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What The Heck Is Microsoft Teams And How Do I Use It!?

All is good! Teams is a new (to us) chat and video meeting platform that can help cut down on the large quantities of email and make getting in touch for a quick question faster and easier!

Now there is a slight learning curve to this platform, but that’s why you’re here reading this article – to learn and get past the curve!

“Teams” in Microsoft Teams explained

1) Think of a “team” as a house

In Microsoft Teams you work in different “teams”. You can think of each team as a house where you work together with others. Everyone who is a member of the house will be included in everything that goes on in the house.

For example, everyone is a part of the Minnesota Title team and is also a part of their specific department team!

2) Think of a “Channel” as a room

When you first build your house it only has one room. In Microsoft Teams this corresponds to the “General” channel.

In this room, you can hear what everyone says -whether or not you are in the room at the point in time it is said. Everything is noted down. In Microsoft Teams this relates to “Posts”. Conversations, announcements, replies, everything is visible in the “Posts” window. Everyone in the team sees everything in the channel posts.

You are not limited to just chatting to each other in the room. In Microsoft Teams you do this using reactions, emoticons, GIFs, memes, stickers and much more

As you start working on more projects and more initiatives, different constellations of people in your house will break out and start working in different rooms. In Microsoft Teams a new room corresponds to a new “Channel”.  You can select if a channel should be “Standard” or “Private”. You can think of a Private channel as an invisible room that only selected people in your house can see and have the key to enter.

3) Think of the “Activity Feed” as the hallway

In the middle of the house you have a hallway. You can stand in the hallway, open the doors to the rooms you are most interested in, and hear all the conversations going on in the various rooms – without leaving the hallway!

In Microsoft Teams, the hallway corresponds to the “Activity Feed.” Opening the door to a room corresponds to turning on “Channel notifications”.

You don’t have to worry about missing out on anything that is being said in the rooms with closed doors. At any time, you can walk into the room and get up to speed on everything that has happened in the room. In Microsoft Teams, this corresponds to going to a channel and seeing what’s been posted in the “Posts” window.

Also, if someone in a room wants your attention – even if the door is closed, they can just get your attention using a megaphone. In Microsoft Teams, this relates to an @mention. Whenever someone @mentions you, you will see it in your “Activity feed” whether you have turned on channel notifications or not.

4) Think of “Chat” as private conversations by the coffee machine

Sometimes you might want to have a private conversation with one, or a few people in your house. A conversation that is not heard by everyone else. In Teams you do this using “Chat” or “Calls”. Whatever you write or say here is only for the ones present. If you frequently have private conversations with a group of people, you can create a group chat.

Private conversations are great for social talk or for things that aren’t of interest to the others in the room. Such as, “I’m running late”, or “shall we meet up for lunch?”

5) Think of “Tabs” as posters pinned on the wall

In your various rooms, you can pin things on the walls. This helps your room focus on what’s most important and it helps you find what you need. In Microsoft Teams this corresponds to “Tabs”. Here you can pin things of importance – such as Excel spreadsheets, shared notes and other apps.

Updated on July 29, 2020

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