While much of the UK’s workforce may not have been overly technically literate a few years ago, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns forced many to embrace ICT like never before. If businesses wanted to continue operating, they had no other choice. Although it might not have been an ideal circumstance, it gave users the push they needed to move forward with technology.
One of the most vital parts of working remotely is virtual meetings via audio/video conferencing. The limitations of traditional platforms like Skype were soon realised, with most companies opting to set up with either Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams is the most efficient overall cooperation software available for the vast majority of businesses. It combines video conferencing, messages, boards, notes, schedules and many other things in one place, creating a highly efficient working environment.
That being said, there’s always room for improvement. Most businesses are already using Teams, so it makes perfect sense to maximise its potential. Here are a few tips for improving your virtual meetings on Microsoft Teams by making them more efficient and inclusive.
Set the settings before the meeting starts
Getting the video conference link ready before others join will make things flow more seamlessly. There is a multitude of options from which to pick. For example, you could allow anonymous users to enter the meeting – basically, anyone who isn’t registered with your organisation. You could also create a custom, professional-looking meeting invitation (perhaps including your logo).
The technical setup can appear quite complicated. Carefully read each option and ask for help from ICT-savvy colleagues if you need it. Different types of meetings work for different occasions. For instance, a focus group or brainstorming session requires all individuals to be able to unmute and interact. However, a board meeting or finance update should focus on the one or two people speaking. Set categories in the settings and plan for different setups in advance.
Share your schedule with teammates
When you’re at a physical place of work, it’s much easier to organise a meeting time – even if there are always people that are late or forget to turn up. Everyone’s grouped together in a relatively small office space or building complex (on most occasions). Many workplace systems notify the invited employees a few minutes before the meeting’s start time, giving them time to get to the conference room.
However, working from home often brings a conflicting schedule. There might be kids to look after, food shops to be done, or housework to carry out. It helps to share your active hours (to the best of your knowledge) with your team on Microsoft Teams. This allows meeting organisers to easily find a time that suits everyone invited.
Use Microsoft Teams’ built-in functionality tools
Microsoft Teams comes with a whole range of functionality tools, any of which could be used for improving your virtual meetings. The most significant is the Whiteboard. If you prepare and organise it beforehand, you’ll find it a handy feature for compiling and comparing thoughts or simply to use as a visual aid.
Recording meetings can also make your team work together more efficiently. Recordings and live transcripts (this option must be turned on before you start recording) might mean attendees are under less stress to take notes. Anyone who misses the meeting (for whatever reason) can also catch up in their own time.
There are virtually unlimited possibilities with Microsoft Teams. Chat to your ICT department or an independent advisor for a wealth of ideas.
Everyone seems to have different ideas about good video conferencing etiquette. Cameras on or off, for example? This is a significant worry for some but a basic expectation for others. By accepting individuals’ decisions, you encourage them to join your meetings and contribute. This creates a healthy and respectful working atmosphere without any undue pressure.
There are many ways you could promote inclusivity, not least of which would be to simply unmute and tell people. Play around with teammates’ default pre-meeting-entry settings, and don’t be afraid to ask them what they want.
Help is at hand from Vantage 365
Vantage 365 is a specialist provider of Microsoft 365 services, including Microsoft Teams. We’re all about using these products to help your business thrive by promoting collaboration and driving productivity. If you already own Teams, we know how to make it even better.
We have years of specialised experience getting clients set up, and know every trick in the book to improve your Microsoft Teams virtual meetings.
In fact, we’re just about to launch a new training service, with our Microsoft Teams Masterclass being one of the key elements, so keep your eyes peeled on our blog and events section for more information about this. If you’d like to learn more about how we could assist you, don’t hesitate to contact us for a friendly, no-obligation chat. Give us a ring on 01384 593720 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to hear from you!