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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Microsoft Teams

January 23, 2020

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man-with-hand-on-temple-looking-at-laptop-842554With colleagues and business partners all over the world, we depend on Microsoft Teams to get work done. Many use it for several hours every day. And while some love Teams because it enables working from anywhere, there are ups and downs. There are potentially frustrating experiences and embarrassing moments aplenty when using Teams. Here are some examples of mistakes to avoid when using Microsoft Teams - and tips on how to do so.

Making Unwanted Changes to a Shared Doc

The first point on the “embarrassing mistakes using Microsoft Teams list” is when you – by accident, of course - make unwanted changes to shared files in Teams. If you are moving from a previous version of Office where you manually had to click “Save” to save any changes you made, this is a potential pitfall. In Teams, all documents are saved to SharePoint Online, and all changes you make to a document are automatically saved – as soon as you make them. You might open up a customer presentation your team has been working on, wanting to make a similar presentation to another customer, so you start changing the name of the customer in the presentation and then go to “Save a Copy” – only to realize that the changes have already been saved. 

So how do you avoid this possibility? Always start by making a copy of the document before you make any changes. If you still happen to make changes to the original document, click “Save a Copy” to save a new document with the changes you wanted. Then go back to the original document and type “Version history” in the search box at the top of the application. You will see a history of all the changes made to the document and you can click “Restore” to go back to the document as it was before you started making your changes.

Forgetting You're On Camera

This is by far the most common, embarrassing mistake made in Microsoft Teams. You are in a meeting; initially, everyone has their camera on, fully aware, smiling and talking to each other. Then, the meeting continues, and someone starts presenting. At this point, you have forgotten that you have your camera on, and you don’t see yourself (if you are watching the presentation in full-screen mode) but others do. When you are unaware that others can see you – you might do something embarassing and possibly recorded for posterity.

Some laptop cameras have an indicator light when on - make sure to take note of it. Work on remaining midful of your situation. If possible, have the camera on during discussions and turning your camera off when you or someone else is presenting. If you turn this into a habit, you will be more actively involved in the meeting and you minimize the chances of making a fool out of yourself on camera.

Chatting in the Wrong Chat

Every time you have a meeting in Microsoft Teams, a team group chat is created with everyone in the meeting. This is convenient since you can post things in the chat that you might not want to say in the meeting. For instance, you might want to post a question while someone is presenting. These chats persist even after the meeting has ended. This is useful for following up on meeting discussions after the meeting – not so great though if you mistake it for another chat.

I guess the first recommendation to avoid this is to try to be professional no matter the circumstance - this way, even if you comment on the wrong chat, you can do so with minimal embarassment and consequences. We are all humans and since Microsoft Teams is our “digital office” sometimes we need to maintain professionalism while retaining personality. Remember, you can delete messages you have posted but be aware that someone might have seen the chat before you had a chance to delete.

Posting in the Wrong Team

This mistake relates to the previous one about posting a message in the wrong chat, but it earns its very own place on the list. When you are working in Microsoft Teams, you frequently and quickly switch between different teams and channels. If you are not careful when you write your conversation posts, these might end up in the wrong team or channel. You do not want to be the person that intended to write in the Leadership team about sensitive changes in the company, but accidentally post it in the Production team instead.

The first way to avert this issue is to ensure you understand how Microsoft Teams works. Users need a thorough understanding of how to effectively use Microsoft Teams, as soon as (or before) they are invited to a team. Secondly, a good recommendation is to add visual team icons to more easily keep various teams apart. Again, if you realize that you have made a mistake and posted a message in the wrong team, you can delete your message.

Set Up a Teams Meeting without Notifications

For years we have been inviting people to meetings using Outlook but now we can book meetings in Microsoft Teams. Teams meetings can be held in channels so that everyone who is part of the team can join the meeting. However, all these new things come with some new twists that everyone might not be fully aware of. Like for instance, when you schedule a meeting and select a team and channel, you might think that the team members get an invitation to the meeting - this is not the case. The meeting is only posted in the channel – it doesn’t show up in their calendar or email inbox as a meeting invitation. This might be a bit embarrassing if you planned a kick-off meeting in your new team and no one shows up.

The easiest way to avoid inviting to Teams meetings that no one is aware of, is to manually add each person you want to invite to the meeting in the participant box. While this is a bit of a time sink, you don’t have to feel bad about not inviting everyone in the Team since the meeting is visible in the channel - like leaving the door open to your meeting room.

Now that you are aware of these possible mistakes – and you know how to avoid them, you will hopefully have a less bumpy relationship with Microsoft Teams. Want to know more about Microsoft Teams? Click the link below to register for a Teams Consultation from CallTower:

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