How to improve collaboration with Microsoft Teams meetings

    Are you looking to improve your digital workplace experience one meeting at a time? Explore the ins and outs of Microsoft Teams meetings.

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    Working from home has recently become a daily routine for many people and will likely remain a more common reality from now on. This means keeping in touch with colleagues and customers via digital tools has become increasingly more important.

    In that regard, Microsoft Teams has become a frequently used platform for daily business activities. And from all the Teams features, the most popular tool might well be in the use of Teams meetings.

    So what better time to grasp all the functionalities Teams Meetings has to offer? Let’s do it!

    There are different ways to start a Teams Meeting

    You can start a Teams meetings in two different ways: a standalone meeting or a Teams channel meeting. (If you’re not sure what a Teams channel is, we recommend you watch our Getting started with MS Teams: The basics online tutorial.)

    The main difference between the two is that the meetings aren’t accessible in the same way in your Microsoft Teams app. The assets created and shared during the meeting aren’t stored the same way either.

    We’ll look at how both the meeting types work, how participants are to access the meeting, how assets are stored, and some tips to help you choose which will ensure the best virtual meeting experience for you and your team.

    1. Standalone Teams Meeting

    One way to create a Teams meeting invite is via MS Outlook or the MS Teams Calendar. You create a new meeting invite, select “Teams Meeting,” select your participants, date and time, and fill in a subject. MS Outlook or MS Teams will automatically create a Teams Meeting for the meeting invite, which participants can join by clicking the generated link.

     Creating a standalone Teams meeting invitation via Outlook
    Creating a standalone Teams meeting invitation via Outlook

    Access to the meeting

    All meeting participants receive a meeting request in their MS Outlook mailbox. The meeting invite for a standalone meeting is shown in the MS Outlook Calendar and the MS Teams Calendar of the organizer and participants of the meeting.

    A standalone meeting will also remain accessible through the Teams Chat, but only if at least one of the participants sent messages, took notes, used the interactive whiteboard or uploaded a file during the meeting.

    Meeting assets

    During a Teams Meeting, you can create and share several assets. These can be accessed during and after the meeting, via the meeting placeholder in the Teams Calendar or Chat app:

    • Posts and meeting recording in the meeting’s chat
    • Files uploaded for the meeting
    • Meeting notes created and edited for the meeting
    • Interactive whiteboard created and edited for the meeting

    In case of a recurring meeting, the assets of the different meetings in the series can all be accessed via the same meeting placeholder in the Teams calendar or chat app.

     

    Creating a standalone Teams meeting invitation via Outlook

    Creating a standalone Teams meeting invitation via Outlook

    Storage of meeting assets

    For a standalone meeting:

    • The shared posts are stored in the meeting participant’s MS Outlook mailbox, in hidden folders.
    • The created and uploaded files and the meeting notes are stored in the participant’s OneDrive and automatically shared with all meeting participants.
    • The interactive whiteboard is stored in the MS Whiteboard application and automatically shared with all meeting participants.
    • The meeting recording is stored in MS Stream and automatically shared with all meeting participants

    As a result, all meeting assets can only be accessed by the meeting organizer and participants.

     

    2. Teams channel meeting

    Another way to create a Teams Meeting is through a specific channel in the MS Teams application. You can do so by browsing to the channel and creating a Teams Meeting on the channel’s posts tab.

    Creating a Teams Meeting on the channel’s posts tab

    Creating a Teams Meeting on the channel’s posts tab

    You select the meeting participants, date and time to schedule a meeting (you can also start an ad-hoc meeting) and add a title/subject. The channel’s members are by default all invited to the meeting. MS Teams will automatically create a Teams Meeting for this invite so participants can join in by clicking on it.


    How to schedule a meeting in MS Teams
    How to schedule a meeting in MS Teams

    Access to the meeting

    All participants selected for the meeting as well as channel members will receive a meeting invite in their MS Outlook mailbox. By default, this will also create a meeting request in the channel’s O365 group mailbox.

    The meeting invite for a channel meeting is shown in the MS Outlook Calendar and the MS Teams Calendar of the organizer and participants of the meeting. The channel meeting is also shown in the ‘Posts’ tab of the channel.

    After the meeting has taken place, the channel meeting can still be accessed by the channel members via the Teams Calendar and channel’s posts.

     Access the channel meeting via the channel’s posts

    Access the channel meeting via the channel’s posts

    Meeting assets

    The assets created and shared for the channel Teams Meeting are available in the channel:

    • The meeting chat and meeting recordings are accessible via the ‘Posts’ tab in the channel. In case of a recurring meeting the chat of the different meeting occurrences can all be accessed in the replies to the same post in the channel’s ‘Posts’ tab.
    • Files uploaded for the meeting are accessible in the channel’s ‘Files’ tab. All files are stored in the channel’s root folder.
    • Meeting notes created and edited for the meeting are accessible via a ‘Meeting notes’ tab in the channel. For each meeting, a separate wiki page is created and for each occurrence of a recurring meeting a new page section is created.

    Access to the meeting assets in the Teams channel

    Access to the meeting assets in the Teams channel

    All the above-mentioned assets can also be accessed via the meeting’s details in the Teams Calendar app, but only by browsing the chat conversation. However, it’s good to know that channel meetings aren’t accessible via the Teams Chat app.

    Unfortunately, the interactive Whiteboard created and edited during a channel meeting isn’t easily accessible via the channel. To see it, you should check directly in the MS Whiteboard app instead.

    Storage of meeting assets

    For a channel meeting:

    • The shared posts are stored in the O365 Group’s MS Outlook mailbox, in hidden folders.
    • The meeting recording is stored in MS Stream and automatically shared with the O365 Group.
    • The created and uploaded files are stored in the MS SharePoint folder of the channel.
    • The meeting notes are stored in the MS SharePoint folder of the channel.
    • The interactive whiteboard is stored in the Whiteboard application and automatically shared with the O365 Group.

    As a result, all the above-mentioned meeting assets can be accessed by all channel members.

     

    How to select the type of Teams Meeting that suits you best

    So what situations warrant the use of which type of meeting?

    A standalone Teams Meeting is very well suited for online meetings with an ad-hoc group of participants.

    • The information shared during the meeting, e.g. via chat, meeting notes, files and whiteboard is only shared between the meeting participants.
    • The shared information can still be accessed by the participants after the meeting has ended via the Teams Calendar app and Chat app.

    For easy retrieval of your standalone Teams Meeting, make sure to give it a clear title by which you can retrieve it through the Teams Search functionality.

    For more structured ways of working, e.g. project teams, service teams, management meetings, the Teams channel meetings are better suited.

    • Your team meetings are organized by team, instead of dispersed across calendars.
    • By default, all team members are invited to the meetings.
    • The information shared during team meetings is available to all team members
    • All meeting information is available in the context of the team’s collaboration space and the related information the team is working on is accessible in that same location.
    • By storing it in a team site the governance of information created and shared in meetings can be better aligned with your information management policy.
    • Files that are stored in a Teams site can be taken offline via OneDrive.

    When using Teams channel meeting, the governance of Teams sites is key to ensure easy access to these meetings and the meeting information stored in the teams sites. For more on Teams governance, check our MS Teams governance add-on, TeamHub, or watch our webinar on-demand: Taming Microsoft Teams: Why Governance is Key.

     

    Published on    Last updated on 07/08/2020

    #Digital Workplace, #Office 365, #Collaboration

    About the author

    Koen Adriaensen is ECM business consultant at Amplexor, based in Belgium. Koen has over 18 years of experience working with technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint and O365, IBM FileNet, SDL Tridion, Alfresco and OpenText. He joined Amplexor in 2011 and has since then led the implementation of content management solutions for major clients like Belfius Bank & Insurance, The University of Maastricht and the European Parliament.

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