This month we look at some fun features that have come out (or will be coming out) in Microsoft Teams. We also have updates for administrators this month. They have new changes to the Teams Admin Center navigation and a new tool to make app access easier for their users.
National High Five Day is celebrated on the third Thursday of April and is all about giving high fives and spreading good vibes. In honor of National High Five Day, the first Together Emoji was released by Microsoft. It demonstrates the true “high five.” A “Together Emoji” brings together two emojis to express a sentiment. In chat, two people can perform an actual high five! Just message someone in chat and send them the “high five” emoji. When they send you the “high five” emoji back, you will see the emojis meet up on your chat and perform an actual high five.
More Together Emoji sentiments will be coming in the future.
When you hover over a person’s profile picture, it expands and gives you information about them – including their LinkedIn profile. If your organization has this enabled, you will be able to view an external person’s public LinkedIn profile in the expanded view of the profile card in Teams without needing to switch apps.
Speaker Coach (Public Preview)
Want to improve your speaking skills during a meeting? Give Speaker Coach a try. Similar to Rehearse with Coach in PowerPoint, Speaker Coach will monitor your presentation during a Teams meeting and give you feedback. The areas of feedback include:
- Pace – the speed at which you speak
- Inclusiveness – make everyone feel welcome to your meeting by using inclusive language
- Filler Words – words like “um”, “well”, “so”, “you know”, etc. that fill in silence
- Intonation – the pitch of your voice, including whether or not you vary it
- Monologue – pausing to allow a meeting to be a discussion and not just a monologue
- Repetitive Language – measure if you repeat words
The Speaker Coach lets you know how you rated in each of these areas at the end of your meeting (after you hit the Leave button).
Turn on the feature during a meeting from the More options under Language and speech.
You will receive a notification to look at your report when the meeting ends.
Click on the notification banner or on the Speaker coach tab in the meeting chat to access your report.
Clicking on any feedback button gives you information on how you did and what you can do to improve the next time you speak.
These insights are live and seen only by you and no one else. They are not saved in meeting transcripts or audio. Only the summary report is saved for you after the meeting.
Currently, the Speaker Coach only supports the English language, but additional languages are planned. It does not work in Channel meetings or meetings started with the Meet now option.
You can set the speaker coach to automatically start in all meetings.
Green Screen in Teams meetings (Public Preview)
Improved sharpness and definition for video around your face, head, ears, and hair can be increased by the use of the new green screen feature in Teams meetings. It is currently in public preview and only supported if you are on Windows or Mac with Intel chips (not Mac M1/M2). It also requires that your background be a solid color screen or a clean background wall behind you.
Teams Avatars (Public Preview)
Getting screen fatigue from a meeting marathon day? Take a break and use an Avatar in your meetings. Microsoft’s research indicates video usage is highly correlated to meeting participation, inclusiveness, and effectiveness. However, only approximately 30% of participants meet with their video on. Teams now allows you to select customizable avatars and reactions – giving you the opportunity to be more collaborative whether you just need a video break, are joining from a different time zone, or you just prefer not to use video.
Avatars are available in the Teams desktop app on Windows and Mac. It is not available in the consumer version of Teams or in Teams 2.0 yet.
You will need to go to the app navigation bar in Teams, select Apps, and search for the Avatar app and open it. Then create a new avatar.
Select the avatar that looks the most like you and then customize its body, face, hair, appearance, and wardrobe.
Be sure to go through all the tabs across the top of the screen to customize your avatar.
When you join a meeting, keep your video turned off and select Effects and avatars to select your avatar.
When you select a Reaction during a meeting, your avatar will perform the same action.
You can select moods and other actions in the Effects and avatars panel. You can also select a background under Avatar backgrounds.
Note that to use Avatars, you have to meet minimum hardware requirements. You will need a computer with a minimum of a two-core processor (four or more recommended) and at least 4.0 GB RAM (8.0 GB RAM or more recommended).
Auto Install Approved Apps (for Admins)
In addition to the updated look of the Teams admin center, you can now auto-install approved apps for users. The users have to sign into SaaS apps using Azure AD credentials first as it respects app access controls set by admins.
Turn it on under org-wide app settings.
Turn on the apps you wish to auto-install.
Users will see a notification in their Feed panel letting them know the apps are now available for use.
Next month we will cover any new announcements related to the Teams user experience from the Microsoft 365 Conference.