In a world where the majority of the workforce are moving into a hybrid work environment, online meetings have become increasingly crucial to stay connected and collaborate. It’s important to make sure our meetings are productive, and there are tools built within Teams that can help us run meetings more effectively. Here are my 5 top tips to run an effective meeting:
- Manage meeting settings before the meeting
If you are the organiser of a Teams meeting, you can customise the meeting settings before the meeting begins. You can change the attendees permissions, remove chat, change lobby settings and more. It’s a good idea to make sure you are happy with your meeting settings before the meeting if you want to change who waits in the lobby, if you want others to be able to present and if you want your attendees to be able to unmute.
To do this, open the meeting invite in your Teams calendar and select the 3 dots and then meeting options.
This will then open a browser with meeting options like the ones below:
From here I can change the chat, lobby, presenting permissions and unmute option. Changing these settings will only apply to the one meeting you have opened, not all meetings.
2. Encourage attendees to use reactions and chat
Teams meetings are typically 30 minutes – 1 hour long, and in that time there tends to be a lot of content to cover. To ensure your meeting is productive as possible, it’s a good idea to recommend your attendees use reactions and chat to ask their questions. When I start a teams meeting, I will always mention this at the beginning, which means I can get through the content, gauge how my attendees are responding by the reactions, and then pause to check questions in the chat as and when is appropriate.
The reactions in Teams is a great feature for your attendees to show their engagement in the meeting, without having to unmute. Reactions can be used to show appreciation, or give a round of applause, or even raising hands to ask questions.
The entire meeting can see the reactions, which pops up for a few seconds over your camera in a meeting:
3. Use meeting notes to take meeting minutes
During the meeting, there will often be times where meeting notes or minutes need to be taken. There is a meeting note app within teams meetings that help you create notes and automatically share those notes with the entire meeting.
While in a Teams Meeting, select the 3 dots then meeting notes. A meeting note panel will then appear on the right side of your Teams window:
When you click take notes, Teams will open the meeting notes as a tab in the meeting chat. This allows you to take notes as you please, and because the notes have opened in the meeting chat, everyone in the meeting will be able to go to the meeting chat and access the notes.
You can do this while the meeting is ongoing, and find the notes there once the meeting has finished in the meeting chat. If other attendees open their notes, it will show up in the same tab in the chat, just a different section:
4. Use Microsoft Forms to get feedback and poll
A great tool to do a live poll or ask for feedback after a meeting, is Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms is an application that you get as part of Office 365, and can be used in Teams Meetings.
If you want to run a live poll in a Teams Meeting, first just open the meeting chat, then type @forms and choose forms:
Then after you have chosen Forms, you need to ask your poll question. Simply type your question and then the options followed by commas:
Hit enter on your keyboard, and the form will be automatically created in the meeting chat. Your attendees can vote on their chosen option, and the results will update live. Everyone in the meeting can see the results, but will not see who has voted:
You can open up Microsoft Forms in your Office 365 portal and select the Form to view the results. Note only the person who created the Form can do this:
5. Download the meeting transcription
When your meeting has ended, you can download the meeting transcription to help with meeting minutes or actions.
The meeting needs to be recorded in order for you to access the transcript. Once your team meeting has finished, you will see any recording in the meeting chat history.
To access the transcription, we need to upload that recording into Microsoft Stream (which is an application you have access to in Office 365).
First open Microsoft Stream in your Office 365 portal (portal.office.com). Then select create and then upload:
Stream will then ask you to either drag and drop a file, or upload a file. Now, Teams autotically stores your Teams recording in OneDrive for Business in a folder called Recordings. When I choose to upload a file from my OneDrive, I can see the folder:
When I open that folder, I can see all the recorded meetings in Teams:
All I need to do is select the recording, and it will upload to Stream. Once this has been uploaded, you will see the transcription on the right hand side of your video:
To download a copy of the transcription, click on the 3 dots under your video and select update video details:
Then download the file from here:
If you want to learn more about the transcription feature, check out my how-to video on my YouTube channel: How to use the transcription feature in Teams.