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Microsoft Teams: 7 Features You Should Know About

Author:

David Groth - Technical Solutions Specialist, NCI

Published:

May 5, 2021

Everyone is familiar with the “biggies” in the Microsoft Office 365 suite:  Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive.  However, one application often getting overlooked is Microsoft Teams (MS).  Many primarily see Teams as a chat or conference call program only, which leads it to be one of the most underutilized tools in the Office 365 suite.  However, as businesses embrace the hybrid workplace model, Microsoft Teams is quickly being adopted and recognized for what it can do.  

MS Teams as a true collaboration tool, with file sharing and co-working abilities. In addition, there are many functions people don’t even know about. Some are total workflow game-changers, others are just geeky features that make the workday more efficient. Lets take a look at 7 of these features you may or may not be using. 

1. Microsoft Teams Phone System 

First, while computers run most businesses, the telephone system is arguably the most critical in any business.  If you can’t access the Internet quickly, it is not nearly the level of concern or impact as when the phone system isn’t working properly. 

Voice over IP (VoIP) phones have been around for some time, but with the advent of collaboration tools such as MS Teams, Skype, Zoom, and WebEx, it is becoming increasingly more popular to have all communications centered around one platform.   

If you have an Office 365 subscription, it is as simple as adding a license and some phone numbers to allow inbound and outbound calling for your users.  And, with some additional configuration, PBX features like Auto Attendants, call queues, ring groups, and more!  PLUS, you get the benefits of MS Teams collaboration! 

2. Producing a Live Event 

Next, we’ve all attended webinars – but what you may not know is Teams has the ability to do live events. It allows you to have a separate “producer” user who controls the live event, moderates Q&A, chats with presenters directly, and controls which video feeds are on screen.  This alone is a very powerful feature built right into Teams that doesn’t require external production software. 

For more information follow this link: Produce a live event using Teams – Office Support (microsoft.com) 

3. Together Mode 

Have you ever missed speaking to a group of people and find the default gallery view somewhat boring? Well Teams has a feature just so for you. try using “together mode” in MS Teams. With together mode, it puts everyone in theater seats and close together in a much more friendly and cozy looking environment. 

You can access together mode in MS Teams from the same view menu where you change between “gallery” and “large gallery” viewing modes. 

Together mode - MS Teams

 4. Meeting Notes

If you have regular meetings within team, you can create a meeting notes that are shared within that team and are searchable.  During the meeting, anyone can create meeting notes and share them with the rest of the team.  These notes then remain with the channel and can be searched. 

5. Live Captions

Lastly, if you are like me, it is often difficult to hear every word of in a meeting, even if you do have a good headset or MTR system. Thankfully, Teams has a function to help folks like us: live captions.  MS Teams can automatically transcribe a conversation in real time. So you’ll be able to see a text representation onscreen of what’s being said and by whom.  Essentially the same thing as closed captions for your TV, except this time it’s for your meetings.  The text will appear below the meeting gallery. 

6. Bots

As their name suggests, Bots are used to performed automated tasks.  There are numerous bot plugins for MS Teams – usually for the chat function.  For example: you could use the FAQ PLUS bot and type a question – the Bot will respond with an answer from a pre-defined knowledge base – or an offer to “Ask an Expert”.   They can even be custom programmed to look up information from a customer database with questions like “What’s joe smith’s phone number”. 

MS Teams - Bots

 

7. Proximity Join

This is especially useful if you have a Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) capable device in your conference or meeting room.  Proximity Join works with Bluetooth and your mobile or laptop device with Teams.  If you join a scheduled meeting from your Bluetooth enabled device, and you are near an MTR – Teams will “nudge” it to see if its available – if it is, Teams will offer to add the room to your meeting.  Much easier than manually searching and wondering “What is this device called again?”.   

So Much More Than Chat

In addition to these 7 features, there are literally hundreds of Microsoft Teams tools and integrations that improve how we collaborate and conduct business.  For more information and to learn how MS Teams can help your business collaborate and communicate, contact us today.

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