Advice when using Teams for meetings
Teams is a great application for collaborating and communicating with colleagues across Imperial, providing single-point access to conversations, files, notes, meetings and tasks for teams of any size.
There are some useful tips that will help you make the most of Teams and ensure your conversations and meetings work effectively.
Meetings and calls are better on the desktop application, so make sure you download this first. You can also read about how to join a Teams meeting on the Microsoft help centre website.
If you're organising a Teams meeting, you can watch this short tutorial video on how to set the meeting options through Teams.
Check your settings before you start
Before you join a meeting it's good practice to check your connection settings. You can access these in the top right corner of the application by clicking on your profile picture and choosing Settings, then Devices. You can make a test call to check your video, audio and network settings.
Nominate a meeting chair
For larger, more formal meetings, the meeting will run more smoothly if a Chair or Host leads the conversation and establishes rules. Participants can comment in the meeting chat thread or raise their hands (if video is enabled) to indicate when they have something to say without disrupting the flow of the meeting.
It’s nice to enable your video to provide a more engaging, personal method of communicating with colleagues. However for larger meetings the use of video can place too much load on the connection and can occasionally cause performance issues. In such cases you can choose to turn off your video when you’re not speaking, but activate when you want to communicate.
Use background blur
You can blur your background so colleagues can’t see anything behind or around you. It can minimize distractions and provide a level of privacy.
Disable audio when you're not speaking
It’s good practice to mute yourself when you’re not speaking so that background noise on the call is minimised. You can amend this setting using the toolbar (see image below).
Mute other people on the call if there’s background noise
You can choose to mute a colleague if they’re not speaking and their microphone is picking up too much background noise. Please note: muting a colleague will mute them for everyone on the call, and they may not realise they’re muted.
Use the meeting chat
Every meeting comes with its own conversation thread where you can add notes without interrupting the meeting flow. For example you can use this area to indicate you have something to say, to share a link to a resource or indicate that you have to leave the call.
Use the meeting notes
Every meeting comes with its own notes panel where all participants can add notes. This can be useful for recording actions and follow-up tasks.
Record your meeting
You can record each meeting and make it available for colleagues who may have missed it. The recording will automatically be uploaded to Microsoft Stream with captions and transcript added. Make sure you get the consent of all participants before activating the recording.
Navigate around Teams during an ongoing meeting
During a meeting you are free to navigate around Teams, perhaps to check other files or your calendar. When you do this the meeting window will minimise in the top left corner of the application.
During meetings you'll see the following toolbar and menu, which provides a range of options:
- Show device settings - opens a panel where you can check your audio and video settings.
- Show meeting notes - opens a panel where participants can add actions and notes for the meeting.
- Show meeting details - key information about the meeting.
- Enter full screen - enlarges the video window of the call. This can be a useful way of enhancing the view when a colleague is sharing their screen.
- Start video with a blur (or blur my background) - blurs everything behind and around you.
- Turn on live captions - Teams will automatically transcribe what is being said by each colleague.
- Keypad - you won't need to use this option.
- Start recording - this will create a recording of your meeting and upload it to Microsoft Stream.
- Turn off/on incoming video - this will disable the video for all meeting participants, apart from your own.
- Turn camera on/off - this setting controls your own camera.
- Mute/unmute - this setting controls your microphone.
- Share - allows you to share your whole desktop, browser or a particular application (e.g. Word document).
- Show conversation - opens a panel where participants can access the meeting chat thread and add comments.
- Show participants - opens a panel were you can view the participants (attending and invited) of the meeting. You can use this panel to mute specific participants.
- Hang up - leave the meeting.