Using Technology to facilitate meetings in a geographically dispersed and complex environment solves many challenges.
Establishing common practices, guidelines, and maintaining an awareness of technological limitations will provide a more productive experience.
Below are some guidelines with best practices and limitations specifically around:
- Scheduling a Single or Series of Meetings (using Microsoft Outlook)
- Virtual Meetings (using Microsoft Teams)
- Maintaining a Series (recurring) of Meetings (using Microsoft Outlook)
- Making Changes to Meetings as an Attendee (using Microsoft Outlook)
Scheduling a Single or Series of Meetings
- Provide an agenda and the expected outcome of the meeting: Agendas and expected outcomes will provide participants context to the discussion and enough information to prepare in advance to use the meeting time productively and effectively.
- Use the Scheduling Assistant to identify an appropriate time and location for the meeting: The scheduling agent will identify availability to ensure desired attendees are able to attend.
- Schedule recurring meetings with an end date: Distribution lists, attendees, agendas change over time, making updates to a never-ending series eliminates historical records of meetings in the calendars of all attendees. Microsoft recommends recurring meetings not be scheduled for more than a period of 6 months.
- Avoid creating recurring meetings with a lot of variance: If a regularly scheduled meeting is expected to have a lot of change (attendee list, agenda, time, location, etc) avoid complexity and schedule multiple single instances of the meeting.
- Send Links, not attachments to meetings when you can share via OneDrive for Business, Teams, and SharePoint: Sending attachments means updating invitations and sending multiple copies, it means a static document that is not intended to be updated. Inserting a Link to a meeting invite allows for a single source of truth and less management for your meeting. Try using OneNote to document specific agendas and capture of information over a series of meetings.
Virtual Meetings (using Microsoft Teams)
- Create MS Teams meetings directly via Outlook or Teams, do not copy and paste meeting links into invitations: Copying and pasting links from different meetings creates uncertainty and security concerns. Meeting titles may be incorrect, attendees will not know who has access to the meeting call or chat.
- Do not add guests to a series of meetings, create a replacement: Once a person is invited to a MS Teams call, they are able to participate in all future meetings and see previous chat. If inviting a single participate on one occasion to a team meeting, cancel that months meeting and create a new one with the guest.
Maintaining a Series (recurring) of Meetings
- Do not cancel recurring meetings when no longer necessary, set an end date: Cancelling a reoccurring meeting will remove the meetings from the calendars of all participants and they will no longer be able to review the details. Rather than cancel or delete, the organizer can update the meeting to provide an end date.
- Do not make changes to the day and time of a recurring meeting, set an end date, and create a new series: Changes will remove historical information from all attendees calendars. Rather than edit a series, the organizer can update the meeting to provide an end date and schedule a new series of meetings if necessary.
- Always “send updates to all attendees” after changes are made: Ensure all attendees always stay informed on any changes.
- Use the Outlook application or Web version as often as possible to make changes to meetings: Mobile applications can have undesired effects when makes changes. Calendars for Outlook on IOS and Android should be primarily used for review and information rather than scheduling or changing meetings.
Making Changes to Meetings as an Attendee
- Request the meeting organizer add additional attendees: Do not forward meeting invitations to additional participants as updates will not necessarily be provided to the unofficial participants should the organizer make changes.
- Do not edit a meeting event to include notes: Create a separate meeting in your calendar to ensure your notes are not overwritten or lost.