Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: Take Control of a PowerPoint Presentation

When I started doing public speaking I always used to prefer doing it alone. I prefered it since I had control over timing, control over the content and control over the narrative. Doing community work the last 18 months has completely changed my perspective and I am happy to say I enjoy joint sessions and have already submitted some this year. Now, when doing sessions virtually - and I have had a lot of experience of this from running a virtual usergroup - there is the issue of one person speaking (the presenter) and another controling the deck. This can lead to awkward transitions or worse - one calling out the other to transition which breaks the flow of the narrative. We therefore need to ensure a smooth handover of control from one presenter to another for maximum impact

Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: Recording a Teams Meeting

Little needs to be said here about why meetings need to be recorded. There are too many reasons to list. Yet we can probably agree that the principle ones are an organisation has to record them for compliance purposes, someone needs to watch the meeting at a later date or people want to have a record of the meeting when important decisions are made. Recording is very easy to do in Teams - however the awareness of everything around recording - such as compliance, where the recording is stored, who can play it in Teams after it has been recorded, can be low

Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: Pinning participants

Sometimes we want to focus on specific views or people within a meeting. This could be for several reasons - an external camera is directing at a screen or whiteboard, or someone is the principle speaker or meeting lead. The meeting could be in a Q&A format where you have a speaker asking questions and then multiple people rotate to provide answers. It could be for training. It could be for recording purposes. Microsoft Teams is designed to automatically show the last 4 speakers in the main 2 x 2 grid. Pinning participants allows us to deviate away from that or choose who we want to have in that 2 x 2 grid

Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: Playing video with audio

I have to deliver a course tomorrow. I also need to play videos that would be worthwhile for the learners since many in the class learn visually. I need the other participants to be able to hear the audio on those videos for the full experience. Up until last year, that wasn't possible in Teams, but there was a small feature that was introduced that meant that video with audio could now be used in meetings. This works whether the video is in a site such as YouTube, or embedded in a PowerPoint

Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: How do I mute or remove others?

Most people are consumate professionals in meetings. In the twelve, almost thirteen years I have worked in IT I have very rarely encountered others in which I have had to ask to leave, or leave myself. Yet it has happened. And for most people, it has happened. Virtual meetings are no different than in-person meetings in this regard - and there will be an occassion when you will need to mute someone else or eject them from the meeting. In reality - 99 times out of 100 - mute is needed more to remove the background noise when someone accidently joins with the audio on, and removal is simply a quick way to remove. The organiser needs to know how to do these quickly and discretely, particularly if the meeting is in mid-flow

Teams: #FightCorona – In The Meeting: How do I blur my background?

Background blur has been a feature that has always gone down well since it was first released back in 2018. Most people I speak to naturally think it was designed either for privacy or to delimit the risk of what could happen in the background - something Microsoft marketeers capitalised on as shown in this marketing video and the infamous case of the BBC News reporter. Background blur was actually designed as an accessibility feature so that deaf users could better lip read the speaker and phase out any visual distractions. It is very easy to implement when either joining or when you are within the meeting

Teams: #FightCorona – Rescheduling and cancelling meetings

It happens to all of us. Sometimes we can't make it. Sometimes we have something that crops up meaning that we need to reschedule or cancel. Whilst this probably isn't going to be the most exciting article of this series, it is one that is both neccessary and fundamental regarding how we manage meetings in Teams