Microsoft Teams for meetings

Nathan Hill-Haimes

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    Microsoft Teams for meetings

    The meetings function within Microsoft Teams is one of the most valuable elements of the Office 365 application. It provides users with a mechanism to schedule a video chat/call with their team members or with external partners and customers.

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    What is Microsoft Teams for meetings?

    The tool is designed to allow collaboration between workers using Teams on many different kinds of devices. As long as the originator has Microsoft Teams, not all participants will need the application installed. The meeting invitation will provide a link to join the meeting through a temporary web client or a phone number that they can use to dial into the audio channel only. In the age of remote working, Teams meetings have become an important part of the productivity process for many businesses navigating towards a 'new normal' way of working.

    Teams users can schedule meetings in various ways, making a meeting appear on a Channel or scheduling it to go out to a specific list of addressees. Once the session starts, participants will be able to join with video or audio-only. Options to record the meeting will be available so that remote workers or those in different time zones don't need to miss out on the discussion.

    How do I create a Microsoft team meeting?

    The good news is that it's straightforward to create a meeting within Microsoft Teams. The calendar within Teams will be automatically connected to your calendar within Microsoft Exchange. Put, each time you set up an appointment in Outlook, it will automatically show up in your Teams account, and likewise, setting it up in Teams will mean it appears in your Outlook calendar too.

    There are a few different ways that you can set up a meeting. If you regularly use the chat function to speak to the people you would be arranging the meeting with, you might find it easiest to select the 'schedule a meeting' button, which is available within the chat, below the message box. Otherwise, just go to the Calendar Meetings button, which appears on the left side of the application. From there, you can select 'new meeting'. From this point onwards, the process is much the same - select your time range, and you will see the scheduling view appear. The call schedule will allow you to provide a meeting title, details and invite people. Just like on Outlook, you can use the scheduling assistant function to find the most appropriate time for everyone. Once this is done, you can send the invite. When you schedule a meeting in Teams, it will automatically be made into an online meeting appointment.

    If you want to create the meeting within an existing Teams Channel, you can select this option by choosing 'Add Channel' in the necessary field of the invitation. This will allow any member of the channel to see that the meeting is starting and enable them to join. You will also have the option to schedule a regular, recurring appointment at intervals of your choice - or to make it a one-off meeting.

    Microsoft Teams for meetings

    How do meetings work in Microsoft Teams?

    As a participant, you can join a Microsoft Teams meeting in several different ways. The most common is through your laptop or phone, using the link made available in the invitation. Click on this link to join the meeting, which will allow you to go to it in the application or participate via a web browser. If you do not have Teams installed, you will be able to join the session using a standard web browser. You can also join directly from a calendar invite or see the meeting appearing in a Teams channel that you are a member of. Failing that, you can also dial into the conference for an audio-only option, using the dial-in, which will be automatically provided on the invitation.

    Once you have chosen to join - if you do so through Teams or the web browser, you will be able to decide whether you wish to appear on video. A landing page will greet the meeting host that provides further options for the meeting. You can also find the standard options related to muting or unmuting your microphone. Helpfully you will also see a 'people' icon which will show you the invitees and highlight which of them have joined. You will have control over when your participants join, as you will be able to bring them in from the 'lobby', which Teams provide as a way for meeting organisers to create a seamless start to the meeting.

    Are Microsoft Teams meetings secure?

    Microsoft Teams initially provided TLS encryption within their calls functionality. Whilst this is a reasonable level of security, it did not match up to some competitors who pride themselves on end-to-end encryption. In March 2021, Microsoft announced their latest plans to update the security provision within Teams calls. Specifically, they introduced their plans to provide end-to-end encryption, keep pace with rival services, and provide the best possible security for their users. They made a preview of end-to-end encryption in Teams available to some commercial customers. They explained that the eventual plan would include end-to-end encryption in all 1:1 calls within Teams to support users holding sensitive conversations.

    In terms of how much Microsoft Teams can monitor your other programmes and applications, if you are running your Teams system on a personal computer, the application cannot see what else is going on, nor what other applications your device is running. Teams is only able to see what is going on within Teams. Internal auditing processes may be able to monitor what is happening on Teams, without necessarily providing any notification to the end-user. However, do bear in mind that a record of chat conversations and calls can be kept on the corporate ledger while using a company computer.

    In conclusion, the functionality of the meetings within Teams provides a quick and straightforward way to connect with a group of people, whether that is team members, customers or partners. It makes communication and collaboration clear and speedy.

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