This introductory blog series is intended for remote workers who have started using Teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will be an essential tool in the battle to stay productive, to stay connected, and to fight corona as one global community. It is not intended for IT Pros which should refer to the Teams Real Simple with Pictures series, also on this site

Day 1: Desktop Client Orientation 101
Day 2: How do I join or create a team? Create a channel? Start a chat?
Day 3: How do I chat with others outside of my organisation?
Day 4: Rich chat features for effective conversations
Day 5: Mentions, Tags and Read Reciepts
Day 6: How can I set my availability? When is it right to chat and call?
Day 7: How can I schedule a meeting?
Day 8: How do I join a meeting?
Day 9: How do I turn the meeting lobby on or off?
Day 10: How do I add an agenda prior to the meeting?

Written: 26/03/2020 | Updated: N/A

Applies to:

Having discussed the lobby, the next area to look at is adding an agenda prior to the meeting. Agendas can help focus the meeting, keeping members on track and making them more productive – agenda’s help with setting a structure and a narrative. Of course, not all meetings or audiences warrant agendas, and so this will need to be a decision on  a meeting by meeting basis – like the lobby.

This will look at

  • Setting an agenda through the Meeting Details in Teams
  • Setting an agenda through Meeting Notes in Teams
  • Setting an agenda through sharing a file in Teams
  • Setting an agenda through a screen share in Teams
  • Setting an agenda through Outlook and OneNote

There are pro’s and cons of each method – this blog is not to determine which is best and deep dive into the intricacies of each – but simply outlines how it can be done rapidly so you can start using them for your meetings

SETTING AN AGENDA THROUGH THE MEETING DETAILS IN TEAMS

An agenda can be easily set in the meeting details whilst scheduling the meeting. Select Calendar on the app bar on the left

Select New Meeting

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Set the agenda in the meeting details, complete all other details then select save

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Agenda will be on the meeting details in Teams and in Outlook next to the join link and they will also be sent through on the invite. They will also be visible in the meeting  by selecting Ellipsis (…) on the meeting controls, then select Show Meeting Details 

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Whilst this is a quick easy method to get the agenda out during the scheduling and all who are invited to the meeting will be notified by the invite – the limitation with this method is that the agenda items cannot be amended or outcomes assigned to those items within the meeting details during the meeting. It may also be confusing for some people too given that there is a defined section for meeting notes. Guests may or may not see the meeting details dependent upon what environment they are joining from

SETTING AN AGENDA THROUGH THE MEETING NOTES IN TEAMS

An agenda can also easily be set in the meeting notes. After scheduling the meeting, double click on the meeting

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Select Meeting Notes

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Select Take Notes

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Add the Agenda Items and then Close (top right). You can also leverage mentions in the meeting notes to notify attendees. The meeting notes is a wiki which sits within your OneDrive for Business in the folder Microsoft Teams Data

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Once done, join the meeting. Agenda notes will be visible in the meeting by selecting Ellipsis (…) on the meeting controls, then select Show Meeting Notes. You can add to the meeting notes with actions and outcomes throughout the meeting

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The meeting notes can be seen by all attendees in Chat too

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The big benefit to this method is to be able to add actions and outcomes to the meeting notes during the meeting, and it is the defined way to take notes in Teams prior to the meeting which could be taken to cover agendas. All attendees have access to the meeting notes via the meeting in Teams. Guests have access There are some known limitations with this method: they can’t be seen in Outlook, only people in the same organisation can see them which means guests have to be in the organisers environment to view them, they aren’t available for meetings with more than 20 people and people who are invited to the meeting after the notes have been created cannot see them

SETTING AN AGENDA THROUGH SHARING A FILE IN TEAMS

Another method I have seen fairly regularly is setting the agenda in an attachment. After scheduling the meeting, double click on the meeting

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Select Files, then Share, upload the file. An important note here is that the file will not be visible after you have uploaded it

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Once done, join the meeting. The file with the Agenda notes will be visible in the chat window

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Selecting the file it will open in Teams whilst the meeting pops out

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The benefits to this method include that it is easy to upload the file and attendees (Including guests) can collaborate, amend, and add action items to it during the meeting. Comments and the meeting conversation can be run alongside it. Like meeting notes it is also available in the chat associated with the meeting after. The limitation is that the meeting screen is minimised during the meeting which can take focus away from the speaker, and the file is not visible before the meeting unless joining the meeting and it is not visible against the associated chat after the meetin. Permissions may be an issue to if your organisation has locked down file sharing with external users.

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SETTING AN AGENDA THROUGH SCREEN SHARING IN TEAMS

This requires the agenda to be on PowerPoint and is not technically before the meeting unless you take it to be immediately beforehand – but if the organiser arrives early then they can begin screen sharing before attendees arrive. Join the meeting and then select the Share Icon

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Select the Agenda PowerPoint to begin sharing

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There are some benefits to this method – its visual and the focus is on the agenda and what is at hand and attendees don’t have to dive into any settings like the meeting details or the meeting notes. The limitations to this method is that any changes to the PowerPoint won’t be reflected unless stopping sharing and re-sharing. In addition, there is no place to access the agenda and outcomes after the meeting: the powerpoint would need to be shared via OneDrive. Of course, changes to the PowerPoint could be done in full view by sharing the window as opposed to the PowerPoint – however this may be distracting and may take away focus from the discussion

SETTING AN AGENDA THROUGH OUTLOOK AND ONENOTE

Of course, there is always the option of not setting the agenda through Teams as meetings are also created through Outlook. In this scenario OneNote can also be used

In Outlook, select Calendar

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Select New Teams Meeting

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Select OneNote Meeting Notes

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Select Share Notes with the Meeting

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Select the workbook you want to save the meeting notes to, then Ok. If you haven’t created a notebook you will need to go through steps to save the notebook before this selection can be made. It is advised to save it in your OneDrive.

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The view meeting notes link is now posted in the Meeting details, the hyperlink goes through to the notes, where the agenda has been created

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Complete the scheduling of the meeting by clicking Send on the email. The OneNote link is now visible in the Teams meeting details and can be accessed in the OneNote client or the web

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The big benefit of this method is that, if you working in a close team and the OneNote notebook is shared with the Team users, the notebook can be surfaced in the Team itself and repeatedly used for agendas and meeting notes

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Like the meeting details method, it can be seen and referenced in the meeting

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Like the PowerPoint method, you could also use it alongside the meeting by clicking out to the Team on the app bar and then going to the OneNote tab in the Team

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The limitations of this method include that the OneNote itself cannot be surfaced within the meeting – and that whilst OneNote can be shared with external users and guests who can access it through Teams, the people who attend meetings in the Team may change meaning that unless everyone is granted access to all meeting information new OneNote notebooks may have to be created – this potentially gives some admin overhead and could cause confusion. Still, it could be highly effective in a Team for recurrent Team meeting – thinking in particular of channel meetings

Our job here is done for today! I hope that you now understand

  • How to add an agenda through the Meeting Details in Teams
  • How to add an agenda through Meeting Notes in Teams
  • How to add an agenda through sharing a file in Teams
  • How to add an agenda through a screen share in Teams
  • How to add an agenda through Outlook and OneNote

Meeting focus and engagement is important. A good and accessible agenda will help with that in some types of meeting or with particular audiences. There are no hard and fast rules to how to add an agenda – all have pro’s and con’s and all have limitations in some sense. Try them out, find what works for you, and what’s important given things like visibility, will people get the agenda and access it before the meeting, can it be amending during, and can it be accessed after.

I hope you enjoyed this blog

Tomorrow’s blog is going to be Rescheduling and Cancelling meetings

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