitation.

You can add the event instantly to your Google or Outlook calendar so you or your participants will never miss the date. This will save everyone loads of time and possibly errors because it’s all automatic. If your participants haven’t connected their calendars to their account (which they should btw), don’t worry they’ll also receive the calendar invitation in their inbox so they easily add the event to their calendar with just one click. Just one more example of the work we do to ease the pain of meetings and scheduling.

Here’s how it works

Previously when you closed a poll you had two options to share the results with your participants. You could send them a link to the poll so they could check or you could send them an email. Now when you choose the final option you’ll have a third option which sends the calendar invitations and adds the events to your calendars.

Keep in mind that this feature is only for Doodle Premium users.

If you’re curious you can start a trial here, free for 14 days.  

The Fine Art of the Follow-up

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Photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash

The Fine Art of the Follow-Up

It’s easy to see why meetings with no clear objective, too many participants, or an overstuffed agenda are ultimately unproductive. But what about great meetings that go nowhere: meetings where the brainstorming is brilliant, the strategizing is on point, and the synergies are off the charts. And then….nothing. By the time the next meeting rolls around, you and your team are back to square one. It’s a corporate groundhog day scenario and it can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. The good news is there’s an easy fix. Put simply, a great meeting isn’t a great meeting unless it has a great follow-up. Here’s how to elevate your follow-up technique, and ensure all the momentum of an effective meeting doesn’t evaporate by the end of the workday.

The Number 1 Rule for Following-Up

The best way to follow-up after a meeting is…to follow-up after a meeting! It sounds basic, but this is one necessary step that’s often overlooked. Make a point of reaching out to your team with a summary of what was discussed and a list of next steps. It can be as simple as that — even a rudimentary follow-up is better than none at all.

Stay on Target

But if you really want to get the most out of your follow-up, your work starts before your meeting kicks off. Make sure your meeting has a tight agenda and a clear objective. Maybe you’re trying solve a client’s problem or efficiently scale up a project — this objective should guide your meeting but it should also guide your follow-up. Meetings can go off-topic but your follow-up should not.  During the meeting, pause to agree upon and assign action items. When a meeting’s going well and the ideas are free-flowing it’s tempting not to interrupt, but without agreeing concrete next steps, it’s likely nothing will be accomplished at all.

Encourage Ownership

Assign each action item to an individual rather than a team or department. You might be amazed at the results — if it worked for Steve Jobs, it can work for you too! Jobs famously nominated a DRI (that’s a Directly Responsible Individual in Apple-speak) for every action item that came up in his meetings. And, according to former employee Gloria Lin, people loved this system. ‘The benefit here,’ says Lin ‘is more ownership than accountability. When you feel like something is your baby, then you really, really care about how it’s doing.’ Agree on a timeline for each task, but do it thoughtfully. The traditional ‘by-the-next-meeting’ deadline won’t always work: some tasks will require more time to execute; easy-to-finish or time-sensitive tasks should have a tight deadline.

Fine-Tune Your Follow-Up

After meetings, publish and circulate minutes within 24 hours. Make sure your minutes include action items, broken down into steps or stages where necessary. Each item should have a DRI and a timeline. But your follow-up doesn’t end here: use the coming days or weeks to check-in regularly with your team and ensure action items are on track for completion. While minutes are normally circulated over email, consider changing your medium when it comes to these personal follow-ups. The average worker receives 120 emails a day and a follow-up email can easily get overlooked in a full inbox. Try adding action items to a calendar or task management app. If you’ve used Doodle to schedule your meeting, try using the direct message function to reach out to participants afterward and keep everyone on track. Don’t feel like you’re micro-managing — checking in on ongoing action items is an important part of supporting your team.

Remember the Big Picture

Finally, follow-up on your meetings as well as after your meetings: set time to debrief with colleagues about your meeting processes. What’s working? What needs attention? Is it time to invite fewer participants to your strategy meetings? Are you holding a standing meeting on an issue that would be better handled by a task force? If you’re smart about following-up on meeting style as well as meeting substance, you might just find yourself with a few extra hours in the day to tackle all the action items on your own agenda.

Jessica Miller is an Australian writer currently based in Berlin.

Investment in Calendar Tools – Tamedia and Doodle Talk Strategy

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Tilman Eberle (VP Marketing at Doodle AG) talks to Samuel Hügli (CTO & Head of Ventures at Tamedia) and Gabriele Ottino (Managing Director at Doodle AG) about the future and the global expansion of Doodle. The aim is to break the 500 million user mark in the coming years while developing an attractive paid product.

Tilman: How important is Doodle to Tamedia, Switzerland’s biggest publishing house?

Samuel: Doodle is important to Tamedia on several levels. The tool is already being used by an enormous number of people – 200 million per year, to be precise. And Doodle is no longer just a leisure tool, which was its original purpose. Instead, it has become essential in many businesses.

“We believe Doodle has enormous growth potential.”

My assistant, for example, could no longer imagine life without Doodle, as it would take her so much longer to organize everything. And millions of professionals worldwide feel the same. Last but not least, Doodle is the only global brand in Tamedia’s portfolio.

All in all, we believe Doodle has enormous growth potential, particularly in terms of the number of users, new areas of application due to additional functions, and the overall value of the company.

Tilman: In what ways is Doodle’s international orientation evident?

Samuel: It starts with the team: Doodle has offices in Zurich, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Belgrade. As a result, there is a multicultural climate within the company, which is something we fully support.

“Our product development team is like a think-tank.”

I believe the Doodle team is special, not least because we combine many different ways of thinking. We receive frequent feedback from Berlin and Tel Aviv, which provides us with insights that we would never have gained by ourselves. This is a huge benefit to us. Personally, I believe that our product development team is like an international think-tank. And that’s important. After all, our users are also based in different parts of the world.

In Switzerland, Doodle is known and used by almost the entire internet population. But there are now many more users abroad than in the domestic market. However, there are some big differences between the countries, and not just in terms of the number of users; for example, we believe the US market is much more receptive to professional paid services. These insights will also help us with the internationalization of Tamedia as a whole.

Tilman: What plans are in place for Doodle over the coming years?

Gabriele: We will gradually increase the number of features that Doodle offers, in particular for professional users. Consequently, the tool will meet more and more application requirements for daily office life. Doodle already offers appointment scheduling in small and large groups, as well as text polls. Furthermore, calendar integration makes it possible to synchronize appointments and invite participants directly from the calendar.

“Things will start to get really exciting in product development in the coming months.”

Premium Doodle offers reminder functions and branding for companies, MeetMe supports 1:1 meetings, and the intelligent chatbot Meekan assists Slack and Microsoft teams. All these areas will become really exciting in the coming months and years.

Samuel: At the same time, we are aiming for massive growth and have set ourselves the target of reaching 500 million people with the tool in the next few years. This will also see us invest heavily in a new Premium Doodle tier alongside the free offering. Doodle is in the midst of transformation: from a media platform funded by third parties via advertising to an SaaS platform paid for directly by users. But users of the free module needn’t worry: the basic functions of Doodle will always be free of charge.

“We want to reach more than 500 million people per year with Doodle in the next few years.”

Tilman: How does Tamedia support Doodle financially?

Samuel: We have recently agreed to invest in Doodle on the basis of an ambitious and strategic growth and development plan. This shows just how much faith we have in its potential. We’re looking forward to the results.

Tamedia is taking a calculated entrepreneurial risk here – one look at our overall portfolio clearly shows that we are trying to break new ground with Doodle.

Tilman: What will the developments mean for Doodle?

Samuel: Doodle will experience dynamic growth and development at all three locations. This will be followed by further exciting moves. We want to take this opportunity to show that the time is right for paid use of productivity tools. And we are not the only ones who think so: Monday, Atlassian, Dropbox and Evernote have gone down the same route.

“We are proud that every single person at Doodle is able to make a real contribution.”

Gabriele: We have also managed to fill some key positions in recent weeks: Jack is responsible for the product in the role of CPO, and Jens manages our engineering team as CTO.  At the same time, we are expanding the data analytics and engineering teams considerably. We are fortunate to have so many top-quality candidates to choose from. And we are proud that people are able to make a real contribution at Doodle, instead of being just a small cog in a big corporate machine.

Tilman: How does this benefit Doodle users?

Gabriele: Users benefit from increasingly efficient functions for organizing meetings. Of particular importance are the modules based on artificial intelligence from our subsidiary Meekan in Israel, which can be used to schedule appointments much more quickly and easily. We call this ‘smart scheduling’. Users can choose between different solutions, all of which are geared towards making it easier to plan, create, and hold meetings.

“Calendar automation also opens up a vast array of possibilities for new applications!”

We, along with more than 10,000 users per day, use the Meekan solution for smart scheduling. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly and cleverly the bot finds the best time slot for a meeting. This opens up a vast array of possibilities for new applications, especially with regard to automated calendar management and the personalization of suggested time slots.

Samuel: The more than 200 million satisfied users – many of whom are real fans of Doodle – allow us to invest further in the development, design and support of Doodle and Meekan.

Tilman: Sam, you’re in charge of the Technology & Ventures division at Tamedia. Are there any plans to integrate other start-ups into the Tamedia portfolio?

Samuel: In Ventures, we’re always on the lookout for new start-ups. We want to support these companies with our expertise, our network and our financial resources. We are currently planning to invest in the fintech segment in particular.

“Alongside the existing areas, we are currently planning to invest in blockchain start-ups.”

In particular, the blockchain technology that is used at many of these start-ups offers us completely new possibilities as a media company in terms of content sales, licensing and even content packaging with other partners. We want to be on board early, in the hope that one or two of these seedlings will eventually grow into a big tree.

Branding Options for Professionals

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Visualize your company’s branding here…

With Doodle Premium you can customize your polls to best show off your brand or company to your clients and colleagues.

Every poll you create and send out can have your company logo and a background image to add a professional finish to your polling.   

Imagine your polls with ZERO ads and painted with your company’s colors (see above).

How does it work?

You can find the branding options in your account settings at the top of the page. You’ll then see the two options to add images to your polls. Your company logo will replace the Doodle logo on all your polls.

You also have the option to compliment your company logo with a background image. The color of your background image will also be reflected on your poll itself in the border around the table.

Doodle Premium is the most powerful professional scheduling tool around. If you’re not already on board, start your 30-day trial now.

Try it out

UPDATE: Invitation status

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You may have noticed a bit of an upgrade with the Doodle Premium ‘Who is missing’ feature. Not only can you see who you’ve sent your invitations to but you can also check:

Who received the invitation
Who opened the invitation
If there was an issue with delivery

Now that’s quite an upgrade! You can see if your invitations made it where they were going and if your invitees read them.

So how does it work?

When you send your invitations via Doodle (choose ‘Invite Participants’ and select ’email’), you’ll see all the names/emails of your invitees listed on the poll with a sealed little envelope. If that email didn’t get to where it was supposed to go, you’d notice the little envelope will have an exclamation point letting you know. You’ll also notice that once your invitees check the invitations, the envelopes next to their names will be opened!

If your invitees received the invites but haven’t had a chance to participate you can send them a quick reminder message. Use the ‘send reminder’ button at the top of the page.

Doodle Premium is a powerful professional scheduling tool with loads of advanced features. Take a look!

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Doodle at AMP 2018

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Photo by Jace Grandinetti on Unsplash

We’re so excited that our very own Michael Wuergler presented at this year’s AMP conference in Amsterdam.

AMP is an open-source project that aims to make the web better for everyone by creating faster web pages that perform better across all platforms. Most recently, Google has been working to bring the power of this framework to Gmail, and they asked us to develop a few applications for the new prototype.

Now, emails will no longer be static blocks of HTML that age and grow moss in your inbox. With this technology, developers will be able to create engaging, interactive email experiences. Your emails will be more dynamic; they’ll live and change with time. AMP for Email will make it possible for your emails to remain up to date every time you open them.

What does this mean for Doodle?

It means that you could get poll updates directly in your inbox. And I’m not talking about notification emails; I mean that your original admin email will update itself when people make their selections in your poll. You’ll be able to have a running tally of who voted for what in your poll as it’s happening. You could even choose a final date and close the poll right from your inbox. All without opening your browser. Finding a time to meet will be faster and easier with the ability to manage polls from your email.  

We’re waiting for Google to roll out AMP for Email, and then we can move to bring you all our cool AMP related projects.

If you’re interested in AMP and want to see Michael’s presentation you can check out the video below. He starts at about 6:30.

 

Doodle for Teachers and Students

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Doodle is the premier scheduling tool for educators and students.

We get feedback all the time from teachers and professors about how much they love Doodle and how useful it is for them. Here are a few of our favorite tips!

One-to-ones

Lots of teachers and professors use Doodle to schedule one-to-one meetings with their students. It’s simple. Create a poll with all the available 15-30 minute time slots and send it out to your students. You can set a limit on the poll that each option can only be chosen once, so you avoid double bookings. The poll can also be hidden to keep everyone’s names and choices anonymous. Create a Doodle poll and let those one-to-one meetings schedule themselves. If you have recurring meetings, you can just duplicate the poll and reuse the same email addresses. What a time saver!

Classroom voting

If you need to take a classwide poll to find the best day to go on a field trip, for example, you can send out a poll with all the options and let the students decide. If you use the hidden poll feature, you can remove any bias. Date polls are a great way to make decisions collectively.

Teamwork

If everyone needs to get together for group projects, free text polls are the best way to go. Create options like Group 1, 2, etc. and let everyone choose their own. Don’t forget to set limits, so the groups don’t end up too big! You can also print the list, or export it as an excel file, and have all the information down on paper.

These are just a few examples of how Doodle is employed in the classroom. We hope they’ve given you a little inspiration for creative scheduling and polling for the classroom.