On our Company Journey, which will be shaped by COVID for a considerable time to come, adaptation has become a key factor. Not just a key to survive, but a key to succeed. And although this refers to anything and everything, we are focusing on virtual – virtual meetings and remote working.
A technology boost is obvious, and according to a McKinsey research, it has brought us almost 5 years ahead. Virtual technology – fast forward.
Into the virtual world with MS Teams
TCJG has a few years of experience with virtual formats. With the first lock-down, we immediately switched to digital formats. And tested a lot of tools in the process.
Microsoft Teams have quickly gained a central place, as they are well represented in the world of our customers. We design interactive virtual workshops with this tool with over 70 participants in the plenum. Within a few minutes the participants change into small groups to work on individual tasks and to exchange ideas. Here, both ideas and files are exchanged. It’s like going from one meeting to another and then seeing your colleagues again in a large conference room. Only digital. The power of break-out rooms. Virtual technology – fast forward.
Arrive in virtual format – before the actual session
In order to ensure that the virtual workshop runs smoothly for each participant, we encourage so-called “technical-check calls” before the actual virtual workshop. We have learned how valuable it is that all participants feel familiar and comfortable with their (virtual) environment, both in the main room and in the breakout rooms. And also with all the collaboration tools we want to use in our workshop, such as a whiteboard or survey tools. In short, the options and possibilities of Microsoft Teams are presented by the facilitator and immediately tested by the participants. In case of a problem, this can then be solved before the workshop starts.
And then in the actual session – there’s some action going on
By adapting the technical aspect in the Microsoft teams, we ensure that the workshop itself runs smoothly. We can now focus on participants and content and offer a real virtual experience.
Apart from seeing each other on a screen, we are able to quickly exchange links, data, ideas, questions or a smile simply by using the Microsoft Teams Chat option during the workshop.
Various plug-ins allow us to tailor our meeting or workshop to our exact needs. By adding a Wiki tab or a OneNote tab, you can quickly take notes, create documents, share thoughts with your colleagues and then present your ideas graphically by adding whiteboard tabs such as InVision or Conceptboard. In our workshops, the Conceptboard has proven to be a great collaboration tool – user-friendly and with great presentation possibilities. Together with the use of the Mentimeter, we encourage participants to get involved and be active in a workshop.
Not as observers, but as participants.
And then, after a few exercises and the exchange of ideas, it is time for a break. And what would that break be without a little music or a nice video on the screen, just until we meet again and continue with the workshop. Virtual technology – fast forward.
Our tip: If you are a presenter, there are some great new options such as Spotlight Option – choosing a video (including your own) as the main video that all participants will see. Pretty cool.
Virtual technology – fast forward.
It goes even further – there is always something new happening.
There are also some quite interesting announcements about current Microsoft Teams developments, such as Meeting recap option – which allows recording the meeting, transcribing, chatting and sharing files in a meeting chat for all participants of the meeting.
The new Together Mode and Custom Layouts option should take this virtual experience to a much higher level. By creating new visuals, we should feel like we are actually in a workshop, seminar or café. And with Custom Layouts we will be able to see a video feed and the presenter at the same time. In this way, participants can follow the material and see the facial expressions of the presenter as well.
The existing Together Mode is available for a minimum of 4 people in one session. As soon as 10 or more participants are present, a large gallery option can be selected.
Virtual technology – fast forward.
We have to agree that our routine, our daily life, has changed. With each day we discover more and more possibilities. New, incredible developments in the virtual world are happening fast forward. The future is happening now. And the question is – is reality changing into virtual or virtual into reality?
You create the future!
This is something we’re good at.