Microsoft Teams

6 Exciting Meeting Features for Better Collaboration

6 Exciting Meeting Features to Better Collaborate in Microsoft Teams

  • 15 September 2020
  • Erik Moll
  • 5.9 minutes to read

With the shift to remote work, employees are using video conferencing and collaboration apps more than ever. Without a doubt, Microsoft observed this fundamental shift in how people work, as they recently announced new meeting features for Microsoft Teams users.

These most recent features offer basic changes to the calling interface, introduce large video galleries, allow your team to meet against a virtual background, and more. The good news is that you can opt in to begin enjoying these features today. You can either do this by watching for a notification upon startup that announces new changes to Microsoft Teams and clicking “turn on now,” or by following these steps.

  • Click on your profile picture at the top of your Teams app.
  • Click “Settings.” This will open the “General” section of your settings.
  • Select the new option that says, “Turn on new meeting experience.”
  • Restart teams. On Windows, right-click on the Teams icon on your taskbar and select “Quit.” For Mac, cmd-click the Teams icon on the system tray and hit “Quit.” Reboot the program.
  • Voila! You now have access to the new meeting features.

If this step-by-step guide didn’t work, don’t worry! Make sure you quit Teams using the exact instructions written above – it won’t work if you just hit “x” in the upper-righthand corner. If you restarted the app correctly, open the app, select your profile picture, and click “check for updates.” If your client is out-of-date, that’s likely the culprit.

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Now that you have access to these new features, it’s time to figure out exactly what they are and what they do. No need for trial and error either – we’ll walk you through it below.

1. New Meeting Interface

When you join a call, you’ll notice that the video meeting interface has changed a little bit. Now your meetings will open in a new window instead of being hosted within the client – this may seem insignificant at first, but it opens the door to allow the other new features to flourish.

You’ll also notice that meeting controls have moved to the top of the screen. This makes it easier and more intuitive for you to access an array of call options and features and helps make the Teams interface far more intuitive for new and existing users

2. Large Gallery

This is one new feature that lets you put that separate window to good use. This allows you to see up to 49 of your coworker’s smiling faces in a single window, without the need to flip to another page. Just keep in mind others can see you too – so this isn’t a good time to start snoozing or playing with your phone during company meetings!

To turn on large galleries, just go to “more options” or “…” in the meeting controls and select “large galleries.” With this feature enabled, it’s easier than ever for everyone to see each other.

3. Together Mode

Don’t you miss getting to sit in a lecture environment with all of your coworkers during company training? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t – but with Together Mode, you can enjoy the feeling of sitting together in a real-world space without actually having your coworkers less than six feet away.

It doesn’t stop with an auditorium setting either. If you’d rather meet in a close-knit meeting room, Together Mode can help. Prefer a casual chat in a virtual coffee shop? Teams can bring you there too, but you’ll need to brew your own coffee if you want to feel truly immersed.

You can enter Together Mode once you’re in a group call with at least five participants, and a maximum of 49 participants. Just click on the three dots in the upper right of the call interface and select “Together Mode.”

4. Changes to Meeting Notes

As an added benefit of Teams opening in a new window, users will have access to a new “Meeting Notes” tab on the Teams client. Now, you can have a video meeting in one window, and in-client notes in another window. To enable Meeting Notes, click on the three dots in the upper right of the call interface and select “Show Meeting Notes.” This will open a notes page in your client while keeping your meeting window open.

5. Focus Mode

An unfortunate part of remote work is being inundated with distractions. Whether it’s your dog barking or construction workers drilling on cement, there’s a lot to tune out. For some users, looking at their coworker’s video feed while they’re watching a screenshare is just another distraction – and Focus Mode exists to remedy that problem.

To turn on Focus Mode, just click the three dots in the upper right of your call window when someone has screenshare turned on. Then, select “Focus Mode.” Teams will hide the video feed, allowing you to pay closer attention to whoever is sharing their screen.

6. Microsoft Power Automate Integration

Microsoft Power Automate is a new feature that integrates with Teams to help you streamline your work through low-code workflow automation. You simply have to put together logic-based building blocks, determine what will trigger your logic-based workflows, and go! The ways to use Power Automate are practically limitless, and you can build them from scratch or download templates directly from Microsoft.

For instance, one useful workflow is the “follow up on a message” template. It’s happened to everyone – you’re getting ready to head into a meeting, and someone messages you to ask for some help. You might shoot them a quick message explaining that you’re going into a meeting, but you’ll be in touch. However, sometimes you’ll forget to get back to them and leave them hanging. 

With the “Follow up on a message” template, you can avoid this scenario entirely. Simply click the three dots that appear next to your coworker’s message to set a timer that will remind you when you need to respond. So, if it’s a quick 20-minute call, just set a timer for 20 minutes and Teams will do the rest.

To get Microsoft Power Automate, open your Teams client and tap the “Apps” icon on in the lower left of the navigation bar. Search for “Power Automate” or “Flow” and select it. Once you tap install, it is ready to go!

Editor's note: Microsoft recently announced a number of new fancy Teams features to come. Stay tuned!

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Final Thoughts

With more workforces than ever depending on platforms like Teams, SharePoint, and Office 365, these changes are sure to change the way that you hold meetings. It will be easier to have impactful, engaging meetings with everyone in your organization while providing follow-up tools that will make managing communications simpler than ever. While there’s always an adjustment period involved with changes like these, we’re sure that your team will quickly grow to love all of these new features.

Read also the second part of my Microsoft Teams feature update and start boosting your productivity today.

  • User Productivity, Future Workplace, remote-workplace-solutions
  • Microsoft, Teams, Modern Work, Collaboration

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Erik Moll

Go-to-Market Manager - Americas

Digital Transformation

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