The Top 9 Microsoft Teams Meeting Features You Might Be Missing Out On
Microsoft Teams is the ultimate solution for collaborating at work – it is Microsoft’s answer to programs such as Google Hangouts and Slack. Suppose you’ve ever needed to take part in a team project, you’ll appreciate the need for this solution. Each program is designed to enhance work collaboration and has a slightly different set of features, some of which you may need, others you may not.
Over the past year or so, Microsoft has added new features to Teams, focused on enhancing video meetings with colleagues and other co-workers. Here is an outline of the new Teams features you need to know and ways of using them.
1. Breakout Rooms
In all but the smallest meetings, it can be challenging to have a meaningful exchange of ideas. Basically, breakout rooms are mini-meeting rooms associated with a larger meeting. With them, people gather in small groups for open discussions and brainstorming sessions. Breakout rooms typically have most of the features of usual meetings, including a chat pane, participant video and audio feeds, and screen-sharing capabilities.
Setting up a breakout room is no easy task–you need to be a presenter or organizer with the privileges of a breakout room manager. In the course of the meeting, you can access this feature by clicking the rooms icon at the upper right of the window. Doing this will open a panel where you can create a breakout room(s) and either automatically assign people or do so manually.
You can also set up a breakout room(s) before the meeting. First, you need to open the meeting invites in Teams and then select breakout rooms. Finally, click on create rooms.
Among the tasks that breakout room managers can undertake include setting limits for breakout time sessions, renaming breakout rooms, dispatching announcements to various breakout rooms, and entering and leaving multiple breakout rooms.
2. Call Quality Monitor
Suppose the video or audio of your meeting is spotty or unclear, you can check what may be causing the situation. Click the three-dots More actions icon located at the top of your call window. Click Call Health from the menu that opens. A sidebar will appear on the right side of your window, showing the technical status of your network, video, audio, and screen sharing. For more information on how to read the call health stats, visit Microsoft’s page on Monitor call and meeting quality in Teams.
3. Live Transcription
Teams now has a Live Transcription – which is a written record of the spoken texts that takes place during a meeting. Live transcription identifies each speaker, is captured automatically while the meeting is in session, and is available during and after the meeting. This new Teams feature offers a transcript sidebar that showcases everything that’s being discussed in the meeting, complete with speaker attribution.
Live transcriptions can be useful for people who have hearing problems or those who aren’t completely fluent in the language spoken in a meeting. Also, anyone who gets momentarily distracted or arrives to the meeting late can catch up quickly by scrolling back through the transcript sidebar.
To begin a live transcription in a meeting, click the three-dots More actions icon at the upper right side of the window. From there, click Start transcription from the menu that opens. Meeting participants will see a notification informing them the meeting is being transcribed.
Alternatively, suppose you record a meeting (by clicking the More actions icon and then selecting Start recording), live transcription will be automatically turned on at the same time.
At the moment, Teams supports live transcription in 28 different languages. As such, you can change the transcribed text to the language that a member who doesn’t speak a given language, say English, is most comfortable with. You can do this by clicking the three-dot icon at the top of the transcription sidebar, selecting change spoken language, selecting a different language from the portfolio, and then clicking Confirm.
4. Revamped Whiteboard
Teams has integrated with Microsoft’s Whiteboard app, thereby allowing meeting participants to collaborate in real-time on a virtually-shared whiteboard. With this board, team members can add images, texts, sketches, notes, and more. The recently revamped model of Microsoft Whiteboard comes with a host of additional improvements, including over 40 new templates, numerous inking tool enhancements, reaction icons, and the ability to insert documents and images.
To launch this app when a meeting is in session, click the Share content icon (up arrow) located at the upper right of the meeting window. Afterwards, click the Microsoft Whiteboard on the panel that opens.
Whiteboard can also be added to a chat. First, open the chat. Whiteboard might already be listed as a tab on top of the chat window. Alternatively, you may need to click the More icon to open a small menu that lists Whiteboard on it. Suppose Whiteboard is listed as a tab; clicking it will launch the Whiteboard app in the chat.
You can also add the Whiteboard app to any of your Teams channels. To accomplish this, open the channel and click on the + icon that is located at the top of the channel. Click the Whiteboard icon on the “add a tab” pane that opens. Click the save button on the lower right to finalize the process of adding a new Whiteboard to your channel.
5. Presenter Mode
This feature allows presenters to add their video feed when sharing content in a Teams meeting. There are three video feed presenter modes, namely:
- Standout Mode: This presenter mode superimposes your video feeds, minus the background, so that only your video feed appears in the bottom right corner of the shared screen.
- Reporter Mode: This mode showcases content as if you were anchoring a live news broadcast. Your video feed and shared content are set against a screen-wide background image.
- Side-by-Side Mode: This presenter mode divides the sharing screen between your video feed and your shared content against a screen-wide background.
6. Keyboard Shortcuts Used in Hand Raising
The raise your hand keyboard shortcuts option was introduced in Teams back in May 2020. This feature enables meeting participants to quickly receive the attention of the organizer or presenter in the course of the meeting. When a participant clicks this icon, the presenter will receive a notification informing them that the participant wants to unmute to contribute to the discussion.
To lower or raise your hand and see who else has theirs raised, simply press Ctrl-Shift-K on Windows or ⌘-Shift-K on macOS. To enable the screen reader to read aloud a list of other participants raising their hands, press Ctrl-Shift-L on Windows or ⌘-Shift-L on macOS. (Read more about Microsoft Teams Shortcuts here).
7. Content From Camera
Content from the Camera feature enables you to easily share physical whiteboards and documents using in-built cameras and external USB cameras. This feature enhances the appearance of an object in a room, such as a whiteboard. Moreover, it has a special effect that makes you appear slightly transparent when your body, hand, or arm is in front of a whiteboard, over a document, or any other object.
To turn on this feature, click the share content icon (up arrow) located at the upper right of the meeting window. Next, click Content from Camera and Choose Document, Whiteboard, or Video on the panel that opens. In the preview window, you’ll receive instructions to point your device’s camera or a connected external camera to a document or Whiteboard. When your document or Whiteboard comes into focus, the content from the camera feature will enhance the legibility of images and words on it. To present this content to people in the meeting, click the Share button.
8. Meeting Recap That Summarizes Teams Meetings
This feature allows meeting participants to have an overview of critical information after the meeting comes to an end. Meeting Recap automatically generates the summary of the whole meeting and makes it available on the left sidebar of the Teams App. Meeting participants can view meeting recordings, transcripts, chat messages, and notes. You can view the summary in the meeting chat tab or detail tab.
9. Spotlighting Participants
Meeting presenters and organizers can spotlight specific meeting participants. When a meeting participant is spotlighted, their video feed will be displayed predominantly in the meeting window for everyone to see. Their video feed is typically pinned in a prominent on-screen position. This feature enables you to spotlight up to seven people at a time.
To spotlight someone, you can click the Show participants icon at the top of the screen to see a list of all participants present in the meeting. Right-click on a given participant’s name and then select spotlight from the menu that opens.
Alternatively, you can right-click on a given participant’s video (or your own) and then select spotlight on the menu that opens. (Suppose the video of at least one participant has been spotlighted, you will be given the option of adding a spotlight).
To remove an individual from the spotlight, first right-click on their video, and then from the menu that opens, select stop spotlighting.
OnServe Is Your Go-to Microsoft Partner for All Business Microsoft 365 Needs
If you’ve been leveraging Microsoft Teams, then you’ve probably experienced how its features help co-workers communicate and collaborate efficiently. Even so, Microsoft is frequently adding great new features.
Our experienced Microsoft 365 technicians at OnServe can walk you through ways of getting the most out of Teams and all other Microsoft 365 features. Contact us today to discuss your Microsoft 365 needs.
Thanks to our specialist friends at Velocity IT in Dallas for their help with this article. Learn more about their Dallas IT company.