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Are you living on Microsoft Teams?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

The coronavirus has had a huge impact on all of our lives and more and more of us are relying on Microsoft Teams to communicate with our work colleagues.

Here we'll share a few hints and tips on how to get the best out of your Teams program.

Always add a subject to a new Channel message

Its easy to get carried away and dash off a quick message to everyone in the team, but if you expand the new message box you can add a subject. This makes it clear to your colleagues what the discussion is for so they can post their responses to the appropriate topic. Subjects appear in bold text so they stand out.

Expand the message box by clicking the Format button - you can then add your subject and message.

The power of the pin

Not all of your chats will be important. It's likely, though, that you will want to quickly return to the ones that are. You can pin up to 15 chats, although you may want fewer to keep the list manageable. Once you've pinned several chats, you can drag and drop them up and down the list to arrange them by order of importance.

To pin a chat, right-click on it and select Pin

You can also pin the channels where your most important discussions take place. (If you're a member of several teams this is a great little timesaver). Again just right-click the channel and select Pin.

Get your notifications and activity feed under control

By default, Microsoft Teams assumes you want to be notified about pretty much anything that goes on in the program - from messages and mentions to likes and reactions (and more!). However, if your activity feed is really busy, things can soon get out of control and you lose focus on the important stuff.

By using the program Settings, you can decide which default notifications you see, and how you see them.

If you don't want to see notifications for a specific team or channel, you can hide it. (Right-click on it and select Hide) Although you won't then see it in your list, you'll still be notified if someone @mentions you and you'll still be able to access it when you need to.

You can also mute a chat to turn off all notifications if things get a bit out of hand. (Right-click and select Mute)

Don't overuse @mentions

@mentions are used to let someone know when you want them to see or do something. However if you do this too many times, it can get really annoying for the recipient - don't forget in a busy team, you may not be the only person making use of this feature.

Have a successful meeting

Make sure all of your meetings go as planned and don't descend into chaos:

  • Put someone in charge of the meeting

  • Have an agenda and make sure you stick to it

  • Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak but not at the same time! Remind attendees to mute their microphones, or use the Mute all option in the People panel if they are unwilling or unable to do so. (Remember this may be new technology to a lot of your colleagues)

  • Use video where your system and bandwith support it

  • Use the Chat panel to record any questions that you need to follow up

Keep up to date

Microsoft introduces new features to Teams on a fairly regular basis, so watch out for any new developments to see how you can make use of them.

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