Group chats in Microsoft Teams is a great way to chat and work on files with a group of people without having to create a whole Team. This is a much better way to collaborate if you have a one-off or very short term task/presentation to complete, because Teams are designed for long-term collaboration.
To start a group chat, you just need to click on the pencil icon and start a new chat, then type in the names or email addresses of the colleagues you want to work with.
Now that you have your group chat, here are my 5 ways to improve it!
- Rename your group chat
When you type a message in the group chat, a pencil icon will appear beside the group allowing you to change the group name:
Changing the group chat name makes it easier for the participants to see what the topic is, for example a presentation you are working on. Changing the name makes it easier to search, when you need to find the chat again, and it will make it easier to pin point the chat in your chat history:
2. Add tabs to customise the group chat
You can customise your group chat by adding tabs to resources that are relevant to the work you are doing. This works in the same way as Channel tabs. Simply click on the plus button and choose which resource you want to add. This could be a master presentation, website or Planner for task management:
In this example, I have added a URL for a website. It will appear directly within the group chat, meaning it’s easy for my colleagues to access:
3. Remove chat history from new participants
To view the participants in your group chat, click on the participant button on the top right of the group chat window:
From here you can decide to leave the group chat, meaning you won’t receive any messages or be able to send any messages in the chat.
You can also add people. When you add someone to the group chat, you can choose to remove the chat history for that new participant or only include chat history from a certain number of days:
Removing the chat history is useful if your conversation has been confidential, private or not relevant to the new participant.
4. Create a new meeting directly from the group chat
If you have been working on something with your group, you may need to schedule a meeting for everyone to attend to discuss the topic or piece of work. You can very easily do this from the group chat. Click on the calendar icon at the bottom of the group chat window:
This will open up a new meeting window with the group participants already added to the meeting. Simply type in your title, select date/time and schedule!
All the meeting participants will receive an email and can accept or decline the meeting.
5. Use Forms to poll
Polling is a great way to get feedback or choose a date/time as a group. You can use Forms to help you poll in a group chat. Click on the Forms icon at the bottom of your group chat window:
This will open a Forms window, where you can add your question and options. You can also customise your Form by allowing group participants to choose multiple answers, keep the responses anonymous and to automatically share results after voting – giving you a real time poll.
When you hit save, a Forms card will appear in the group chat with a button to vote:
It will also add a card to show the live results from the poll:
For more tips on using Teams chat, check out my other blog: 5 Top Tips when using Microsoft Teams Chat.