You’re likely spending a lot of time in Microsoft Teams. Knowing how to use this collaboration hub helps your team work together and keeps them engaged. One way to get more from Teams is to learn the difference between Microsoft Teams meetings and video calls and the best practices for both tools.
Meetings vs. Video Calls: What’s the Difference?
Video calls are quick conversations that are more casual than a meeting. It’s a basic function you can use within Microsoft Teams without adding a phone system plan.
With video calls, you are using an internet-based approach to contacting others in your organization. It’s like you’re amplifying chat with video, audio, and other content in real time. Up to 20 people can participate in a video call.
A meeting is a full experience that features the human element of interaction while helping people stay focused before, during, and after the event to accomplish more together. Up to 350 people can be in a meeting.
What Are the Best Practices for Microsoft Teams Video Calls?
It’s best to use video calls when you need quick communication one-on-one or with a small group of people.
Starting a Call
You can start a video call, audio call, or screen-share right from a chat. These calls are private and won’t show up in any team conversation. If you’d rather start a video call in a specific channel, choose the team and channel, and then click “Meet Now” at the bottom of your screen.
Managing Video & Audio
Once you start a call, you can decide if you want to turn your camera on or off. You can also blur your background or change it entirely. In the future, video filters will let you customize your appearance by adjusting lighting levels and softening camera focus.
Depending on what’s happening around you or how much you want to participate in the video call, you may want to mute your mic from the start or on occasion. You should see a microphone icon at the bottom of your screen that you can click to mute or unmute.
There’s also a “Call Me” feature that lets you join by phone if you cannot use computer audio for some reason.
You can share content with people on your video call by clicking “Share Screen.” From there, you can choose the screen you want to share with the person or group. This allows coworkers to follow along without having to leave the video call.
You may permit others to control the screen as well. Just choose their name from the bar at the top.
Recording a Call
Anyone in your organization can start or stop recording a video call. Even if the person who started the recording leaves the call, the recording will continue.
If you were part of the video call, you can also play the recording directly in Teams. The owner needs to give permission or download the video.
What Are the Best Practices for Microsoft Teams Meetings?
You should choose a meeting over a video call when you need to collaborate with others. You can have up to 350 people in a meeting and see up to 49 of them. Anyone can join a meeting; they don’t need a Microsoft 365 account.
Scheduling a Meeting
You can schedule a meeting in many ways. You can turn a conversation in chat into an instant meeting with “Meet Now.” You can set up a meeting in the future via the calendar or by using the scheduling assistant. You can also schedule meetings in Outlook.
Joining a Meeting
There are several options available for people to join a meeting even if they’re outside your organization. With “Anonymous Join,” you can set up a Teams meeting with anyone who has a valid email address. They just click the link and open a web browser without having to install anything. People in your organization can join from within Microsoft Teams via chat, calendar, or channel.
You can also set up a lobby to control who is admitted to the meeting and when they’re allowed to join. Users who have enabled Audio Conferencing (additional licensing required) can call-in by phone if they don’t have internet access.
Managing a Meeting
Microsoft recently released a New Meeting Experience that has several features including “Together Mode” that puts participants in a virtual auditorium. To enable it, click Settings → General → Application → Turn on New Meeting Experience. Then close your settings and restart Teams.
Once you’re turned on New Meeting Experience, you’ll find “Together Mode” under Device Settings along with Gallery, Large Gallery, and Focus Mode. Gallery is the default. Large Gallery is for groups of 10 or more in a 7×7 layout. Focus lets you hide all video streams and avatars when content is being shared.
“Together Mode” is a response to virtual meeting fatigue. It reimagines how meetings can be conducted by placing attendees into a virtual auditorium. More views like a conference table or coffee shop are expected in the future. “Together Mode” is available once five people, including the organizer, have joined the meeting.
You can share various forms of content in a meeting:
- Desktop: entire screen, which includes other activity
- Window: just one window, which keeps desktop private
- PowerPoint: present a file others can interact with
- Whiteboard: collaborate with others in real time
- Computer sound: all audio, including notifications
You can give and take control of shared content. Plus, you can zoom in by pinching on your trackpad, using keyboard shortcuts, or holding Control and scrolling with your mouse.
Get the Most Out of Microsoft Teams Video Calls & Meetings
Knowing when to use Microsoft Teams meetings and video calls can help you better communicate one-on-one or be more efficient when collaborating with a larger group.
Contact us today for more information about Teams and all your technology needs! We’re here to help.