The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses into a remote work model. Although businesses are expecting to reopen and return to normal in the coming months, remote work will become the “new normal” for some; 40% of employees are likely to work outside the office at least some of the time post-pandemic.

Regardless of whether you plan to return to business as usual or do plan to adapt and lead a more remote workforce, you will likely want a solution to keep your team connected. 

Although there are plenty of software options out there, Microsoft Teams (formerly Skype for Business) is a great choice for businesses that are already utilizing Office 365 in their environment. Microsoft Teams is fully integrated with your other Office 365 programs and can help your team to be more collaborative.

Unlike Zoom or GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams has no need to download unnecessary software, which lessens the burden on your IT team.

So, how does Microsoft Teams work? Let’s explore options related to the meeting features in Teams.

Hosting a Meeting or Video Conference in Microsoft Teams

One of the great features within Microsoft Teams is Meetings or Video Conferencing. Let’s say you lead a Sales team and you need a way to stay engaged with your team. Maybe you want to host a daily stand-up to keep the team accountable.

Here are 8 tips to help you get the most out of your Microsoft Teams meeting.

1. Setting Up a Meeting

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How do I set up a Microsoft Teams Meeting?” There are a couple options here.

You can host a meeting on the fly by simply clicking the Meet Now button or, for a fully integrated experience, you can schedule your meeting within a Team Channel.

  1. Navigate to your calendar and select New Meeting
  2. Within the pop-up window, you’ll be able to:
    • Name the meeting
    • Add attendees
    • Select the date & time
    • Set up recurrences
    • Add to a channel
    • Add meeting location
    • Add meeting details
  3. Click Save and the meeting will be sent to attendees and sync with your Outlook calendar.

Once your meeting has been sent, you can click on Meeting Options for additional settings.

In the meeting options, you can control who is allowed to present and show their screen, whether anyone should be placed into the lobby before entering the meeting, and whether your participants should be alerted when someone joins the meeting.

2. Logging in to a Meeting

How do meeting attendees join a Teams Meeting? There are a couple of options available for logging in. You or your attendees can:

  • Download the app on your Windows PC, Mac or mobile device
  • Join the meeting via web browser – ideal for those whose IT department prohibits them from downloading new software

3. Ask Participants to Mute Themselves

Start the meeting off on the right foot by requesting that everyone mute themselves when they aren’t talking. But don’t worry, you’ll also have the ability to mute an individual or everyone at any point in the meeting.

This is particularly helpful if one of your participants takes a call mid-meeting and walks off without muting themselves.

Please note, if you mute a participant who has called in via phone they will have to dial “*6” to un-mute themselves.

4. Encourage the Use of Video While Talking

During a meeting, it’s best to have participants share their video while talking. This helps foster that team environment even though everyone is in different locations.

Microsoft just announced a feature that will allow 49 participants to show on screen at a time (matching Zoom’s limit), which is a huge leap from recently rolled out display of 9.

5. Use a Filtered Background to Minimize Distractions

Now that everyone has their cameras turned on, we want to be sure to minimize any background distractions. Teams has a cool, built-in feature to either blur or replace backgrounds. This is handy for all your employees as they work from home. How do you add a virtual background to your Microsoft Teams Meeting? Simply click on the ellipsis then click Show background effects.

You can select from the preloaded background options or upload a custom background. To upload a custom background simply click Add new, as shown below, and select a photo from your computer to upload. Make sure it is a .JPG, .PNG, or .BMP file.

Custom background on microsoft teams

6. Share Your Screen to Keep Everyone on the Same Page

Let’s say you want to go over some Sales numbers with your team, simply share your screen to display stats, graphs or other metrics so that everyone can follow along.

When you don’t have to share something from your screen with the group and will simply be talking, it’s best to turn off screen-sharing. This helps them to see you and your facial expressions more clearly. Additionally, you will be able to see whether they understand the content your presenting.

If you have a need to play any audio from your computer when presenting in a Teams meeting, before you share your screen, you will need to check the Include system audio box below. For example, if you plan to play a Youtube video for the team during your meeting, checking this box will allow all attendees to hear the audio of the video.

If someone else is sharing their screen and you want to point something out to the team, you can request control of their screen.

7. Easily Chat within the Meeting

Have some information you want to share with the group, but don’t want to take time in the meeting to cover this? No problem, drop a link in the chat for them to access live or after the meeting ends.

8. Record the Meeting for Later Reference

Are Microsoft Teams meetings recorded automatically? No, but you can easily initiate a recording for later review. Click on the on the ellipsis within the meeting then Start recording. (Note that members will be notified that the meeting is being recorded.)

Say you’re ready to launch a big sales campaign, but some of your reps are out on PTO. You can easily record the meeting for them to catch up on the details. They’ll feel like they didn’t miss a beat.

Once the meeting has ended or you select Stop recording, your video will be stored in Microsoft Stream cloud storage and will remain there forever or until the owner deletes it.

Implementing these tips should make for a better meeting experience for all. Not only will this knowledge help your team in internal stand-up meetings, but these tips can also be very beneficial while hosting external meetings with prospects or customers!

Wanting to host a webinar via Microsoft Teams? Learn how here.

Check out the Microsoft Teams Blog for the latest features.

Ready to get started with a Teams or Office 365 solution for your business? Contact us below to learn more.