Virtual Teams

MS Teams – simpler is best

As a long time user of WebEx training centre and, to a lesser extent, Zoom, I was initially a bit frustrated with MS Teams. WebEx and Zoom have so many more ways for participants to interact through annotation and other features.  However, having used Teams a lot recently I am a convert to the simplicity of their limited number of interaction tools.

It is a paradox, but the fewer tools we have, the more we need to focus on the conversations and engagement we create. We have been running interactive webinars for 15 years now so we’re not recent converts sharing the learning of the last three months. Interactivity is in our DNA, whether face to face or online.

We work hard to create engagement and get fantastic feedback from our participants about this. You would think that by giving people more opportunities; sometimes using a pointer, adding text, arrows, go faster, thumbs up thumbs down, would add variety,  but in fact it seems to distract participants from the content and the conversations.

I have just finished running over 20 hours of MS Teams interactive webinars this week. The only functions I have used to get people to interact are raise hands, comments, gifs and emojis. it takes about 30 seconds for people to learn how to use them and after that it becomes natural for people to raise hands or use chat. In a 10 hour (4 module) program I only needed one slide to explain the technology we were going to use.

Of course, it puts an extra premium on your facilitation skills. It is more like being a chat show host than a traditional trainer, but it’s amazing the amount of interaction and conversation you can create.

We have also recently developed a new programme on inclusive virtual meetings to take advantage of the opportunities these tools give us to overcome some of the traditional barriers to diverse groups of people contributing in meetings. Virtual meetings allow us to reduce the impact of status and get parallel input from people with very different preferences about how they want to communicate. They can be better for everyone.

So I’m a convert to the simplicity of MS Teams and already find it makes some of the other platforms feel dated. There are of course things that can be improved, and I am looking forward to having proper breakout rooms available in November this year.

I know there are many apps available for MS Teams but that’s probably not going to work well for us because we work with a wide range of organisations and very few of them will have a consistent set of apps installed.

I think by keeping the technology simple and allowing it to fade into the background we can concentrate on conversations. I know Teams will add more features as it develops but I hope it will retain this simplicity.

Find out more about how we train trainers and people who run meetings regularly to facilitate interactive virtual meetings.

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

25 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote, virtual and hybrid working, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 25 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions