If you’re preparing to welcome external guests to your next Microsoft Teams meeting, here are four tips to help you on your way.
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Working with colleagues dispersed in different locations is a day-to-day reality for many of us. It’s also not unusual to work remotely with people from outside our organizations. In fact, these days we meet customers, partners and other stakeholders for the first time in an online meeting much more frequently than before.
When organizing a virtual meeting with external users you’ve never met face-to-face before, it’s important to be well-prepared. A good first step is to have a state-of-the-art digital collaboration tool such as Microsoft Teams on your side. Next, it’s making sure the technical prerequisites are met. You certainly don’t want to make a bad first impression because of technical issues!
We’ve put together seven tips to help you cover all your bases. Follow this checklist and you’re on to make nice first impression, have a great Teams meeting and be remembered in the right way!
#1 - Use Teams desktop app or web browser
Check whether those invited to the Microsoft Teams meeting can make use of the Microsoft Teams desktop application or not.
If the external invitees already use Teams within their organizations’ digital workplaces, they’re familiar with the application and likely won’t run into any technical issues. If the external users don’t use the Microsoft Teams app in their organization, they can either download the Teams desktop app or open the Teams meeting in a web browser.
- The downloaded Teams desktop app offers a similar MS Teams meeting experience for external users as for internal users.
- In case the external participants cannot download the Teams app due to device settings, or choose to use the web browser, they should be informed that there can be important differences in the functionality offered in the MS Teams meeting depending on the web browser.
#2 - Meeting functionality supported in the web browser
If some of the participants need to join the meeting via a web browser, check which browser they intend to use. This is important to know as not all web browsers fully support the Teams meeting functionality.
Organize a Teams meeting dry run in these web browser(s) to verify the Teams meeting functionality is supported. You need to test this yourself not long before the meeting takes place as this can change quite a lot because Microsoft frequently releases updates. The below overviews give you an idea of what functionality needs to be checked.
Officially supported web browsers
Non-supported web browsers
Before the meeting, inform all invitees about the web browser(s) they should preferably use for joining the Teams meeting and what the limitations they may encounter.
#3 - Meeting options
When sending out the invite for the Teams meeting, select the meeting options to make sure the external participants can join the Microsoft Teams meeting and you have given them the necessary permissions.
#4 - Device settings
If you’ll be the one facilitating the Microsoft Teams meeting, make sure your device is set for an optimal meeting experience.
- Make sure your camera is well positioned. It should preferably be set at the same height as your face, to avoid a frog- or birds-eye perspective. You should be able to look straight into the camera as much as possible during your presentation.
- Make sure there is enough light in the room where you’ll be presenting. Avoid a single source of light behind you as this will make you look very dark on video.
- Choose an appropriate background for your video sharing in case you cannot find a neutral background in any room in your house.
- Don’t set the volume of your speakers too high as this will cause bad audio quality.
- Preferably use a headset. That way you’ll never be the source of an echo.
- Set and test the volume of your microphone.
- Preferably ask the other participants to set and test this too.
When presenting and sharing applications during a Microsoft Teams meeting the shared content is displayed full screen. Therefore, it is useful to have a second screen available on which you can take notes or view additional information.
Make sure you have a good internet connection to avoid bad audio and video quality. Preferably ask the other participants to test this too.
Finally, do a dry run of your Microsoft Teams meeting to verify if all device settings are well set.
To prepare your Microsoft Teams meeting together with the other participants, here’s your final checklist:
- Which participants will join the meeting in the Microsoft Teams desktop app
- Which participants that will join the meeting in a web browser, and identify which web browser(s)
- meeting options
- Video sharing
- Sound settings
- Availability of an extra screen
- Internet connection
When all of this has been thoroughly checked and set up front, you’ll have significantly reduced the risk of running into technical issues during your Microsoft Teams meeting, and are set for a smooth meeting experience.
For more on making the most of your Microsoft Teams, check out more helpful resources:
- Webinar on-demand | 10 productivity hacks for Microsoft Teams
- Blog | Collaboration tools for business continuity
- Ebook | How to build a collaboration empire: plan, deploy and adopt Microsoft Teams
- Add-on | TeamHub, your key Microsoft Teams governance
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.