4 best free apps for managing meetings

Ah, meetings: perhaps the most necessary of the evils. Can they be avoided? Not really. Can they be improved? Of course.

Here are some free and innovative solutions to make meetings less painful and more efficient.

Better scheduling with Calendly

Sometimes the most challenging thing about a meeting is, you know, actually having the meeting. Calendly does all the heavy lifting for you, helping you find a time that works for everyone without a bunch of painful back-and-forth.

Create a meeting request with Calendly and send it out to attendees, who then securely sync their calendars to the service and choose their preferred times. It’ll then figure out a time that works for everyone and generate a time slot for the meeting. It’s great for those of us with otherwise complicated schedules.

The free version offers a single calendar connection for each user, unlimited scheduling, and integration with popular email services and meeting platforms.

Auto-transcribe meetings with Otter

You know that sinking feeling when you’ve zoned out in a meeting but you’re pretty sure something important was just said? Otter.ai keeps that feeling at bay.

Use it to record your next meeting and watch as it magically transcribes everything that’s said in real time—and with almost frightening accuracy. Once your meeting is over, you’ll have access to even richer, searchable notes identified by speaker and which identify important keywords.

The free version is reasonably generous, offering up 600 minutes of transcribed audio per month and a maximum transcription duration of 40 minutes per meeting.

Have a non-meeting with Loom

OK, do we really need to try to get everyone to attend the same meeting at the same time? If not, Loom is an asynchronous video messaging tool that’s worth checking out.

Loom lets you effortlessly record your screen and yourself at the same time, making it great for quick demos or to provide feedback on in-flight projects. Recorded videos are quickly packaged up and can be shared via a simple link to send to your recipients.

It feels sort of like a meeting, except without all the . . . well, meeting-ness.

The free version gives you 50 accounts to play with, 25 videos per person, and a max recording length of five minutes.

Get paid for showing up with MeetFox

If your work entails charging clients for meeting time, MeetFox can automate your billing for you.

You can use it as a browser-based videoconferencing tool on its own or integrate it with popular services like Zoom and Google Meet. While your meetings are going on, MeetFox will track the time, automatically generate invoices, and accept payments via Stripe from your clients.

The free version lets you schedule unlimited meetings via a personalized booking link or integrations with your website, social profiles, or email signature and takes a 5% cut of the payments you bring in thanks to the service.