Virtual meetings offer tons of benefits for meeting together in situations that prevent in-person interaction, and as a company with multiple offices and locations, Enable has been using this option for years! Depending on the size of your staff, an all-staff in-person meeting might sound like an ordeal to organize, but using a virtual option makes this very easy! Feeling connected helps reduce fear and uncertainty, so gathering everyone together is more important now than ever.
At Enable, we have a company-wide meeting with our staff every first Friday of the month. We span two time zones, three states, and multiple cities, so online collaboration and connection are not new to us. We wanted to provide a step-by-step guide for how we set these meetings up and show you the tools you can implement with your church team!
How To Create an All-Staff Meeting Invitation in Teams
- Open Outlook.
- Navigate to your Calendar.
- Select “Meeting” or “New Meeting.”
- On the invite, click the “Teams Meeting” button on the top and it will automatically include the necessary links.
*If you’re creating your invite from Outlook on the Web, you will turn on “Teams Meeting.”
- Add your attendees.
- Add your entire staff by inviting the all-staff email address.
- If you don’t have an all-staff email address, you can individually type in each staff member’s email address.
- Subject: title of your meeting.
- For Location, Microsoft Teams Meeting will auto-populate here. No action is necessary.
- Include notes about the meeting in the body of the email area (ie. the agenda, what you intend to discuss, etc.)
- This is also a good place to remind attendees to join the meeting muted and without video, to minimize chaos and maintain a quality audio experience for everyone.
- This will send out an invitation where attendees can accept or decline.
When the time comes to join the meeting, your attendees can click to join the meeting from their Outlook calendar invitation or in the Teams App. Both will lead them into the Teams App for the meeting.
*You may see a phone number and conference ID added to some invites. This capability is called Audio Conferencing and is an extra feature you can turn on for your organization. This allows attendees to call in instead of using the web. If you’re interested in this feature, email us at [email protected]able.email.
Best Practices and Important Tips for Running a Virtual Meeting
Just like in a meeting where everyone is physically present, be sure you have a meeting organizer and/or presenters.
Assign someone to be in charge of the meeting. This person should be tasked with creating the Teams meeting, managing the attendees, and managing the presenters. This person should have the meeting agenda and be aware of the order of events for the meeting, and should work closely with the presenters to ensure the meeting runs efficiently. Make sure your presenters know when and what they will be presenting (see “Share Your Screen” below), and have their microphones and videos unmuted during presenting. All other attendees should remain muted.
*To mute attendees as needed, hover over navigation bar and click the “Attendees.” Click the “…” next to their name and select “Mute participant.”
Two Helpful Features
- Sharing Your Screen. Sometimes during a meeting it can be helpful to give people a visual, so Teams makes sharing your screen very easy. Hover over the navigation bar and Click the icon of a rectangle with an arrow in it. Screen options will populate. You can select which screen or window you would like to share with everyone in the meeting.
- Chat With Participants. Use the chat feature to message everyone on the call. For example, maybe you mention a great article and you want the whole team to be able to read it. You can post the link in the chat and everyone can open the link on their own devices. Or maybe you want to send reminders throughout the call about staying muted, etc. without interrupting the speaker. You can make meeting-wide announcements in the chat area.
Quick Reminders For Your Team Before You Have An All-Staff Meeting
- Mute your mic and disable video when you join the call. Leave it muted/off when you are not speaking or presenting. With multiple people on a call, this helps cut down on background noise and improves the network quality of the call.
- Use “Chat” if you have a question while someone is presenting. This will help cut down on interruptions and presenters can quickly come back later to address the questions.
- Make sure your speakers and mic are working properly. To check audio settings in Teams click the “…” icon then select “Show Device Settings.” This will display your audio device options.
- Make sure you have a stable internet connection when joining a Teams meeting. If you are in a remote location or far away from your wireless access point, this will degrade the Teams meeting performance.
- If you start experiencing Wi-Fi issues and see glitching or freezing, turning off video and using only audio can help take some pressure off of your network and improve the quality of the meeting.
A Different Kind of Meeting: Teams Live Events
You can also host Live Events (like webinars) on Teams! For a great resource on this, check out this incredibly well-done Guide to Creating a Teams Live Event from our friend Scott Miller at Watermark Community Church. For more information on Teams live events, check out Microsoft’s resources.