Five Tips for Using Microsoft Teams

I work for a software company and we took the plunge with Microsoft Teams as an experiment to better understand what the platform had to offer (we create reporting and analytics solutions). Since that day, some nine months ago, we have settled in as daily users, leveraging Teams as our primary comms and collab tool.

Here are five quick tips for getting more out of Teams. This is by no means a “Top 5” but rather five tips that have helped shape our adoption and ongoing engagement.

Learn One Keyboard Shortcut a Week

Keyboard shortcuts can be hard to learn, but learning a few as you go, can pay big dividends. Do you have a weekly team meeting? Set aside 10 minutes before or after to learn a new one. Start with Alt-H. This gem gets you help and not your Dad’s WordPerfect manual kind of help. You are now a click away from starting a chat with T-Bot, perusing online help, release notes, an FAQ and my favorite, videos. By the way, T-Bot can help you with “keyboard shortcut a week” goal, too.


Become a Headline Writer

One of our most quickly accepted best practices was agreeing to start new chats with a headline. This helps you identify what a thread is all about without having to go too far in the text. When I say write a headline, I really do mean, put yourself in the shoes of the reader. What would help someone get the gist of the conversation? Resist the temptation to be clever (save that for choosing memes).


Spend Time on your Teams and Channel Naming Strategy

Some of us are secret taxonomists. We love curating content and we KNOW our way is the best. Unfortunately, the Lone Wolf approach can lead to confusion among your team. Sense-check your structure. Since my company creates software, we have a Product team and each of the channels within it, are specific products. This way, the team knows exactly where to post to maximize the chance for a response.

Fine tune your notifications

Fine tune your notifications before you start and then every once in a while to ensure you are getting the pings you want and none you don’t. Super easy to do. Just click on your face in the upper right hand corner (as of this writing) and you’ll find Notifications under Settings.

Need to let the whole team in on something?

You can “at mention” the whole gang by typing @team within a channel. This is a powerful command so best to use sparingly. On the other hand, individual “at mentions” is the obvious way to help our team find chats aimed at them. That big white @ symbol on a red background that sits astride chats, is a nice visual clue as well.

at mentioned

I’d be interested to hear what you’ve found that works for your team. Drop me a note below!

(Blog notes: While Microsoft Teams is our front and center tool, we are equally big Yammer users. Our tyGraph Customer Network is Yammer-based. Gifs in this blog were made with Screentogif).