Microsoft Teams © Microsoft
Microsoft Teams © Microsoft

Preparing

What’s Microsoft Teams?

Teams is a Microsoft application that enables people to collaborate. One of its key features is the ability to hold virtual meetings online, much like Zoom or Skype.

Do I need a Microsoft Teams account?

No. You can join a meeting without having a Microsoft Teams account. You can learn more from Microsoft’s Join a meeting without a Teams account article.

Do I need a computer to use it?

You can join a Teams meeting from a computer (Windows or Mac) or mobile device (Android or iOS) such as a tablet or smartphone.

Do I need to install any software or apps?

If you’re using a computer with a compatible web browser (such as recent versions of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge), you have the option of joining from your web browser without installing any software when you follow the link for the meeting.

How do you want to join?
How do you want to join?

Using the app can provide a better experience, and is necessary if you’re not using a compatible web browser, or are connecting from your tablet or smartphone. We recommend you download and install it in advance of the meeting. You can download Microsoft Teams from http://teams.microsoft.com/downloads.

If you already have it installed, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re on the latest version by clicking on your image in the top-right corner of Teams and selecting “Check for updates” from the menu.

Do I need a webcam?

It would be great to see you and would go a little way towards making the experience more like a ‘real’ meeting – but it’s not necessary.

I’m joining from a computer – do I need a microphone or a headset?

Only if you wish to speak! Microsoft Teams also has the ability to type a message into the chat panel.

Is Microsoft Teams accessible for people with a disability?

Some of the accessibility benefits of Microsoft Teams include the ability to

  • adjust the volume
  • view speech as live captions
  • see the presenter’s slides up close
  • type your questions

You can learn more from Microsoft’s Accessibility overview of Microsoft Teams article.

Joining

How do I join?

You can only join by clicking on the link you will have been sent.

Do I have to give my name?

If you’re not using a Teams account, you’ll be asked to enter your name.

If it’s a members-only meeting it’s important that you join using the name we have on the Labour Party membership database as we’ll be using this to verify who can be admitted. You can check this at https://my.labour.org.uk

How do I make sure my camera and mic are switched on?

Before joining the meeting, you can switch your camera on/off, your mic on/off or click the cog icon to choose which microphone, speakers and camera you wish to use.

We recommend joining with your mic off. You can always turn it on during the meeting if you wish to speak.

Join meeting
Join meeting
Join meeting screen coming October 2020 © Microsoft
Join meeting screen coming October 2020 © Microsoft

Why am I in the waiting room?

On clicking Join Now, you might be put into the waiting room. The presenter might be completing their final preparations, or if it’s a members-only meeting the organiser will be checking your name and updating their register. Don’t worry, you’ll be admitted to the meeting in due course.

Participating

Why am I muted?

Every organiser or presenter will set their own house rules in order to make sure the meeting runs efficiently. These may change depending on the purpose or format of the meeting or number of attendees. As a rule of thumb, mute your microphone until you need to speak. This will prevent noise from your environment interrupting the call, which would otherwise be distracting for the presenter and other attendees.

In a large meeting, the presenter might mute attendees on joining. Before you speak, check whether you’re muted – although the presenter can mute you, they cannot un-mute you – you alone are able to do this from the meeting toolbar.

What if I have something to say?

The organiser or presenter should explain how they manage participation. If you’re unsure, two good options are:

  • using the “raise your hand” button on the meeting toolbar. You can learn more from Microsoft’s Raise your hand in a Teams meeting article.
  • typing a message into the chat. You can launch the chat by pressing the “show conversation” button on the meeting toolbar
Meeting toolbar
Meeting toolbar

Why can’t I see any video?

Teams has a setting to hide inbound video streams. This can be useful if you have a poor quality internet connection, and replaces videos of attendees with their picture or initials. You can switch this on and off via the … button on the meeting toolbar.

Turn off incoming video
Turn off incoming video

Why can’t I see everybody?

By default, Teams displays the video of the current speaker, plus up to 8 of the most active attendees. If the presenter is sharing their screen or a presentation, that content fills the screen instead.

Gallery view © Microsoft
Gallery view © Microsoft

If there are more than 9 people in your meeting, you can choose to view up to 49 by selecting Large Gallery from the … icon on the meeting toolbar.

Large Gallery © Microsoft
Large Gallery © Microsoft

You can learn more from Microsoft’s Using video in Microsoft Teams article

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