Microsoft Teams Meetings: How to Make the Most of Them

As it turns out, most companies use Teams only for video calls and messages. Don’t worry, we’re not going to list all the cool capabilities that it has to offer (although you can look up some of them in this article about best practices). However, we thought, hey, if that’s all most people do let’s help them do it right! Which is why we’d like to share with you everything you need to know about Teams meetings and how to use them to the fullest.

We’re pretty sure you’ll be surprised by what you can do😊

Join a Microsoft Teams meeting

First thing first. Let’s have a look at the ways you can join a meeting in Teams.

A meeting invitation goes with the link that redirects you to either to the meeting page on the web or to the Teams app if it’s already installed.

Those users that don’t have a Teams account, can join meeting as guests.

Depending on the meetings settings, after opening the link you either go directly to the meeting or wait in the lobby till other participants admit you.

From calendar

Click on Calendar on the left side of your Teams app and select the meeting that you want to join.

In a channel

If a meeting is happening in a channel, you will see an invitation to join, current participant of the meeting and other information shared in the meeting.

From chat

If the meeting has already started it will appear in your chat list. Choose the right chat and then click Join.

Call in

You can also join a Teams meeting by calling a phone number. To do so you’ll need to dial the number mentioned in the meeting invitation.

Add a room

When configuring your audio and video settings before joining a meeting you have the option to add a new room or join the existing one. Your device can detect a nearby room using Bluetooth. If the nearby room is already in the meeting, you can turn off your audio in order not to disrupt the meeting.

Stay connected whatever happens

Emergencies happen. Especially now that most companies are operating remotely, we might find ourselves in a situation where we can’t find a quiet place with a dedicated workspace and great internet access. Luckily for us, Microsoft Teams knows about these challenges and offers many solutions.

Transfer the meeting to a different device

If your laptop refuses to work or you simply need to go run some errands, you can still stay in the Teams meeting. Just join the meeting with your mobile device or a tablet and select ‘transfer’. This way, you can have a meeting absolutely anywhere and stay in touch with your team on the go.

Add device

Moreover, you can add another device to the meeting. This can be useful if you’re experiencing problems with the camera or the mic on your laptop. Just add your phone to the meeting and configure your mic, speaker and camera setting on both devices to avoid interruptions.

Change the background

Finding the ‘right’ spot for a video meeting can be challenging sometimes. Your significant other can pass in front of the camera in pajamas or your Metallica posters might not look that cool for a meeting with business partners.

However, if you have a meeting in Microsoft Teams you don’t have to worry about all that. You can either blur your background or use a background image among already provided or add a new one. To do so, select Background settings before joining the meeting and choose how you’d like to modify your background.

If you’d like to change your background during the meeting, go to meetings controls and click on More options […] and then select Show background effects.

Use noise suppression

You don’t have to worry anymore about screaming kids, barking dogs or neighbors’ tantrums interrupting your meeting. Microsoft Teams offers three levels of noise suppression to avoid noise distractions during a meeting.

There are two ways to configure noise suppression settings.

To do it from your Teams window just click on your profile picture, select Settings -> Devices -> Noise Suppression.

You can choose auto (default) settings where the app will decide on the best level of noise suppression depending on circumstances; low that suppress low levels of background noise such as air conditioner and high that will suppress any sound that is not speech.

Note that you can’t use high level of noise suppression when recording a meeting or when live captions is on.

If you’d like to configure the noise suppression level during a meeting, head over to More Options […] -> Device Settings -> Noise Suppression and select an option.

Collaborate before, during and after Microsoft Teams meetings with apps

Recently Microsoft Teams announced new meeting extensibilities – Teams apps for meetings. They will allow developers to integrate their apps into meetings thus creating a customized dynamic meeting workspace. Previously, apps integration was only available within private and group chats and channels.

Microsoft partners also created 20 Teams apps for meetings that you can explore here.

Teams apps for meetings provide access to new surfaces and meeting APIs to further expand the capabilities of your apps across the whole meeting lifecycle – before, during and after. They also offer you a canvas to create new scenarios that will enhance your user’s meeting experience.

New extensible surfaces for meetings give the opportunity for developers to integrate their apps and use them in new collaboration scenarios. These surfaces include:

  • Pre and Post meeting tab
microsoft teams meeting pre and post tab
  • In-meeting side panel

microsoft teams  in-meeting side panel
  • In-meeting content notification

Microsoft teams in-meeting content notification

You can learn more about this new capability here.

Share your meeting with the rest of the team

Worried that you’ll miss an important meeting? Or maybe you’re conducting a vide interview that you’d like to use for your next article? Good news is with Microsoft Teams any meeting can be recorded with all the audio, video, and screen-sharing activity. Then it can be saved and securely shared with your team and across your organization.

To start recording, click on More options […] and choose Start recording. All the participants of the meeting will be notified that the recording started.

The meeting recording will then show up in the meeting chat or in the channel conversation if this is where the meeting was held.

Additionally, you can get your meeting’s transcripts. To do so, go to the meeting recording in the chat history and select More options […] -> Open in Microsoft Stream -> Edit. Under Options select Captions and then Download file.

You can then edit the meeting transcripts and share them with your team.

Microsoft teams meeting recording

Invite external users

You can hold a variety of different meetings in Microsoft Teams, including audio conferencing that allows to connect everyone on the go with a global dial-in number, video conferencing for more personal experience and live events with up to 10,000 participants.

You can also invite external users to Teams meeting by sending them an invitation through Calendar. Guests can join a meeting even if they don’t have an account. They’ll be redirected to the meeting’s web page and will wait in the lobby till admission.

Additionally, you can start a meeting, copy the link to it and then share it with anyone.  

Keep track of who’s attending your meetings

If you’re an organizer of the meeting, you can download the list of all its participants. To do so during the meeting, click on Show participants and select Download attendee list.

Kee in mind though that currently you can only download the list while in the meeting.

Raise your hand

During a Microsoft Teams meeting you can raise your hand to let other participants know that you have some thoughts to share without interrupting the meeting.

All you need to do is to click on Raise your hand in the meeting controls.

Everyone in the meeting will see that you’ve raised your hand.

Microsoft Teams meeting raise hand

Use live captions

Did you know that you can turn on live captions during a meeting? They are not tuned on automatically. To activate them go to More options […] in meeting controls and select Turn on live captions.

Microsoft Teams meeting live captions

Currently, the feature only supports English. However, live captions in live event mode have more functionalities and you can even add subtitles in up to 6 languages in addition to the language being spoken.

Event organizers can select the languages from a list of over 50.

Microsoft Teams meeting large gallery view

With Microsoft Teams you can see up to 49 video feeds on your screen during a meeting. In order to activate it over 10 meeting participants must be sharing their video.

To switch on large gallery view click on More options […] and then choose Large gallery.

Microsoft Teams meetings large gallery view

Keep everyone happy

Here’s some curious statistics about work meetings. According to the productivity study by Finances Online, on average employees attend 62 meetings every month, half of which are considered time-wasting. In fact, 47% of the employees claim meetings and the biggest time wasters at work, and 68% of the US employees lost time due to poorly planned meetings.

Just think about how much time and money companies could save if they just better managed their meetings, including digital ones. We already gave some tips around this topic in the article on how to manage a remote team. What we’d like to share with you here is how to make sure you choose a perfect time for your meetings that wouldn’t interrupt the whole team from doing their job.

First, select a day or two of the week, when most of the meetings will take place – say, Monday and Friday. This way you know that the rest of the week your team will stay 100% focused on their job with no distractions. Then, go to Calendar app, click on Scheduling Assistant, select requested participants and choose the time slot where everyone would be available.

Microsoft teams meeting scheduling assistant

To add consistency to your meetings, make sure these meetings are regular and have a clear agenda. This way you’ll avoid ad-hoc meetings, and all the participants will have time to duly prepare all their questions and deliverables.

Share your screen

This feature is a real lifesaver in the modern pandemic times when we have to communicate with our teams, partners and customers through video meetings. With Microsoft Teams you can get the most out of virtual meetings by sharing your screen and giving killer presentations.

You can show your desktop, a specific app, a presentation or any other file during your meeting.

Even though it’s not a real-life experience, it’s as close as it can get.

Microsoft Teams meeting share screen

Enjoy innovative experience

These innovative Teams meeting features will not replace a live meeting experience, but will definitely take you there as close as possibly can.

Together mode

Microsoft Teams brings you closer to your team even when you are apart. Together mode allows to see all the participants in the same setting and sets the tone for the meeting. Choose the right meeting place, be that a park, office room or a coffee shop, and enjoy the new experience.

Microsoft teams meeting together mode

Custom Layout

Virtual presentations have never been so real and personal. Custom layouts allow a more dynamic content viewing experience. The presenter can choose how the content will appear on the screen and add their own video feed on the foreground of their presentation. Perfect for convincing sales pitches😉

microsoft teams meeting custom layout

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms will allow to split meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate group work. The participants can swap rooms, make meeting-wide announcements and close breakout rooms, thus bringing back all the participants into the original meeting.

microsoft teams meeting breakout rooms

Brainstorm with Whiteboard

You can have fun and productive brainstorming sessions using Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams meetings. To get started, click on Share icon and then in Whiteboard section select Microsoft Whiteboard.

All the participants can draw, sketch and write on the board and add their notes as if on stick-it notes.

For better functionality participants can open Whiteboard in the dedicated app and then save and share the results of their collective work.

Microsoft teams meeting whiteboard

Now you know how to get the most out of Microsoft Teams meetings. Hope you enjoyed this article! Share with us in the comments bellow what are you favorite features of Microsoft Teams meetings.

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