After attending some really great leadership training from Kimball Fisher (author of Leading Self-Drected Work Teams and other great books) at work this week, I decided I must do better with setting the goals and agenda for meetings in hopes that attendees come more prepared and the meetings are more effective. I have thought to do this in the past but never remember it when I’m in the throes of creating a meeting.
So this time I decided to change my default meeting template in Outlook so I won’t forget going forward. Surely this is easy right? Wrong! Microsoft makes this far too difficult in my opinion. Regardless I figured it out and thought I would share it here to benefit others.
Forms are the mechanism by which Outlook allows you to edit the default meeting template. I had thought I would be able to create a meeting specific signature but this doesn’t appear to be an option. I use Outlook 2016 but I believe these steps will work as far back as Outlook 2010.
Step 1 – Enabled developer mode
This is ridiculous but you have to use Developer mode to alter forms in Outlook. Go to File | Options | Customize Ribbon, enable the Developer Tab and click OK.
Step 2 – Create a custom form
Open a new meeting request then go to Developer Tab and choose Design this Form:
Next customize the form to your liking. In this case, I simply set the default meeting body:
Once complete, click the Publish button, name your Form and save it in the Outlook Folders location:
Step 3 – Set the default meeting request form
Open the calendar view in Outlook, right click the calendar you wish to set the default form for and choose Properties:
Lastly set the “When posting to this folder, use:” field to your new form and click OK:
Going forward any new meeting request you create will use this new template:
Please let me know if this post was helpful to you in either the comments below or on social media (Twitter, Reddit, etc).
Happy meeting facilitation!