Woman having online meeting with colleagues

Online Meeting Tips and Tricks

We have all been Zooming and Teaming and Go-To-Meeting and such for a couple of weeks now. Some of us are long term WFH warriors and didn’t have much to learn, but for some, it has been a blizzard of adapting to a new way of working. We’re here to provide a few simple tips that may make your WFH workday a little easier!

Tips for our two favorite platforms, Zoom and Teams

First a couple of general online meeting tips and then we’ll get specific with Teams and Zoom.

  • Know your computer and how to turn on and off your microphone and video camera.
  • Prep before the call – try out the link and make sure your computer is correctly set up.
  • Use the mute feature and know how to turn it on and off easily. There’s nothing worse than having private conversations overheard OR speaking eloquently only to find out you were the only one listening.

Tips and tricks for Microsoft Teams

Teams is a power horse and can do much more than any of them want to figure out right now. Sorting through what you want to use it for is key – don’t get distracted by all the extras until you need them! At BEI we use Teams for chatting (huge help now that we are not sitting near each other), for meetings and for phone calls. We’ve started turning many calls into video calls because it really is helpful to see people when you are talking to them.

Microsoft Teams settings

In the upper right corner of your screen, there is a round icon, with either your photo or initials. This is often controlled by your IT department. Click on that round icon and you’ll see SETTINGS. Setting a STATUS MESSAGE, investigating your SETTINGS, and KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS are very helpful.

Hidden under your picture or initials in the upper right corner of the Teams screen are your settings
Team Settings

The Teams Control Taskbar – The Key to Your Meeting

Investigate the Teams control taskbar. This little treasure (going left to right) includes:

  1. How long you’ve been on this call
  2. Turn video on and off
  3. Mute and unmute your microphone
  4. Turn screen sharing on and off
  5. Show other options (including blurring your background and recording the call/meeting)
  6. Open up a chat window
  7. List participants
  8. Hang Up/end the call
The Teams Control Taskbar can turn your camera on and off, mute and unmute and much more
Teams Control Taskbar

Blur your background in Teams

Teams doesn’t give you the ability to customize your background like Zoom does, but it does let you blur your background – we don’t all have professional-looking environments at home! Using # 5 above, click on the 3 dots and select “Blur your background”.

Other resources for Teams

Much more information and training can be found on this Microsoft site.

Tips and Tricks for Zoom Online Meetings

Test your Zoom setup

Test your video and audio before the meeting at zoom.us/test. This step can save lots of unprofessional fumbling and lost time.

Change your profile picture and background

Sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Profile. Then view and edit your profile picture and the background that is used during calls. Zoom provides a few standard backgrounds, but you can also upload any image and use that – just watch out for copyright issues! Click here for more details.

Zoom keyboard Shortcuts

  • Alt+H: Display/hide In-Meeting Chat panel
  • Alt+A: Mute/unmute audio (The space bar also works)
  • Alt+M: Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host Note: For the meeting host only
  • Alt+V: Start/Stop Video
  • Alt+Shift+T: Screenshot

Many more Zoom keyboard shortcuts can be found here

Learn your way around the Zoom Control Panel

The Zoom Control Panel will appear whenever you move your cursor around the screen. The various controls are labeled and do just what they say!

Using the Reactions button (smiley face) shown above you can send a thumbs up or clap during a meeting. The Emoji will disappear after 5 seconds. You can customize the skin tone of the Emojis in the Zoom desktop app.