10 Tips How To Improve Your Virtual Meetings With Microsoft Teams

In recent years, especially with the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift in how the UK workforce embraces technology. The pandemic not only enforced remote work but also spurred many to deepen their grasp and dependence on Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This transformation was a substantial change for businesses aiming to stay afloat during these challenging times.

Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, this shift nudged both individuals and companies toward technological advancement. Virtual meetings quickly became pivotal in remote work, exposing the limitations of older platforms like Skype and ushering in an era dominated by Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.

Among these, Microsoft Teams emerged as a leading choice for many businesses seeking a comprehensive collaboration tool. It’s more than just a video conferencing app; it’s an all-in-one suite that integrates meetings, chats, boards, notes, and schedules in a single location. This integration fosters a well-organized and efficient working environment for teams. Nonetheless, even the finest tools can be honed and better utilized. With its widespread adoption, maximizing the potential of Microsoft Teams is not just logical but crucial. Here are some strategies to enhance your virtual meetings on Microsoft Teams, making them more productive and inclusive.

Virtual Meetings

Our 10 Tips to Improve Your Microsoft Teams Meetings

The following tips will help you learn how to create Teams meetings to boost engagement, streamline communication, and ensure that every participant has a productive experience.

1. Preview your video

Before you start the meeting, take a moment to preview your video to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best light. Microsoft Teams offers a user-friendly feature allowing you to check your video feed before activating your camera. Just hover over the “Turn camera on” button to see how you’ll look to others in the meeting. Looking to minimize background distractions? Opt to blur your background for a polished, professional appearance.

For a more personalised touch, choose “More background effects” to discover custom backgrounds or upload your own. Tweak and review your settings until you’re content, then click “Apply” and confidently switch on your video. This simple action can significantly enhance professionalism and ensure you’re visually ready for the meeting ahead.

2. Check availability and time zones

Another important thing is to ensure everyone who got the meeting invitation will be able to join the meeting. As the host, you can arrange the meeting according to your time zone, but ensure it suits others as well. If the timing is inconvenient for someone, their productivity may be affected even if they join a meeting on time.

Microsoft Teams provides an easy way to view each participant’s time zone, allowing you to plan meetings at times that work well for everyone. This considerate approach to scheduling can significantly boost engagement and involvement in the meeting, enhancing productivity for all involved.

3. Select a moderator

To improve the efficiency of larger Microsoft Teams meetings, appoint a moderator. The person organising the meeting doesn’t have to take on the moderator’s role, especially if they’re busy or not fully knowledgeable on the topic. The moderator is key in guiding the meeting towards its goals and ensuring active participation from everyone. Their responsibility includes monitoring participants’ behavior to prevent any disruptions. Here are some successful moderator practices:

  • Set the Standard: Lead with your camera on to encourage video adoption as participants engage more visually when others do the same.
  • Clarify Meeting Protocol: Clearly explain how the meeting will run from the start. Whether questions are best at the end or if you prefer hand-raising for immediate queries, setting these expectations early helps maintain a smooth flow.
  • Foster the Right Atmosphere: Approach the meeting with respect, enthusiasm, and openness to create a welcoming space for all participants. It’s crucial to set aside any biases, ensuring a fair and impartial platform for discussion.

4. Share your screen

Screen sharing in Microsoft Teams is a powerful tool, especially when diving into intricate subjects or juggling various topics at once. Participants can share their desktops or specific applications, enhancing visual and direct communication.

Seeing visuals from the presenter’s screen helps participants grasp concepts quickly and accurately, reducing the need for lengthy explanations. This feature boosts engagement levels and fosters interactive dialogue, encouraging questions and clarifications.

5. Raise your hand and show reactions

A crucial element in maintaining order and encouraging participation in virtual meetings involves ensuring all attendees have the opportunity to contribute without disrupting the conversation’s flow. Microsoft Teams provides helpful features to support this within the “Reactions” section.

  • Raise Your Hand: Should you wish to share or add something, simply opt for the “Raise hand” feature. This action notifies the meeting host or presenter of your desire to contribute, facilitating a smoother transition for you to join the meeting without interrupting the ongoing dialogue. It mirrors the physical act of raising your hand in a traditional meeting setting, fostering an organised exchange of viewpoints.
  • Express Yourself with Reactions: In addition to verbal input, expressing emotions or showing support for ongoing topics can be essential. Microsoft Teams presents a range of reactions, such as Applause or Heart, enabling you to give feedback and demonstrate your agreement, enthusiasm, or approval during discussions without needing to speak up.

6. Mute non-speaking participants

Managing ambient disturbances is vital for the smooth running of virtual meetings. Unintended interruptions from non-contributing participants can disrupt the meeting’s flow and effectiveness. Luckily, Microsoft Teams features a muting function to cultivate a calm online environment for discussions.

This function allows the meeting host to mute their microphone and extend this action to others when necessary. It’s crucial for the host or assigned moderator to communicate in advance that participants not actively speaking will be muted. This proactive step ensures that the audience can fully engage with the presenter’s message without being distracted by background noise.

virtual meeting microsoft teams

7. Create breakout rooms

There are times when larger group meetings need to facilitate smaller discussions. Using the breakout rooms feature, the meeting organizer can create and oversee these smaller breakout spaces. This feature proves particularly useful during workshops, training sessions, or when exploring topics in-depth with sub-groups.

By dividing participants into these smaller, more manageable groups, each can delve into detailed discussions, brainstorming, or problem-solving. Subsequently, everyone can reconvene in the main meeting to share insights or conclusions.

8. Spotlight a video

In a meeting, shining a spotlight on a video can greatly improve focus on a speaker, especially during a presentation. To highlight someone’s video in Microsoft Teams, simply right-click on the person’s video you wish to feature, and choose “Spotlight.”

Confirm your choice by clicking “Spotlight” again. This action ensures the highlighted video remains the main focus for all participants, helping everyone in the meeting concentrate on the speaker’s message.

9. Choose a video layout

In Microsoft Teams, participants can choose from a variety of video layouts to enrich their meeting experience, ensuring optimal engagement and visibility for all attendees. To access the meeting controls and select More options (…), users can pick their preferred video layout.

  • Gallery: By default, meetings use a 3×3 video layout called Gallery. This view is handy for smaller groups, offering a balanced screen where up to nine participants can be seen at once. If the meeting has more than nine people, Teams will prioritize showing those with their video on or those speaking.
  • Large gallery: For meetings with many participants, the Large gallery feature provides a 7×7 video layout, allowing up to 49 attendees to be visible simultaneously. This meeting option needs at least ten participants to have their cameras active; if this condition isn’t met, or if no one is sharing video, choosing Large gallery from the menu is not possible.
  • Together mode: This mode creates a shared physical space, placing all participants in a unified background. This innovative concept promotes unity and collaboration. Users can personalise the experience by selecting Change scene, adjusting the background for all participants. Please note, Together mode is only available if the meeting has five or more participants.

10. Use the Whiteboard

The whiteboard feature in Microsoft Teams is a fantastic productivity tool. Unlike using PowerPoint in Teams, the Whiteboard helps you capture your ideas and messages, which is particularly useful when explaining complex topics to participants. It also adaptation to the audience’s needs/questions.

With the whiteboard feature, you can utilise various sketching elements to articulate your thoughts effectively. It proves to be an essential tool for conducting online tutorials, webinars, or explaining product features.

How Vantage 365 Can Help You to Improve Virtual MS Meetings?

At Vantage 365, we’re not just your typical consultancy; we’re your committed partner in unlocking the full potential of using Microsoft 365. Our team comprises seasoned experts with a talent for honing Microsoft’s suite to perfectly suit your business needs.

We are passionate about revolutionizing your operations with bespoke solutions that streamline workflows, enhance team collaboration, and safeguard your data. From the outset, we delve deep into understanding your business intricacies, developing tailored strategies and solutions just for you.

Whether you’re a budding startup or a sprawling enterprise, we’re here to propel your business forward, ensuring you maximize every bit of value from your Microsoft 365 investment. And because the digital world never rests, we’re by your side every step of the way, keeping you ahead of the game.

Ready to elevate your Microsoft experience? Get in touch now—we’d be delighted to demonstrate the possibilities.

FAQS

How do I make Microsoft team meetings more fun?

By injecting some fun into your Microsoft Teams meetings, you can turn the mundane into an event your team eagerly anticipates. To liven things up, consider hosting themed meetings where participants can choose virtual backgrounds or dress up to match the theme. Take advantage of Teams’ included games and Icebreakers during breaks to foster interaction and involvement. To boost engagement, introduce quizzes on meeting topics or industry-related trivia.

How do I make MS teams work better?

If using Teams app, try these tips to enhance the overall experience for everyone joining the meeting:

  • Keep Things Tidy with Channels: Use channels to organise discussions by topic. This helps team members easily locate chats and documents.
  • Keep Your Status Updated: Let others know when you’re available using the status feature. This reduces interruptions and makes communication smoother.
  • Master Keyboard Shortcuts: Get to grips with Teams’ shortcuts to speed up tasks and boost productivity.
  • Plan Meetings Ahead: Schedule meetings in advance to ensure everyone is prepared and informed.
  • Tailor Notifications: Customise your notification settings to focus on what matters most and avoid unnecessary alerts.
  • Explore Apps and Integrations: Check out the range of apps and integrations in Teams to improve collaboration and efficiency.
  • Review Meeting Notes Regularly: If meetings are recorded, make it a habit to revisit recordings and notes. This can be valuable for absentees or to recap key discussions.

Does MS Teams allow virtual video meetings?

Certainly! Microsoft supports virtual video meetings in Teams, fostering real-time collaboration and communication among team members, no matter where they are. Boasting HD video, personalised backgrounds, screen sharing, and “together mode”, MS Teams delivers a versatile platform for hosting meetings, webinars, and live events online. Whether it’s a casual team catch-up, a major presentation, or a worldwide conference, MS Teams ensures that virtual gatherings are efficient, engaging, and fruitful.

What is virtual appointment in Microsoft Teams?

A virtual appointment meeting in Microsoft Teams is a pre-arranged meeting that allows people to connect and communicate via audio and video, as well as chat, no matter where they are. This feature is particularly handy for businesses, educators, healthcare professionals, and other experts who need to conduct one-on-one or small group consultations, interviews, or discussions in a virtual setting.

Virtual appointments on MS Teams provide a personalised and interactive way to connect, offering features like screen sharing, file sharing, and real-time collaboration on documents. This allows meeting participants to have effective and efficient online meetings, just like in-person interactions, without the need to travel, making it a great solution for remote and hybrid work setups.

Scroll to Top