Top 5 Microsoft Teams Features

MicrosoftTeamsFeatures

When thinking about what features I like most about Teams, I have to get past the fun features that give me the immediate gratification of fabulous group backgrounds in Teams Meetings and think about what’s really important to me on a day-to-day basis.  My list may be a little unconventional but read on as to what features I really like and why. 

In Reverse order:

5. Polls within Meetings

This feature is relatively new and I haven’t put it into full use yet, however, I have tested it out and it’s a great way of meeting a consensus or gathering feedback about an idea in a meeting and measuring peoples’ reactions. Do you sometimes struggle to get to the bottom of what has actually been agreed?  This feature will help you enormously and you can go back to it and check the decisionsfrom within the meeting chat at any time. 

4. Translation in Chats and Posts

With the virtual world being our “go to” environment these days, I think we are given opportunities to spread our customer base further afield.  I know that most of the world has good English speaking capability but wouldn’t it be nice if we could all communicate in our own language and still understand each other?  Perhaps we English speakers will learn something.  Teams allows you to do this and although I am no linguist, I have discovered that it includes many languages including those using Cyrillic rather than Roman alphabets.  Whatever language the message is typed in, you can translate it to your native language.  I have played with Welsh, Greek, Mandarin, Bengali, French and Spanish. I recommend giving it a try if you work in a multinational company. 

3. Teams Settings

It’s surprising how much a look at your settings can make your life easier.  Did you know that you can block nuisance calls or delegate your calls to someone else while you are unavailable? Out of Office deals with your emails, but using call delegate allows you to nominate people to take your calls (or make them) while you are off. That way you don’t come back to a voicemail full of items that your colleagues could have dealt with in your absence.  Ever missed that call back from a contact you have been courting for some time only to lose as they don’t want to leave a message.  All these things can be avoided, and that’s not all!  When you are busy presenting, by default, Teams will not allow you to be disturbed and often that’s what you want, however if an emergency came up and someone needed to interrupt you, you could choose who you were willing to be interrupted by in the settings.  You can also set a status message to inform others of what you are doing so that they can see the message before messaging you.  This can be set to expire after an hour, a day or custom timescales.  I use it when I take my dog for a walk at lunchtime.  Other useful settings can reduce your email notifications if you feel that MS Teams sends you too much.  Go Explore your settings. You won’t regret it.  

2. Screen Sharing

Being able to show a colleague my screen is so important these days.  I can’t get them to come and look at something at my desk any more so sharing my screen is agreat (dare I say even better) option. When I can’t make myself understood, I can show them the problem and they can take over control when I don’t understand what the techies are telling me to do.  Of course, I also using it for training where I can show people how to do something live and then the back up is a video recording of it if they need to go back and check after the training.  So many features are underused in here including the Whiteboard.  Don’t be scared to give it a go.  Test it with your colleagues and then when you really need it, you will know what to do.

1. Pop Out Window

My absolute favourite thing now in Teams is the fact that when I participate in a meeting, I have the meeting as an independent window to the rest of my Teams environment.  This means that during the meeting, I can put the standard Teams environment on a separate screen and research information within my Teams environment to answer questions that are being asked regarding project statuses etc without losing my meeting.  I can even make calls (which puts me on hold in the meeting).  I can also demonstrate to audiences, how to do something without them losing the meeting window.  Prior to this, meetings would be reduced to a tiny window confusing new users and making it difficult to get back to the meeting.  Having 2 screens makes this much more useful.

What's next for Teams?

There are better things coming too!  Look out for live transcribing of conversations within meetings which is currently in development.  No more minute taking?!?  Live reactions is coming too and chat bubbles so that you don’t miss the chat conversations taking place in your meetings.  Remember to use your Voice to vote for features that you really want to see.  My personal favourite here is being able to transfer organiser status to someone else in a meeting.  User Voice is where you do this. Customer Feedback for Microsoft Office 365 (uservoice.com)