How to Create a Pick-a-Meeting Request

Last reviewed on July 31, 2013

This frequent request comes from users looking for a way to send out meeting requests for training sessions or benefits meetings with HR, where each employee can pick the session that fits their schedule.

I was wondering if anybody can tell me whether or not this is possible, and if it is, how would I do so? We are going to have about six different meetings scheduled soon. We therefore need to send an invitation out to a group of people for those meetings. However, each of them only needs to select one of the six meetings. Is there any way to send a calendar invite that will allow them to choose one of the six meetings and thereby automatically update the sender’s calendar AND the responders calendar?

Unfortunately Outlook doesn’t have the capability for creating this type of meeting request, but you can do nearly the same thing by creating the meetings in the calendar, then save each meeting as an ICS file on the hard drive. Send the invitees a message with each of the ICS files attached and instructions to choose the meeting they want to attend.

Create the Request

To create the meeting request:

  1. Create the invitations and invite required attendees, resources or yourself.
  2. Click Send. This step is important since you need a meeting request that was sent, so the responses can be tracked.
  3. Open each item on your calendar select File, Save as.
  4. Save each item as an ICS on the hard drive.
  5. Create the email message and attach the ICS files.
  6. When the recipients accept the meeting request, they’ll send a response and the meeting is added to their calendar.
  7. The sender’s copy will update with the recipient’s name as an optional attendee.

To avoid confusion, use the meeting date in the subject so the recipient only has to open the meeting they plan to attend.

Forward as icalendarSave a step: create all of the meeting invitations then select the meetings using Ctrl+Select. Use Actions, Forward as iCalendar to send. Note: this does not work with Outlook 2013, you need to use the long method above.

Do not right click and Forward, do not use Ctrl+F or Forward on the Actions menu.

Pick-A-Meeting Request Video Tutorial

This tutorial shows you how to send multiple meeting requests to someone so they can pick which meeting they will attend. The organizer's calendar will show who has accepted for each meeting.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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