When the situation calls for resolution in a conversation rather than a chain of email messages that can be misinterpreted and misunderstood, set up a meeting. Scheduling a Lync-based meeting in Outlook involves a few basic steps. From the File menu, choose “New Meeting” and enter the participants in the “To…” field. Click on the “Rooms” button to select a conference room, if some of your participants will be meeting face-to-face. Click the “Scheduling Assistant” button to check availability of all the participants. View the “Suggested times” area on the right to get advice on how many people are available.
Next, enter a descriptive subject for your meeting. Be as specific as possible. Click the ”Lync Meeting” button and Outlook inserts details about how to join your meeting into the body of the message. Above the details about connecting to the Lync meeting, enter information about the meeting, such as the purpose, agenda topics, order of speakers and any required pre-work. Without an agenda, you may find that participants talk about random topics. While some chitchat contributes to relationship building, get focused on the action at hand and your meeting will proceed more smoothly, and you will accomplish your objective.
You can set up recurring meetings. Additionally, you can update the meeting invitation to add new people (and only send the message to them) and change the response options on your updates (so participants don’t have to accept invitations. You can also click the “Time Zones” button, so you can set the time your meeting appropriately for different time zones for remote participants.
To join the meeting, the participants can simply click on the “Meeting” icon in their Lync window and select the meeting. Lync meetings appear in blue. Once in the meeting, presenters can present PowerPoint presentations and use the highlighter pen to draw attention to particular areas of the screen. Notes are visible to the presenter, making it easy to remember to use the speaker notes. Presenters can also create polls, share their desktop and upload attachments to the meeting. Collaboration flows when you take advantage of the Lync features.
To fully engage participants, enable videos, so participants who speak are visible through their webcam as well. Additionally, use the message box (the first one on the left in the Lync conversation window) to chat with participants. For example, effective presenters ask participants questions about the material presented to get their opinion, check their understanding or clarify misconceptions. Chat works well when there are many participants, and spoken interaction disrupts the presentation flow. Additionally, participants who participate in a language, not their primary language may find it easier to interact with the presenter this manner.
It’s easy to record a Lync meeting, as well. As long as everyone agrees, click the “…” button in the lower right of the Lync window and click the “Start Recording” option. To begin recording. For example, the presenter may want to share her desktop and provide a demonstration of how to complete a complicated procedure. Click the “Stop recording” link and the file processes. You can distribute the MP4 file through email or upload it to a SharePoint site for easier access.
Use OneNote to keep track of discussion points and action items. Open OneNote, press CTRL/N to create a new note and select the meeting from the “Meeting Details” drop-down menu. OneNote inserts the names of people invited to the meeting. Use can use the Strikethrough font to indicate people who missed the meeting. OneNote offers many other features to chronicle the meeting in a comprehensive way that serves to foster collaboration on your team. At the conclusion of the meeting, distribute the notes by clicking the “File->Send->Email Page” option. You can also synchronize the OneNote with your SharePoint site to publish copies of the notes for later viewing by other people who need information but may not have been part of the meeting. Keeping a record of decisions made, action items and other details helps keeps the team focused on accomplishing both short and long term goals.
To retrieve notes later, simply click on the Calendar entry in your Outlook calendar and click the OneNote button. You can also search your Outlook Calendar for the subject line to find the Calendar entry and then open the OneNote item. Retrieving information from Outlook is easy using the options available to filter items. For the View menu, click the “From” field and then click the Collapse All Groups option. Your view shows a list of people who have sent you email in alphabetical order. You can also the Date field to see when items get sent or received. This action helps you locate information based on when it was sent and by whom. Once you open a message, click the Related Messages button to locate all emails with the same subject message and you can follow the thread. Viewing Outlook on your mobile phone also provides this feature, making it easy to sort and take action appropriately.
Some people find it useful to create folders to keep track of information. To create a rule, create a folder and then use the Outlook wizard to take action upon receipt of messages according to criteria you set. Handling email automatically saves you time and enables a productive knowledge management system.