Microsoft Teams © Microsoft
Microsoft Teams © Microsoft

Here are our tips for EC and Branch officers running meetings for members on Teams.

Preparation

  • Practise. Set up a test meeting, and invite a friend or two to make sure that:
    • they can join the meeting
    • you can see what happens when people join the meeting
    • you’re comfortable with features such as viewing the attendee list, muting participants and sharing a document or presentation. You can learn more about sharing your screen from Microsoft’s Show your screen during a meeting article.
  • Organise help. Just as with meetings in person, it’s not possible to chair and take minutes at the same time. For large meetings, you might also need someone to admit attendees from the waiting room and monitor the chat, alerting you to questions. Helpers need to be set as presenters either in advance or during the meeting.
  • Arrive early so that you can make sure you’re comfortable and have all the materials you need to hand. People will begin to arrive from 15 minutes before the advertised start time, and admitting them in advance will enable a prompt start to the meeting as well as provide an opportunity to break the ice.

House Rules

With more than say 9 attendees it’s not possible for everyone to have a natural conversation, so there needs to be some rules to ensure everyone is able to participate. It’s important to explain these at the start of the meeting so that everyone is on the same page, as there will be some variation between organisers.

  • Muting
    • For smaller meetings, it may not be necessary for people to be muted on joining the meeting (Teams mutes new attendees automatically for meetings of more than 5 participants), but it’s helpful for everyone to be muted when they’re not talking. If this rule is not in place, the meeting can be disrupted by environmental noise, heavy breathing or rustling on microphones, partners asking if attendees would like a cuppa, children needing attention … the risk increases with every additional attendee.
    • Presenters have the ability to mute individuals or everyone (be careful about using this whilst another presenter is speaking!)
    • Teams does not notify an attendee that they have been muted, so they may not realise why you can’t hear them.
    • Once muted, you cannot unmute them. Only the attendee can unmute themselves, and they may not realise this or know how to fix it.
  • Questions
    • How will people participate? If they wish to speak, the best way is to use the “raise hand” button. It’s worthwhile making sure everyone knows how to do this at the start of the meeting, and that they need to cancel it once they’re done or if they change their mind.
  • Chat
    • It’s easy to be distracted by conversations happening in the meeting’s chat. If you don’t have someone who can monitor it for you and therefore allow you to ignore it, set aside time during the meeting to check it so that you don’t try to multi-task.

Who’s here?

  • Attendee list enables you to see who’s here. It’s a good place to see who’s raised their hand, it lists them in the order they raised it. If they forget, you can un-raise their hand from here after they’ve spoken.
  • Large gallery enables you to see up to 49 attendees at the same time. By default, you only see 9.
  • Together mode uses AI to provide alternative visualisations of up to 49 attendees. Currently there is just one, which places them in a lecture theatre setting, but more are planned.

Presentations

Once you’re comfortable with sharing your desktop or a specific window, it’s worthwhile learning how best to share presentations in your meetings.

YouTuber Kevin Stratvert shares some great tips in these videos:

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