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Using Microsoft Teams effectively: 5 Tips for a good meeting experience

25.10.2021

Using Teams effectively for a good meeting experience is possible with the right settings and functions. Take advantage of our tips for a good Teams meeting.

Teams meetings and remote meetings have become the cornerstones of current work. While working at home or elsewhere outside the office has its own pros, it has also raised challenges.

Microsoft is releasing new functionalities and features to Teams at a fast pace. Keeping up with these innovations alone may seem like a challenging task. Indeed, many of them may go unnoticed or not implemented without better information and guidance.

Read our five tips below to help ensure a good meeting experience for yourself and other meeting attendees.

Tip 1: Give others the floor and mute yourself (and others)

It is a good idea for the meeting organizer to give the colleague who is speaking the peace of mind by muting his or her own and other participants’ microphones. This avoids possible distractions and background noise, and the speaker can focus on presenting his or her own matter.

The same principle can apply during a discussion if all participants in the meeting are not actively involved in the discussion. Muting the microphones can be reminded to all participants at the beginning of the meeting to avoid unnecessary background noise.

Click the microphone icon at the bottom of the meeting window. A slash appears over the icon to indicate that the microphone is muted. The command also works when you press CTRL + SHIFT + M at the same time.

Tip 2: Reduce background noise and blur video backgrounds if necessary

Background noise cancellation also improves audio quality of your own voice. If necessary, you can also blur the background of your video image or set the image as the background. In this case, the environment that appears in the video image on a different background or behind you blurs indistinguishably.

For instructions on editing these convenient features, see our previous blog post on taking advantage of Teams settings.

Tip 3: Enhance your presentation using the presentation view

Meeting content presenters get relief from the Teams presenter view, which allows them to superimpose their own video over their PowerPoint presentation, for example. The performer can also see the notes of their presentation next to their slides as well as the mini thumbnails of the slides in the presentation.

When you select your PowerPoint presentation as the source when you share the screen, the presenter view opens automatically. Participants will only see the slides of the presentation. If another person needs to present, he or she clicks Take control and the presenter view moves to him or her. In this case, your own view changes to the same way as other participants see the presentation slides.

Image: Microsoft

Tip 4: Create a sense of community with the Together mode

According to a Microsoft study, many feel distanced from their co-workers while working remotely. Employees find virtual meetings more stressful than physical encounters. The interaction can also be more consuming if participants are unable to interpret each other’s expressions and body language during the conversation.

In the Together mode of a Teams meeting, artificial intelligence puts participants’ videos virtually in the same space. Brainstorming together and presenting a new thing, as well as detecting a change of spokesperson, for example, is made easier by using the function. The Together mode can be used for meetings of a minimum of five or a maximum of 49 people. Microsoft has also tested the use of the co-mode in meetings between two people, but at least the feature is not yet available.

Image: Microsoft

To use the together mode, click the three-point menu on the toolbar of the meeting window. Select Together mode.

In Together mode, it is possible to create different backgrounds yourself, see the English instructions on the Microsoft website.

Tip 5: Focus on the presenter with the spotlight function

The meeting organizer or presenter can select their own or any participant in the video spotlight to highlight the speaker for all participants to see.

The spotlight mode cannot be used in single mode or large gallery view. When recording a meeting, the spotlight feature is not recorded on the video recording. Microsoft promises a change to this in the future.

In the meeting window, right-click your own or another person’s video and select Spotlight from the menu. Alternatively, you can select Show Attendees and right-click on the name of yourself or another person to be highlighted and select Spotlight me / Spotlight.

To stop highlighting, right-click again and select Stop Spotlight.

Boost the use of Teams with appropriate functions and settings

Meetings are valuable work time that requires the more coordination, preparation, communication and attention the more people attend the meeting. So, you should take advantage of Teams functionalities as well as our tips on settings and smooth conferencing to get the most out of your Teams user experience.

Organization’s information management department is typically the right body to communicate major changes and updates on Teams on a regular basis so that all users can take advantage of new features and functionalities and boost their own work. Ask your organization’s IT support how they communicate about Teams updates.

Read more of our tips for effective use of Teams:

Vilma Lindell
Consultant

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