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How to use Microsoft Teams for video meetings and conference calls

Posted on 28th May 2020 at 10:34

More of us are now working from home and are having to make a number of adaptions to the way we work, to ensure we can still be efficient. Getting the home office environment set up just right is of course important, but enabling meaningful meetings and interactions should also be at the top of the list!

One of the most popular channels for online meetings and collaboration is Microsoft Teams. In this blog we provide some tips on how it can keep you connected to your team, clients and business partners.

Do I have to download an app to be able to use Microsoft Teams?

No, is the short answer – though there are apps available so you can access Teams on your mobile device too.

The good news is that if you have Microsoft 365, you will already have access to Microsoft Teams so within your organisation you will be able to communicate instantly and easily using Teams. Our beginners guide to Teams may also help you get familiar with the platform.

You can also have meetings with those outside of your organisation, by booking the meeting in Teams and entering the email address of your external guest. Teams will send them an invite with details and they can join the meeting in their browser without having to install a plug-in or download Teams.

There is also an Audio-Conferencing feature which means that access to the internet isn’t necessary and the call can take place via a mobile and without the need to remember pin numbers.

 

How can I manage a large team on a call and make sure everyone is heard – won’t people just talk over each other?

If you are the Teams meeting organiser you have a number of options which will help you run a smooth meeting. These include being able to mute and unmute attendees and there is a chat function enabled within meetings, so attendees can raise any questions without having to interrupt the presenter.

You can also manage the roles and permissions of those in the meeting, deciding who is able to present and share their screens.

You may also want to take advantage of the lobby for attendees to wait in before you start the meeting – this means you can control entry and ensure the meeting starts when you’re ready.

Microsoft will soon release a feature that will enable attendees to raise a hand to get attention in meetings – so watch this space.

 

I heard you should have a plain background on your video but I have bright floral wallpaper – what should I do?

Firstly, don’t worry about your home décor – everyone appreciates that we’re all having to adapt and be in different situations. And, as for needing to have a plain background there is some truth in that as it can help to minimise distractions and it can help to better set your lighting. Back lighting, including having a window behind your head could make you difficult to see which is why you may have heard about the need for a plain background.

Other options include turning on the background blur or mix things up and selecting a background image from the library in Teams. Your background could then be a sandy beach or ‘trendy’ office or even a make-believe Minecraft scene!

My team and I really need to collaborate and brainstorm a new project – is there a way to do this without sharing multiple files and versions?

The ability to share your screen is second nature with Teams. You can easily control what attendees see by deciding if you’d like to share your entire desktop of just a specific window – and meeting organisers can give other attendees presenter rights so that their screen can be shared.

If you need to collaborate in real time, use Microsoft Whiteboard which is integrated with every Teams meeting. This means you can contribute digital ink by a touch or a click of your mouse – and all sessions are saved as part of the meeting so you can add to it in the future or refer back to it.

 

I’m working from home with young children, so I sometimes have to jump on and off mute. Is there a way to record meetings?

As a meeting organiser you can easily start and stop meeting recordings, you can also manage attendees’ permissions to enable or disable them from recording meetings.

The recorded meeting is stored in the cloud and a link is provided in the meeting chat. You can also search the meeting transcript to find and jump to the point in a meeting that you’re interested in.

There is much more to Teams than just a video and communication channel – it can also support your working from home environment in other ways – for more details you can read our blog: Working from home? How Microsoft Teams can help.

We hope that this has helped to answer some of your Microsoft Teams questions. If you’d like more information, or are interested in integrating Microsoft Teams into your organisation, contact the Cellular Solutions team here.

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