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.

Meeting etiquette

Meetings and calls are better accessed via the desktop application rather than your internet browser, so it's a good idea to download the Teams desktop application first.

You can read about how to join a Teams meeting on the Microsoft help centre website and read our guidance on how to use Teams successfully.

Set attendee permissions

If you're organising a Teams meeting, you can watch this short tutorial video on how to set the meeting options through Teams. This includes settings for participants to wait in a lobby area and for assigning roles to attendees (organizer/presenter/attendee). For more formal meetings you may wish to force all attendees to wait in a lobby until you're ready to start the meeting.

Find out more about roles in Teams meeting.

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 and establish engagement rules (e.g. raise hands)

For larger, more formal meetings, the meeting will run more smoothly if a Chair or Host leads the conversation and establishes rules. For example, it may be more appropriate for attendees to pose questions or add comments in the meeting chat thread or raise their hands (either physically or via the 'raise your hand' button) to indicate when they have something to say without disrupting the flow of the meeting. The Host can then prompt relevant attendees to speak.

Enable video?

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.

For smaller groups, enabling your video can enhance the experience for all. However, enabling/disabling your video is a matter of personal preference.

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. Alternatively you can add a background image instead.

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

Attendees 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. Attendees can disable their video if they don't wish for their image to be captured as part of 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. Teams meetings open in a pop-out window, so you're free to use the rest of the application as appropriate.

In-meeting options

During meetings you'll see the following toolbar and menu, which provides a range of options:

Teams meeting options

  1. 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, download a list of attendees or manage permissions.
  2. Show conversation - opens a panel where participants can access the meeting chat thread and add comments.
  3. Raise your hand or show live reactions - raising your hand will add a notification to the chat indicating that you wish to speak. You (or another participant) will need to lower your hand as appropriate to remove the indicator in the meeting chat. The other reactions briefly appear over your video screen for other participants to see. The reactions include: laugh, applause, heart and like.
  4. Breakout rooms - only meeting organisers will see this option, which allows you to split participants into breakout rooms where group work/discussion can be held before returning to the main meeting.
  5. Turn camera on/off - this setting controls your own camera.
  6. Mute/unmute - this setting controls your microphone.
  7. Share - allows you to share your whole desktop, browser or an open application (e.g. PowerPoint).
  8. Leave - either leave the call or end the meeting (if you are the organiser). This latter option will end the meeting for all participants.
  9. Show device settings - opens a panel where you can check your audio and video settings.
  10. Call health - opens a panel showing analytics on your video, audio and screen sharing technical performance.
  11. Show meeting options - opens a panel for the meeting organiser to customise settings for the meeting, including whether partipicants are able to share content, mute/unmute themselves, contribute to the meeting chat, react or bypass the lobby. 
  12. Show meeting notes - opens a panel where participants can add actions and notes for the meeting.
  13. Show meeting info - key information about the meeting, including the joining link.
  14. Gallery - by default this view is selected, which shows up to 9 participants in a 3x3 grid.
  15. Large gallery - this view will show up to 49 participants in a 7x7 grid. A normal Teams meeting can accommodate up to 300 participants.
  16. Together mode - arrange video-enabled attendees into a virtual lecture theatre arrangement.
  17. Focus - available when content is being shared by another participant. It will hide video feeds so you can focus on what's being shared.
  18. Full screen - enables full screen view of the meeting.
  19. Apply background effects - choose from sample images, a blurred background or upload your own background.
  20. Turn on live captions - Teams will automatically transcribe what is being said by each colleague.
  21. Start recording - this will create a recording of your meeting and upload it to Microsoft Stream. You will need to get the consent of other participants if you wish to record the meeting.
  22. Don't show chat bubbles - during the meeting, if you have the chat panel closed, new chat messages will appear in a pop-up bubble on your screen. You can switch these off.
  23. Dial pad - you won't need to use this option.
  24. Turn off/on incoming video - this will disable the video for all meeting participants, apart from your own.
  25. Help - link to the Microsoft Teams online help and learning centre.