Communication is a key part of all aspects of business. Conference calls, video conferencing, and screen sharing have become business essentials, and many companies can provide great conference services for a price.
Office 365 is aiming to integrate every aspect of your business productivity, and Teams meetings are a great combination of convenience, connection, and ease of use. If you already have an Office 365 account, then you already have access to this service at no additional fee.
Adopting Teams meetings as your go-to application for conference calls and video chats can save money and increase collaboration and productivity. However the best technology is only as good as those using it. That’s why below we provide a guide on how to use Teams for conferencing from start to finish.
Scheduling your Teams meeting
Setting up a conference call is easy, but there are a few ways to go about it. The easiest two ways are to either schedule it directly in the Teams interface or schedule an Outlook appointment with a Teams meeting integrated.
We’ll start by setting up a meeting through the Teams application. On the left-hand side, you’ll see a calendar icon. Click that and your calendar will open up. This is already integrated with your Outlook calendar so it is normal to see events already filling it up. At the top right click plus new meeting.
Enter the title, start and end date, and the other optional choices. Over on the right, you can start inviting people. If you want to invite individuals from within your organization, just start typing their name and Teams will search for them in your directory. You can also invite people outside of your organization by typing in their full mail address.
Click “schedule” and your invites will be sent. Invitees will receive an email which once accepted will be added to their calendars.
Scheduling through Outlook
Many users will prefer the more familiar mode of scheduling a meeting through Outlook. To create a new meeting, start from the calendar section. From there, click “New Teams Meeting” and set the date, time, and invite attendees from there. This will work on the most updated versions of Outlook, but if you are running an older version, may we recommend an upgrade?
You may already have a scheduled meeting and want to add the option to “conference in” through Teams. Adding a Teams meeting to a scheduled calendar event is a quick adjustment to your already existing event invite. First, open the Outlook calendar appointment for the meeting. In the top toolbar will be the Teams meeting icon. Click that, and the link for your Teams link information will fill out. Lastly, send the updated appointment to your attendees.
These scheduled items will act like any other appointment in your Outlook calendar. You can set reminders for yourself, color code them however you would like, make them private, etc..
Starting and joining the meeting
The time has come to start your Teams meeting. Luckily, joining is is pretty much a two-click process, but with added options to choose from.
Find the appointment either in your Outlook calendar or your Teams calendar. (It’s the same calendar but viewed on whichever app you prefer.) Open the event and there will be a link to join the meeting. Click join and then hit okay if prompted to open in the Teams app. If you set up the appointment with a reminder, you can click the link from the reminder instead of opening the appointment itself.
Before joining the meeting you can adjust your settings. This includes video on or off, mute/unmute your mic, and more. When you are ready, click join now. You can always adjust these settings within the meeting after joining.
The default setting for Teams meetings is that users from within your organization can join whenever, but users outside of your organization have to be allowed in. If you are sharing a join Teams meeting link outside your organization, plan to have yourself or someone else at the meeting approve people who are “waiting in the lobby”.
During the meeting
In addition to the settings you can adjust before starting the meeting, there are a lot of options to toggle on and off to get a better view of the information you need access to and need to share. This includes viewing the participants or the group chat, writing meeting notes, recording your session and more.
There are also some additional features that are great for collaboration. The most frequently used one is screen sharing. This feature allows you to share your entire screen or a particular window with everyone in the chat. This allows for demonstrations, reviewing reports or anything else that requires everyone to be looking at the same visuals during the call. Simply click the screen share button, and select which window (or full screen) that you want to share. You can click stop sharing to end the screen share but remain in the Teams meeting.
A lesser-known collaboration feature is Whiteboard, which allows users to write on a digital blank screen. This is great for brainstorming or explaining something visually. You can also integrate third-party whiteboard applications such as Freehand by Invision.
As you continue to use this application, you can explore more with working remotely and making the most of Teams meetings.
To leave a meeting you simply press the red “hang up” button. That’s it. Paragraph over. Wasn’t that easy?
Replacing conference calls with Teams may not be for everyone. However, if you can make it work, this tool comes with the Office 365 suite and can really boost collaboration, flexibility for your staff, and communication with both your staff and your clients. Make Teams Meetings a regular part of your workflow.
For more on using Teams beyond meetings, check out our Teams video library.
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