(13)Meeting Workspace

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The Meeting Workspace is a special site template designed specifically for meetings. There are 5 variations of the template:

  • Basic Meeting Workspace
  • Blank Meeting Workspace
  • Decision Meeting Workspace
  • Social Meeting Workspace
  • Multipage Meeting Workspace

The Basic Meeting Workspace contains a single page (per meeting) and 4 web parts (and corresponding lists or libraries): Objectives, Attendees, Agenda and Document Library. The Blank Meeting Workspace contains a single page and nothing – the clue is in the title.  The Decision Meeting Workspace is like the Basic one but with extras: Objectives, Decisions and Tasks.  The Social Meeting Workspace contains multiple pages. The home page contains Attendees, Directions, and Things to Bring plus a picture. There is a page for discussions (it contains a Discussion Board) and a page for Photos (Picture library) ‘cos meetings aren’t social without actual photos The Multipage Meeting Workspace lets you create multiple pages for the meeting and starts with 3 to actually begin. The home page contains Objectives, Attendees and Agenda. The other two are blank and ready to use (and rename from Page 1 and Page 2).

Regardless of the template you pick, a meeting workspace can be recurring – contains multiple meetings within the single workspace; or individual – one workspace per given meeting.

You can create a meeting workspace with a recurring schedule. A single site is created but with special code behind it to generate an instance of the site per meeting date, each one listed in the sidebar on the left of the page. The recurrences can either be created automatically using a recurrence schedule or manually added to the series. But you can’t mix and match. It is either a set schedule or a manual series.

When you create the meeting, you specify a recurrence schedule just as you would with a normal meeting. You can create the meeting from within a calendar list in SharePoint or an actual Outlook calendar. But you must specify to create a meeting workspace. Outlook integration is discussed later in this post.  You can make changes to an individual item within a recurring series but it must be done within the appointment item.  Additions must be added within the series (i.e. the recurrence schedule or item series).  Do not delete a recurrence unless you are absolutely certain it will no longer be required. It is difficult to get it inserted back into the series.

Manual recurrences are created by simply adding a meeting to an existing meeting workspace instead of creating a new one. You can only add meetings to a meeting workspace that does NOT have an actual automatic recurrence schedule. Use this approach if your recurrence schedule is unpredictable.

An individual meeting workspace is a actual ingle site for a single meeting. Each time you create a new event in the Calendar list (or within an Outlook calendar), you choose to create a new meeting workspace site. With an individual meeting workspace, you do not get a sidebar down the left site of the page unless you select the Multiple Pages template.

The Multiple Pages template enables you to have multiple different pages within a single meeting (the Social Meeting Workspace is also a multipage site). In the past I have often used this to provide a dedicated page for meeting organizers, where they can place their contacts, to-do lists and all the stuff that needs to happen for the meeting to take place but is of no interest to the attendees. The content can be audience-targeted so that only the organizers can see it.

In SharePoint 2007, pages were displayed as sub-tabs along the top of the page. They are now listed as navigation in the sidebar (same place as where recurring meetings are listed). This is much more consistent compared to other site templates. But it has its flaws. The ‘Pages’ link takes you to a backstage area that doesn’t actually display any pages.