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    June 24, 2019

    Meetings Don’t Need to be the Most Stressful Time of Day

    Every organization wants to be able to run effective team meetings. However, effective meetings can be difficult to conduct without the right environment. Between technology, users, network, and many other factors — a lot must go right for a meeting to be effective.

    If one thing goes wrong, the whole meeting can quickly become ineffective. Multiple things can happen such as delays in the network slowing the meeting down, user error causing awkward interruptions, and technology simply not working as intended.

    Effective meetings are difficult to achieve, but Microsoft Teams makes it much easier.

    The Universal Story of Ineffective Meetings

    What does an ineffective meeting look like in the modern workplace? It’s the beginning of the week. Your team has a weekly meeting to discuss which projects they'll be working on in the coming days. This meeting is an ideal time for team members to inform each other of potential roadblocks and ask for assistance. It's also the only face-to-face time you'll have with remote members.

    Problems begin as soon as the meeting starts. Different users will start at different times, especially if most of them are remote. It's unlikely the meeting will start on time with users joining from separate locations. Time is wasted waiting for team members or engaging in small talk.

    There are problems that arise when users try to join meetings. Organizations with security concerns may use PINs and passcodes to limit access to their meetings. These codes are useful for security but can backfire without proper adoption and governance. Security measures when not implemented properly can cause users to feel frustrated and alienated.

    Meeting participants have to contend with distractions, especially when meeting via video collaboration platforms. Pets and children can wander into view of a webcam and draw the participants' attention. Loud sounds can be very distracting. People, trains, and cars can be picked up by unmuted mics to derail meetings.

    Network issues can cause audio and video delays. They may even boot users out of the meeting. This becomes even more of a problem with multiple remote users. The more  networks the more potential connection errors can occur.

    Sometimes, it feels as though weekly meetings like these can be replaced by emails or messages summarizing the topics. However, meetings with full video collaboration are essential to help remote team members feel engaged and included. You'll need to find a solution to reduce meeting problems and get the most out of your collaboration.

    Meetings with Microsoft Teams

    Microsoft Teams is a solution modern organizations can use to improve their meeting experiences.

    Enhanced with modern technology and artificial intelligence, Teams can automatically record a transcript of everything said during the meeting. The transcription works even in a challenging sound environment with people talking over one another. Users don't need to worry about messages being lost due to audio problems on their end.

    The AI can even be trained to understand your team’s speech patterns and business jargon. Little content, if any, will get lost in translation. Microsoft’s intelligent meetings also have the ability to translate your meeting notes and transcripts into multiple languages in real-time.

    Scheduling is also much easier with intelligent meetings. Microsoft’s assistant Cortana can offer automatic meeting times based on members’ availability. Once a start and end time are set, you'll receive reminders before and during the meeting as those times approach. This keeps participants from joining late or letting the meeting drag on.

    Teams has features to mitigate audio problems and potential distractions. Attendees can join muted to avoid disrupting the flow of the meeting. The hand raise function in Teams will allow them to grab a speaker's attention without potentially talking over them.

    At the same time, the AI can be trained to detect when they're trying to speak. Once it knows this, it can unmute them automatically.

    Video distractions can be obscured with background blur or with virtual backgrounds. Once the AI detects the participant, they'll be front and center while everything behind them is invisible.

    Taking the Stress Out of Your Meetings

    When it comes to modern-day collaboration, people understand the value of unspoken communication. Video collaboration is extremely important, especially for teams with remote members. Fortunately, Teams has among the best video conferencing in the industry. It also has the added benefits of the Microsoft 365 suite and the Microsoft partner ecosystem.

    Meetings can be stressful for many organizations. Microsoft Teams has features to mitigate meeting problems and improve your collaboration overall. However, gaining these benefits requires an in-depth design and user adoption strategy.

    Continuant is a unified communications integrator that can help you design, deploy, and manage a Teams solution. For more than 25 years, we've helped our customers get the most out of their communication technology. We'll get you the support you need to make ineffective meetings a thing of the past.

    Ready to reduce the stress your meetings cause? Schedule an assessment today to learn what Teams meetings can do for you.

    Schedule Assessment

    * Editor's Note: This article was originally published in June 2019 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

    Mike Hanks

    As Director of Microsoft Solutions and Services, Mike Hanks leads the Continuant team in program management and sales of solutions and services for Microsoft Intelligent Communications. While at Continuant, Mike has worked in many key areas, including Cloud, Strategy, Sales, Customer Service, and Operations, where he...

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