Whether we like it or not, video calls have become the new normal, so rather than struggle our way through an awkward encounter with questionable camera angles and frozen screens, whilst praying for the ordeal to be over, it makes sense to master the art of Microsoft Teams, and embrace the technology at hand.
In case you needed more convincing that video calls are here to stay, Microsoft recently claimed its Teams function has more than 75 million daily active users. When you consider that a sizeable portion of the UK’s working population is still furloughed, that number seems all the more impressive.
Furthermore, improving the sound and video quality of your call just makes good business sense. It gives a good impression of you to prospective and current clients, and it makes internal calls more productive.
Here’s a few useful ways we’re improving our Microsoft Teams calls:
Record your Teams meetings – this allows you to be present in the meeting, and concentrate on the conversation going ahead, rather than try and listen, talk and take notes all at the same time. Simply click the three ellipses “…” when in the meeting and select “Start Recording”. Once finished, you go to the same menu and click “stop recording”.
Optimise your browser – an often-overlooked technique, as not many people are aware that your browser can impact the performance of your calls. Disabling browser add-ons and increasing cache size can help create a smoother call, as can keeping your browser window open during the day.
Use a custom background – this serves multiple benefits. As well as creating a cleaner, uncluttered view for your colleagues, it also means you don’t have to worry about surprise cameo appearances from members of your family! In addition, it’s a great way to show off your branding and credentials – perfect for sales calls.
Alternatively, if you’ve missed the boat, and you’re already in a meeting, you can select “Background effects” and choose “Blur” to blur your background, whilst keeping you in focus.
Use the right equipment – the overall impact of your meeting – both sound and visual – will largely be dictated by the devices and accessories you’re using. Headsets may be useful for your team, whilst searching for PCs, laptops and phones with the right features that can help with echo cancellation, and noise filtering, could be a great investment going forward. Particularly if you’re headed towards a future of more remote working.
Minimise background noise – this sounds simple, but even the background noise you don’t notice, will likely appear louder through someone else’s device, so if you can, shut the doors and close windows for the duration of your call.
Check for malware – as with anything, Microsoft Teams runs best when it’s free of malware and running at optimum speed. Check that your device has sufficient memory, and delete files and apps where appropriate – you’ll see a big difference in the quality of your video calls.
Just a few simple and practical tips can have a real impact on the quality of your Microsoft Teams meetings, and therefore on the productivity of your day as a whole!
Danny Hall is Managing Director of FSE Digital, an Essex-based digital marketing agency, specialising in search.