With the explosive growth of Microsoft Teams over the past few years, especially as a result of much of the world’s office workers, teachers, and students attending work and school from home for at least part of the time, the learning curve for those 20 million people using Teams daily can be a bit steep depending on how you and your organization are using it (and whether you’ve received any real training!). Actionable skills on how to use Teams and other online collaboration and meeting hubs aren’t exactly built into our brains. As a result, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality usually reigns, causing confusion, miscommunication, and difficulty in finding things.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are plenty of proven practices, behaviors, and etiquette tips that can make your Microsoft Teams experience way better for you and your peers if you take a few minutes to agree to a set of expectations when working in this collaboration space.
To help the everyday Teams user follow a guided path, my friend and peer Sven Seidenberg and I—with the support of AvePoint—recently published two e-books explaining how to make the most of the Teams app, highlighting easily-missed features and providing tips and ideas to improve meetings and collaboration so you don’t have to come up with governance or swim lanes yourself. Both e-books are available in PDF and web format—add them as tabs to your favorite channel in Teams for easy access!
The first e-book is The Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams and it covers each major function of the app: chat, channels, online meetings, files, apps, interactions with Office 365, and more. It puts in plain terms how you should start to use Teams, includes advice on avoiding common landmines, and can act as a starter compact on how you and your group will agree to use Teams and what expectations there are.
The second e-book is The Definitive Guide to Rockstar Meetings in Microsoft Teams and dives deeper into one of the most-used features in Teams: online meetings. Online meetings are not a natural experience for humans and the ad hoc nature of most online meetings means most of us aren’t exactly getting better at them or taking advantage of all the major features we have—many of which are new in the last two years. This guide provides tips on organizing, leading, and attending meetings, as well as dealing with common logistics everyone always has trouble with (e.g., file sharing, chat, distracting audio). Running clean, productive meetings is a high-value skill in the 2020s and this guide will get you to that level.
These guides should provide you a great start to setting expectations and aligning on how to use Teams within your project team, business unit, department, class, or other groups you work with. But the beauty of them is their flexibility: there is no one-size-fits-all guide to using Teams. If you think something we included doesn’t apply, ignore it. And as you learn more about Teams and its features, solutions, and, yes, quirks, you can expand on our initial content. Our guides are meant more as inspiration, not prescription.
We hope you find our e-books useful and you’re free to share the links with anyone you’d like. If you’d like to download the PDF to share internally on your intranet or in training resources, you’re free to do so. We just ask that you credit the authors and link back to the original source. Keep in mind that we make updates regularly, so the web version is usually best. We update both the web and PDF versions when updates take place.