4. Joining your meeting
Generally speaking, all participants in the Outlook calendar or in their Teams calendar in the Teams app are able to join the meeting. Once again, the Teams app offers two options Outlook doesn’t:
Push Notifications: the app sends you a message when other people have joined the meeting. This allows you to notice when other participants join your meeting room, especially in large meetings.
Launch page is not displayed: when you join a meeting directly from the app, the Teams launch page is not shown. This eliminates the time needed for loading the Teams launch page when joining a meeting from Outlook.
The waiting area
When conducting meetings with external participants we recommend creating a waiting area. The waiting area is used to have external participants wait until internal participants have prepared for the meeting and made arrangements. After internal preparations external participants are brought into the meeting by the moderator/meeting organiser.
5. Tasks of the moderator/meeting organiser
As a moderator/meeting organiser you have a range of tasks some of which are similar to those found in real-life meetings:
- Check participant list: As described above, one of the tasks of the moderator/meeting organiser is to monitor the participant list and check, whether external participants are in the waiting area.
- Teams calendar app: Generally, we recommend using the Teams calendar app as it offers many benefits. However, it is only available to Teams meetings participants whose Outlook mailbox is located in Exchange Online. We therefore recommend asking your external participants whether they have access to the Teams calendar app. If they don't they can always join Teams meetings via Outlook.
- Monitoring the chat: As many participants may interrupt the presenter’s speech with questions, the chat is used to ask questions, comment on statements or provide links. As moderator/organiser you should therefore always monitor the chat and generally respond to comments quickly. By the way, the chat remains even after the meeting. This gives you the chance to answer questions after the meeting or add comments to your meeting minutes.
- Activate video camera: Non-verbal communication makes up an important portion of all meetings. We therefore recommend activating the video camera feature. Videos allow participants to notice the facial expressions and gestures used by their counterparts which can enrich a meeting. If technical reasons make it impossible to leave the camera activated for the entire duration of the meeting, we recommend to at least activate the camera at the beginning and towards the end of the meeting.
- Mute participants: this option is available for meetings with at least 2 other participants.
Generally, every participant can mute single or all other participants which means the microphone of the other participants is deactivated. Please note, however, that muted participants can reactivate their microphones themselves. If needed, this setting can be changed so that only the presenter can mute participants. Generally, the muting function is used in meetings when one participant’s loud background noise disrupts the meeting and the participant has not yet thought about muting his own microphone.
6. Notes during the meeting
Microsoft Teams offers you the option to show or hide the meeting notes sidebar.
The meeting notes in Teams offer many benefits. They are directly linked to your meeting. You can thus use them to both prepare your meeting, keep minutes during the meeting and even follow up on the meeting. One disadvantage is that sharing these notes is difficult.
Due to the advantages and disadvantages of the Teams notes function we recommend using them for preparing and communicating the agenda. For all other documentation functions such as minute keeping we recommend Microsoft OneNote as it makes sharing and distributing notes much easier.
7. Sharing content
Generally speaking, various content can be shared during the meeting. After clicking on the “share screen” icon you are given the following options:
- Desktop: all screens connected to the device (many Skype users are familiar with this)
- Window: e.g. various application windows that are currently open
- PowerPoint / browse: sharing presentations directly
- Whiteboard: a virtual “flip chart”
Particularly the options offered under desktop and window often lead to errors when sharing content. Often, instead of sharing the screen, only one window is shared. Furthermore, it often happens that a window other than the one desired is dragged into the screen or the team meeting or a window is dragged into the wrong screen. When presenting the screen, it is also important to ensure that confidential content that you do not want other participants to see, e.g. your mail inbox, is not accidentally displayed.
These mistakes when presenting windows and screens happen because presenters are used to the possibilities of presence meetings. In online meetings, these blunders disrupt the flow of the presentation because participants do not see what the presenter sees.
Ideally, you should define whether a presentation is supposed to be recorded, before the meeting. Prior to starting the recording of a meeting or single presentations, make sure that all participants agree to the recording.
Several prerequisites must be met for recording meetings:
- Participants require a valid Microsoft Streams license to be able to record
- The Streams app will be activated for the user that starts the recording
- The recording user is allowed to upload videos (as per default settings).
Every internal participant (from the organiser’s point of view) that meets the requirements can record a presentation or the entire meeting. This option is not available to external participants. Start the recording by clicking on the menu item “start recording” in the Meeting bar below the ellipsis (...).
All internal and external meeting participants are then informed by Teams that the recording has been started.
This message is also published in the chat, thus being documented. Guests and members of other organisations are currently unable to start recordings. If you are unsure whether recording is safe in terms of privacy protection we recommend contacting your company’s data protection officer.
The recording is ended once an internal participant clicks on “stop recording” in the menu or when the meeting itself is ended.
In this context, we recommend to note that the recording only ends once all participants have left the meeting room.
In our opinion recording a meeting has many advantages:
- The meeting can be replayed later on. This allows participants to catch up on content they might have missed, for example in case they have joined with a delay or had to leave early.
- Important content, especially decisions, can thus be reviewed later on since they are documented in the video.
- Videos can be transcribed automatically. By this point, this option is even available in German. Using the transcript, videos can be searched quickly and accurately. They also make creating minutes much easier and faster.
However, recording meetings also comes with its disadvantages:
- Videos require a lot of storage space.
- When recording a lot of meetings, managing and storing these videos becomes confusing quickly.
In the light of these advantages and disadvantages we recommend thinking about recording long and hard before actually doing it.
Whiteboard is part of your Teams app. Among other things, the Whiteboard allows you to create drafts. This digital Whiteboard replaces “analogue” whiteboards and flip charts that would be used in real-life meetings. During your meeting, start Whiteboard with the function “Share screen”.
QuQuQImage Source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/office-365-blog/microsoft-whiteboard-now-available-for-the-web-and-integrated-in/ba-p/973566
As an alternative to Whiteboard, you can use OneNote for this task as OneNote also offers a drawing function. In our opinion, drawing in OneNote should only be considered if you have a touch screen and an associated touch pen. Drawings created with a mouse and a touch pad (i.e. without a touch pen) are usually less than professional. Neither are the app’s relatively long loading times helpful.
When sharing the Whiteboard in Teams, you have the option of opening the Windows 10 app (if you have installed it from the App Store). This client offers you improved drawing options.
Currently Whiteboard content can only be shared with internal participants. According to Microsoft the option of sharing content with external participants will follow.
Summary of our tips on holding Teams meetings
- As a meeting organiser, monitor the waiting area and add waiting participants to the room. Monitor the chat where questions are frequently asked and answer them in a timely manner
- Use the participants’ video images as they expand the communication possibilities
- Share content but make sure to share content that is intended for the circle of participants
- Chat entries, shared links, notes etc. created during the meeting, are stored in Teams even once the meeting is over
- Extend the possibilities of Teams and use OneNote for documentation purposes or Whiteboard to create drafts