The first part of the Taking Microsoft Teams to the Next Level series is about effective workspaces and determining strategic ways to set up your teams. That’s where you figure out whether having a group chat or a team and channel setup is more effective for the kind of collaboration you require. On the other hand, this second part is more tactical and will ensure that your communication pops and is efficient, not just for ourselves but also for our colleagues. Our communication styles can heavily influence collaboration with people, but with Teams, we will learn how it allows for various strategies that encourage participation. Because the more people who are using Teams in our network, the more we all can be productive and connected.
Formatting Best Practices
Since most of what we do in Teams is all about collaborating, whether in projects or documents, and communicating, via individual or group chats, or teams and channels, let’s start with some tips and tricks you can use when sending messages.
Use the up arrow to go back to the item you just sent, so you can edit any typos or update it quickly.
A with a paintbrush icon
A toggle that expands and collapses your compose box. When expanded, you can use other rich text formatting options like bold, font colour, highlighting, etc. This icon also allows you to send a longer message and format it nicely. You can also use enter and have a cartridge return instead of sending the message straight away.
Exclamation point icon
Mark messages as important by clicking the exclamation point icon, which adds a red flag to the message to make it stand out more.
Attach files from your local system or your OneDrive by clicking the paperclip icon.
Chain link icon
Simply copying and pasting links in the compose box gives you a messy-looking message. Use the chain link icon to make your links appear professional and neat.
As the compose box detects you are putting an emoji, you will be prompted to select from a set where you can choose one that best portrays the mood you’re going for.
Ctrl + shift + x (for Windows) | Cmd + shift + x (for Mac)
This is a keyboard shortcut to expand and close the compose box.
Ab with eraser icon
This icon clears formatting from whatever you’ve copied and pasted, so you’re free to format it to your style.
Ctrl + enter
This allows you to send your message while compose box is expanded, instead of getting the cartridge return or having to click the send button.
Quotation mark icon
This type of formatting draws attention to questions, copied and pasted comments, and other messages that need to be seen right away.
Windows + period
This is a keyboard shortcut that toggles the emoji list so you can easily choose one that fits your message.
Code snippet icon
Using the code snippet icon, you can share lines or blocks of codes that automatically gets formatted to match the structure of the language your code is in.
Save this message
Saving messages for future review or reference has become easier with this feature.
Click any screenshot to open it on a pop-up window. You can make it bigger or smaller depending on what you need. If you want to capture the image as an actual file, you can also download it by clicking the arrow down icon at the top.
Here’s a Teams demo you can jump right into 2:35-20:46.
Chat, File and Project Management
Building rapport is all about meaningful conversations and interactions like in the real world. Emulating those in Teams is a great way to encourage your members to use Teams and enjoy them while doing it. Here are the different ways you can Teams conversations engaging:
You can choose from a set of images or gifs relevant to the conversation to make it more fun for everyone.
Use the Praise app to commend or acknowledge team members in your team channel. This is one of the best ways to motivate your members.
Threaded Channel Conversations
You can create threaded channel conversations to emulate email threads that people can reply to. Like emails, you can add a subject line or a banner to make the thread more eye-catching. Every time a member replies to any thread, that thread floats to the bottom, where people can easily see the new activity.
Emails to Teams
Like any change, making the transition to Teams can be challenging for your members. To make the transition easy for them, you can bring those email conversations to Teams, whether they’re from Outlook or other platforms.
Copy your Channel’s email address, include it as one of the recipients, and it will automatically forward the information to your Team channel.
A great way to have information pushed or fed into Microsoft Teams from different resources. To keep things organised, create a dedicated channel for all your news feed, go to Connectors and add whatever source you want to receive information from, such as GitHub, Twitter, Bing News, Yammer, Mail Chimp and more.
If there’s a specific file you’re currently working on, you can make it its tab so everyone in your Team can easily access it.
In group chats, click the + icon at the tab line and choose the correct file type, whether it’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. After that, select the corresponding file you need, give it a relevant name, and click Save. You can also drag and drop the tabs around to stay organised.
In channels, you can add tabs just like how you did it in group chats. At the same time, you get a shortcut where you only click on the file in the Files tab, click the ellipsis on the far right, and click Make this a tab.
Everyone who’s part of any channel has access to all files shared in that space, and every time a file gets shared, Teams immediately backs it up onto the Channel’s corresponding OneDrive folder. You can right-click on a file and choose Open in SharePoint if you need access. Aside from backing up files onto OneDrive, Teams also keeps track of the different versions created for each file. To check those files, open the specific file in the browser, go to the File menu, click Info, and select Version History.
When bringing new people to chats and channels, the default option is not to include any chat history. The new member will not see anything nor access any file that has been previously shared within the group. Especially useful for keeping previous conversations and documents private.
If you need to give them access to specific files, you can share the file again, and any new members will automatically gain access to those documents. At the same time, if there’s a need to give them more access than you initially intended to, you can remove the member, add them back, and either choose to include some of the chat histories from a specific time or have all.
Look at how you can do all these here: 20:47-45:03.
Teams Management, Tips and Tricks
To create, join or manage Teams, click the cog icon in the lower-left corner. You can develop Teams based on existing templates, which is a good strategy, especially if you have a recurring meeting theme. When you duplicate an existing team, you copy all channels and structures in it, which saves you steps in having to rebuild everything.
In an organisation with many teams, you can make it easier for your members to join the correct one by using a team code. This also saves you the hassle of having to add everyone by hand. Members can join on their own and start connecting. In the search bar, members can type forward slash, join and the team code to find it right away.
Once in a while, it is a good idea to do a Settings audit to make sure you have everything you need. As an owner, make sure to have more than one owner who can help manage the owner tasks in the Team. Your IT team can provide you with backdoor access, but it is better to have someone on the front end manage things. You also have to remember that you can’t have zero owners. If a team is no longer active or old, your IT admin can set up retention policies. Owners get a notification if a team is about to expire and can choose to have it renewed. You can do many things in Settings, such as change team pictures and audit permissions.
Every Team has a general channel where everybody can post by default. You can edit so that only owners can post in this Channel to encourage members to use channels dedicated to specific tasks or purposes. This will prevent members from dumping everything in the general Channel. You can also turn on or off the @mentions to manage the number of alerts and traffic.
Channel Tips and Tricks
If the Team you’re a part of has so many channels, you can choose to hide those that are not helpful or relevant to you. Click the ellipsis opposite your Team, click Manage Team, click Channel, and check Show all channels or turn certain ones off. If you’re an owner and setting up Teams, there may be some channels that you want people to see when they join. You can go to Settings and configure which ones automatically show for members.
You can also use the gear icon at the bottom to see all the different Teams you’re a part of and check your membership for each one of them.
Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate many different apps, whether they’re from Microsoft or not, to ensure that all documents and processes are streamlined. One great tool that people use is Planner. Planner is all about managing tasks, and with this app, you can see all your tasks in Teams no matter what Channel they may be in. It has its own built-in Help menu to help you learn more about Planner and how you can leverage it better.
Another useful app you can explore is Who. It lets you see folks in your organisation, which is very handy when you have a lot of people, and you need to connect with some of them. This is also helpful when you’re trying to learn about new members or if you’re a new hire who wants to be familiar with the people you’re going to work with. Through Who, you also get to see the people attending upcoming meetings.
The activity tab lets you filter information such as notifications or @mentions, so you quickly see who’s trying to get your attention and which ones need immediate action. You can also filter apps to see which ones are up to date.
The search bar allows you to search files, people, and messages relevant to what you’re looking for. You can narrow your searches by filtering by teams, channels or dates. To search for various actions, type in a forward slash to get suggestions on all the actions you can do.
Here’s a demo of how you can do these things on Teams: 45:04-59:23.
What to do next
To continue your learning journey, you can check out the Teams help centre at https://support.office.com/en-us/Teams. And to put what you’ve learned to practice, go ahead and format your messages to gain visibility, and organise your chats, meetings and teams to streamline your daily work.
Here are other links you can visit to learn how you can use Teams to your advantage:
Live, online training: https://aka.ms/TeamsLiveTraining
Self-guided articles and videos: https://support.office.com
Teams quick start guide: https://aka.ms/TeamsQuickStartGuide
Customer success stories: https://customers.microsoft.com
O365 Champions program: https://aka.ms/O365Champions
Need help setting Teams up? Contact us, and let’s discuss how we can help you leverage the app.