Staying involved in your network can be challenging if you’re not seeing them every day. Thankfully, these Microsoft Teams features make it easy to not only stay in contact, but to organize your communications, keep a detailed record of everything said, and keep the chat flow from overwhelming you.
A team is a collection of people, content, and tools. It’s a group, and you decide what it’s for and how it works. Conversations, files, and notes across team channels are only visible to members of the team. The best thing about teams is that they’re highly flexible. Make your team private, and it becomes invite-only. Make it public, and anyone in the organization can join (up to 10,000 members). Maybe you need to put together a team to manage an upcoming product launch and once that’s done, the team folds. Or maybe you launch a team for the entire accounting department, and that one exists as long as the department does.
If you need to organize your people or content in a team, you can do so with channels. Organize by topic, goals, projects, disciplines, deadlines—whatever you want, you pick the channels. All the files you share in a channel are stored in SharePoint. You can keep your channels open to everyone in a team or make them private if you need a select audience. Channels are where all your communication happens.
For more organization, you can use apps and tabs within a team. To find an app, go to Apps on the left-hand side and either search an app or browse the app categories. Once the app is located, the user clicks Add. The app can then be added as a tab in channels, group chats, or individual conversations through the Add a tab button. Tabs, on the other hand, allow you to display rich and interactive web content to your teams.
Use the Teams app to send meeting invites. To join a Teams meeting, you just need a link. It’s just that simple.
Sometimes it’s easier to doodle an idea than write it out, and for that, your team can use a shared digital canvas—or a whiteboard, as the kids say. You can share a whiteboard with everyone in a Teams meeting, letting everyone see and use it. After the meeting, the whiteboard gets saved in a tab labeled Whiteboard and in the Board gallery in the Microsoft Whiteboards app. If you need, you’ll be able to see a whole history of your meeting whiteboards.
Speaking of saving things for posterity, Teams comes with automatic transcription and cloud recording. Every second of all of your meetings and group calls can be saved to the cloud, so long as you have Microsoft Stream. You can listen to old recordings or search the transcripts with a keyword, meaning you’ll never have to rely on incomplete meeting notes again.
Teams is as much about organizing files and content as it is about organizing people, and you’ll be able to use Teams to see previews of more than 320 file types, view document life-cycles, pin files to the top, and more. Of course, you’ll want copies of the most important files, and you can save those directly from Teams to your desktop with the click of a button.
You can integrate Teams with public switched telephone network (PSTN) calling. There are a few ways to do this, including direct routing and Microsoft Calling plans. The calling plans work with a cloud-based subscription, which is great because it means no additional hardware. You can also use your existing PSTN trunk with direct routing, connecting to the Microsoft Teams Cloud PBX. If you want to go with direct routing, you’ll need a Session Border Controller, so consider a virtual Session Border Controller like Think365 Cloud Voice by ThinkTel.
The real-time chat feed can get overwhelming, particularly on a big team. That’s why you can use @ mentions, which allows you to separate your personal messages and to-do lists from other less relevant conversations.
If you need to stay focused, you can mute any conversation in Teams. Just remember to unmute when you’re ready to talk to your team again.
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