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Using Microsoft Teams effectively: 5 Tips for working with meetings

29.4.2021

Effective use of Teams in meetings is accomplished through systematic policies and tools. Take advantage of Teams meeting tips and collaborate more effectively with others.

In addition to meetings and other communication and collaboration functionalities, Microsoft Teams provides a comprehensive set of tools and other connectable applications to support your work. This is where Teams’ strength as a work productivity booster is emphasized – whether you work alone or together with others.

Tip 1: Leave time to move on to the next meeting

For example, when you save a new appointment through Outlook calendar for 30 minutes, the calendar automatically suggests ending the meeting 5 minutes earlier than planned. In other words, from 9.00 to 9.30 the meeting ends at 9.25, leaving a transition period before the start of the next meeting. This feature is especially handy for serial meeting participants or organizers who may have challenges reconciling the finalization of notes from a previous meeting or preparing for the next meeting on a busy schedule.

Tip 2: Take advantage of Teams meeting notes

One of Teams’ tools, which you can find by default on the tab in the meeting window, is meeting notes. The tool is easy to use in its simplicity, but often goes unused.

The use of meeting notes has been further facilitated by the fact that a handy additional tool for organized meeting management now supports up to 100 meeting participants at a time. Authorized participants will still have access to meeting notes after the meeting. After the start of the meeting, the joined participant may, if necessary, request access from the owner of the notes, usually the meeting organizer.

In recurring meetings, notes are conveniently stored from one meeting to another, making it easier to review things during or outside the meeting. Each meeting becomes a new section in the notes archives.

Boost operation with unified operating methods

Teams meetings are facilitated when employees in the organization are aware of common practices that are well-defined and documented.

The establishment of certain ways of working in everyday work is sped up, for example, by organization-wide policies on meeting and note-taking practices. In this case, both the organizers and the participants know to follow the same practices and the precious time of Teams meetings can be used for activities relevant to the agenda.

Take notes before the meeting

Go to the calendar section at the left side  menu in Teams main window. Click on the meeting of your choice and the link to chat with the participants. Click the Meeting Notes tab and start taking meeting notes.

Add an agenda or other important discussion items. Use @ mention to notify people of added information, files, or actions.

Take notes during the meeting

Once in a meeting, click the three-point More Options menu above the attendee list and click Meeting notes.

You can also hide notes in the meeting window from the same Advanced settings menu behind three dots. If you haven’t taken notes yet, click Take notes.

To add a new note, move the mouse cursor to the desired location and the Add new part here function will appear with a + sign. A new three-point menu appears by moving the mouse over the different sections of the notes. The application allows you to move that note section up or down and discard or delete the section.

Tip 3: Activate participants using the whiteboard app in Teams

Maintaining a creative process such as workshop brainstorming is made easier with the help of Teams’ whiteboard application. All participants in the meeting can participate in the work on the whiteboard. Sticky notes, text objects, and other tools support ideation and innovation. The meeting organizer can also present the content of the whiteboard without the other participants being able to edit the content.

Tip 4: Speed ​​up decision-making with Teams polls

Forms polls help keep meetings inclusive and productive, for example to support decision-making. The meeting organizer can create and publish polls, and view polls results before, during, and after the meeting. Polls can be answered from any device, making it convenient to activate passive listeners as participants.

The publication of the polls will be announced in the participants’ Teams meeting window and in the meeting discussion. Organizers and presenters can define the anonymity of the responses and close the poll from additional responses. Participants see the answers in real time and can answer open-ended polls after the meeting. The results of the polls can be saved as an Excel file for further analysis.

Prepare polls before the meeting:

Prepare polls during the meeting:

Voting in polls during the meeting:

Tip 5: Last five minutes left to finish the meeting

Have you noticed that Teams notifies you when you reach the last five minutes of a scheduled meeting? A bar will appear at the top of the meeting window to remind you to finish the meeting in time. This feature is especially handy when the conversation is flowing so well that the sense of time may disappear. This feature is available for both private and channel meetings, and the notification will not automatically end the meeting for you.

Boost Teams meetings with suitable settings

In terms of time management and work efficiency, those five minutes saved when sending a meeting invitation and organizing a Teams meeting can prevent a number of stressful situations.

With tools like notes, whiteboard, and polls, you can activate participants in Teams meetings and maintain innovative productivity in even the toughest brainstorming sessions. So, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the various settings and functionalities before your next meeting.

Read also 5 tips for using Teams efficiently with Teams settings.

Arno Hakkarainen
Senior consultant

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