Using chat clients considerably increases project coordination. These clients enable instant communication between team members who are spread-out, saving valuable time and effort. Most chat applications available today are unsophisticated and offer the very basic in information exchange. However, there are services, like Microsoft Teams, that can take collaboration to new heights with their vast list of features that go beyond instant text chat and file sharing.
Your organization may already be using Microsoft teams, but you may be new to it. Do not be overwhelmed. The service is user-friendly and secure, and settling in is a piece of cake. Here are a few tips for making the most of it:
Filter and Collaborate Better with Mention
Having a large team can clog up communication lines. Someone may have pinged you, but general messages have flooded the chat feed. Using the @mentions option in the filters drop-down menu in the Activity tab sieves through the “for everyone” and fetches messages specifically for you. This function could immensely decrease message repetition and improve correspondence turnaround time.
The @mention feature puts the instant in instant messaging. There will be times when you have to do a task on which you can’t lose focus, but you somehow also need to message another team member at the same time. You don’t have to tab out of your current window and get side-tracked from your project with Microsoft Teams’ @mention. Type “@” in the search bar, and the list of team members would drop down, among other things. Click on the name and type your message, then press “Enter” to send. You communicate instantly with hardly any distractions.
One team member can belong to more than one chat group or channel at a time. And not all channels are created equal. Prioritize channels by “Favouriting” them. Click on the ellipses next to a channel name and select “Favourite”. Use this feature for extremely relevant channels. For channels that don’t quite require your round-the-clock attention, you can categorize them under “Follow this channel” in the options.
Avoid clutter by limiting the number of channels to which you belong. Try keeping communication at an “as needed” level.
The “Get email address” channel option will create an Email address distinct to a particular channel. Use the generated address in Outlook to funnel in Emails relevant to the team members on that channel. Team members can read the Email directly in the chat feed and even download attachments. This can eliminate the potential of losing Emails essential to the project because of a member’s already swamped personal inbox.
Make the Call
As with most messaging services available now, Microsoft Teams have an on-board voice and video call function. Set up a conference or one-on-one call. This is recommended for issues that need instant and detailed clarification.
Command the App
Users can make use of commands as shortcuts for specific tasks. Type “/” in the command bar and a menu of commands would drop-down. For example, you can set your status as “available” by typing in “/available” without the quotes. You can even see another team member’s activity log. The commands you can use are entirely dependent on your organization. Team leaders may set clearance levels for particular commands.
Project chats don’t always have to be about charts and graphs and business. You can inject a bit of fun into your chat feeds. Microsoft Teams allows the use of animated GIFs and stickers so you can better convey how you feel. Lift the team’s mood and make everyone chuckle every once in a while. Use them when appropriate, of course.
These features are but the tip of the iceberg that is Microsoft Teams. Use these tips to start yourself off and then explore other functions. Experiment and use the features that best benefit your work style.
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