August 15, 2022

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14 greatest practices for Microsoft Groups video conferences

It’s simple to begin a video assembly in Microsoft Groups, however there are methods to reinforce the expertise for you and the opposite attendees, whether or not it’s a casual video chat with co-workers, a presentation to a shopper, or a department-wide quarterly replace. Right here’s how one can get essentially the most out of video conferences in Groups — greatest practices for earlier than, throughout, and after your assembly.

This story is primarily for customers whose organizations have a subscription to a Microsoft 365 or Workplace 365 enterprise or enterprise plan. Though Microsoft affords subscriptions tailor-made for residence customers, in addition to a free model of Groups, these don’t embrace most of the options coated on this story. Additionally notice that these directions describe the Groups desktop app; some options are usually not out there within the internet or cell variations.

Earlier than the assembly

To schedule a video assembly in Groups, click on the Calendar icon on the left toolbar. This brings up a calendar in the principle window. Click on the New assembly button on the upper-right nook.

A fill-out kind will seem in the principle window. Kind in a title to your assembly.

Within the Add required attendees field, sort within the electronic mail addresses of the individuals who you need to attend your assembly — or, in case your group’s tackle ebook is built-in with Groups, you possibly can simply begin typing co-workers’ names (or the names of company electronic mail lists) and choose them from the listing that seems. If you wish to invite folks with out making them really feel that they’re required to attend, click on +Elective on the proper finish of the required attendees subject and add their names within the Elective subject that seems under.

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Scheduling a gathering in Groups is easy and integrates with Microsoft 365 contacts and calendaring. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Then within the fill-in bins under, select a date, a begin time, and an finish time to your video assembly. Click on the Save button on the upper-right nook, and your invitation shall be despatched to those folks with a hyperlink to hitch the assembly in Groups.

This covers the fundamentals for inviting folks to your video assembly and scheduling it. So now let’s go over methods to reinforce your invite and put together to your assembly.

1. Superb-tune your assembly time

Earlier than you click on the Save button: There’s a software you should utilize to search out out if a selected assembly time works for all of the folks you need to invite. Whenever you’re composing your invite, click on Scheduling Assistant on the high of the fill-out kind.

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Alongside the left aspect of the panel that seems is an inventory of all of the required and optionally available attendees you’re inviting. To the precise is an hourly timeline for the day you picked to carry your assembly. Shade coding on this timeline signifies when somebody you invited shall be busy or free all through the day in keeping with their Outlook calendars.

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Use the Scheduling Assistant to ensure everybody you’ve invited is accessible to attend your assembly. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

By referring to this timeline, yow will discover a date and time when all your invitees will have the ability to attend your video assembly. Click on on the column for a time period to vary your assembly’s begin and finish occasions. It’s also possible to scroll forward by means of the times within the timeline to see if one other day has fewer scheduling conflicts for the folks you’re inviting.

If a minimum of one in every of your invitees is unavailable for a gathering time you’ve chosen, Groups will routinely counsel alternate occasions, if any can be found. These seem under the beginning and finish occasions that you just set to your assembly. Click on one of many recommended occasions to interchange the beginning and finish occasions that you just initially selected.

2. Share your assembly’s agenda

Whenever you’re scheduling your assembly, it may be useful to incorporate your assembly agenda so invitees know what shall be mentioned and might put together appropriately.

On the backside of the fill-out kind for a brand new assembly, you possibly can add a message to incorporate within the assembly invite. It is a good place to incorporate a short assembly agenda (particularly in an easy-to-read format, resembling a desk or a bulleted listing). We recommend that you just don’t make the agenda too lengthy, since that may make it laborious for recipients to search out the hyperlink to hitch the assembly within the invitation electronic mail.

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Offering a short assembly agenda helps invitees put together for the assembly. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

If you’ll want to present a extra detailed agenda, you possibly can ship a separate electronic mail with a doc (resembling a .docx or PDF file) hooked up. Or contemplate internet hosting your assembly in a Groups channel as described under. There you possibly can put up a reply to the message that asserts your assembly with the agenda hooked up.

3. Host your assembly in a group channel

Generally you’ll in all probability need to invite particular folks to your assembly. However you possibly can arrange an “open” assembly that’s introduced in a group channel. This may be helpful if, as an illustration, you’ve created a channel in Groups for a selected undertaking and also you need all people engaged on this undertaking to attend the assembly.

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As you’re going by means of the fill-out kind for scheduling your assembly, click on contained in the Add channel field, and from the drop-down menu that seems, choose a group and a channel inside that group. You don’t want so as to add members of this channel as particular person attendees, however you possibly can optionally invite extra attendees who aren’t members of the channel.

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Internet hosting a gathering in a channel lets any member of the channel be part of the assembly. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

One other method to do that: Go to the group channel the place you need to announce this assembly. On the upper-right nook, click on the down arrow subsequent to the Meet button. From the menu that opens, choose Schedule a gathering. The fill-out kind for a brand new assembly will seem in the principle window with the Add channel field already stuffed in with the identify of the channel that you just’re in.

Whenever you’ve completed filling out the brand new assembly kind, click on the Ship button within the upper-right nook. Your scheduled assembly shall be posted to the channel’s Posts tab. Members of the channel will get a discover of your assembly announcement, they usually can reply to this put up with background info or requests for the assembly. You’ll be able to reply and fasten an in depth agenda as a doc by clicking the paperclip icon.

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The assembly info seems within the channel’s Posts tab. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

4. Take a look at and configure your pc {hardware}

If it’s your first time main a Groups video assembly in your present pc, do a take a look at name to make sure that your system works accurately with Groups. You may have to grant permission to Groups to entry your system’s digicam, microphone, and/or audio system, and in addition to permit display screen sharing in your system. Current variations of macOS, as an illustration, require you to grant some permissions in System Preferences.

To check your system, click on the Groups icon on the left toolbar. Then on the higher proper, click on the Meet button. On the video assembly panel that opens, click on the Be a part of now button on the decrease proper. The assembly window will open, and Groups ought to pop up a message asking for permission to entry the digicam, mic, and/or audio system if wanted. (If you happen to don’t get such a request however you possibly can’t see or hear your self, you in all probability have to grant these permissions anyway.)

If you happen to plan to share your display screen throughout the assembly, click on the icon of an upward arrow inside a sq. within the assembly controls toolbar alongside the highest of the display screen. This can open a panel that allows you to share your display screen, an app window, or different content material. If Groups wants permission to share your display screen, it ought to pop up a message requesting this entry.

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If you happen to’re utilizing a Mac, the permission messages Groups pops up ought to take you to System Preferences > Safety & Privateness > Privateness, or you possibly can navigate there manually. On the left aspect of the display screen, click on Digital camera, then discover the Microsoft Groups checkbox on the precise and ensure it’s checked. Discover Microphone, Accessibility, and Display Recording within the listing on the left and examine the Microsoft Groups bins for them as nicely. You’ll have to restart Groups earlier than the modifications take impact. (Marquette College affords extra particulars and troubleshooting suggestions.)

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If you happen to use a Mac, you may want to go to System Preferences to grant Groups permission to make use of the digicam and microphone and share your display screen.

Likewise, if any of your invitees are new to video conferences with Groups, request that they arrive 10 minutes early. You can begin the assembly early to allow them to get their system working correctly earlier than the assembly’s scheduled begin time.

5. Observe PowerPoint shows with the Speaker Coach

That is truly a characteristic in PowerPoint, but it surely’s nice preparation for presenting throughout a Groups assembly: As you observe giving your presentation by talking aloud and clicking by means of the slides, Speaker Coach listens to and watches you thru your PC’s digicam. It provides you real-time suggestions (as banner notices that pop up alongside the highest heart of the display screen) on enhance your efficiency, such because the phrases you select to say, your tempo, and even your expressions and physique language.

Microsoft plans to implement a model of Speaker Coach to be used throughout Groups conferences someday in spring 2022. However within the meantime, you possibly can nonetheless use it as a method to observe giving a PowerPoint that you’ll current to others in a Groups video assembly.

To entry Speaker Coach: Open your presentation in PowerPoint. On the toolbar alongside the highest of the display screen, click on Slide Present and from the menu that opens choose Rehearse with Coach.

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Speaker Coach listens to your PowerPoint shows and affords solutions for enchancment. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

6. Optionally flip off attendees’ cameras and/or mics

If you happen to’re conducting a video assembly with many attendees, you might need to stop attendees from turning on their cameras and mics. This will enhance name high quality and reduce distractions so that you just’re the one one talking or being seen.

To show off cameras and mics earlier than the assembly begins, open a gathering from the calendar within the Groups app and click on Assembly choices. (If you happen to don’t see it, click on the three-dot icon within the toolbar after which choose Assembly choices.) Within the “Assembly choices” pane that opens, flip off the Enable mic for attendees? and Enable digicam for attendees? switches and click on Save.

It’s also possible to do that after you’ve joined the assembly: On the toolbar alongside the highest of the video chat panel, click on the Present contributors button, which is able to open a panel alongside the precise aspect. On the high of this Members panel, click on the three-dot icon and choose Disable mic for attendees or Disable digicam for attendees.

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In giant conferences, disabling attendees’ mics and cameras can enhance sound and video high quality. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

It’s also possible to stop a selected individual from turning on their digicam or unmuting their mic. On the Members panel, click on the three-dot icon subsequent to the individual’s identify and choose Disable mic or Disable digicam.