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The future of meetings is virtual [partner content]

We are witnessing a fundamental change in the way employees interact and communicate with each other, with traditional conference rooms a distant memory and individual team members now meeting online from multiple locations. Within the space of a few short months, virtual meetings have moved from novelty to necessity.

There has been much talk around remote work, but very few examples of companies making the switch until now. Companies around the world are now taking part in one of the largest impromptu workplace experiments, all while at home, and we’re starting to see the results. For many, remote work has meant increased productivity and proof that creativity can flourish when traditional office constraints are removed. For others it has meant renewed collaboration and a world of increased efficiencies.

In essence, a more fluid, collaborative environment has emerged. One enabled by technology and connectivity. But what about face-to-face meetings with clients or brainstorming sessions with colleagues? That’s where Microsoft Teams has come in. It’s a hub for communication that enables employees to meet up and collaborate effectively wherever they are in the world, especially those working within the marketing and communications field. This has meant that no matter where your team is located you are all still able to host daily meetings, training sessions or regular one-on-ones.

Host online meetings using Microsoft Teams’ video and audio capabilities. Presenting a slide show to attendees has never been easier with the share your screen feature. Hosting a particularly large meeting? Use the raise your hand and chat box options to engage participants. You can also record a meeting and share it instantly with everyone who attended.

Microsoft Teams is a particularly useful tool for chief marketing officers looking to present to a large audience. With Teams Live Events, for example, you can hold any webinar, presentation or event, with up to 10,000 people in attendance. This allows you to create a live event wherever your audience, team or community resides.

How different it all is to only a few years ago, when meeting inefficiencies not only discouraged team members from working together, but also presented an unacceptable barrier for a workforce that’s increasingly remote and on-the-go. Poor call connection, an inability to participate in virtual meetings, and the problems associated with accessing a shared screen or seeing a key piece of content are now things of the past.

What’s more, new features designed to improve remote meetings are being rolled out. Within the coming months Microsoft will unveil real-time noise suppression, with artificial intelligence being used to focus attention on your voice. Whether it be ambient noise from a cafe, noisy typing in a conference room, or construction noise outside your home office, unwanted background noise can be distracting in your Microsoft Teams meetings. This will no longer be the case thanks to this innovative addition, which works by analysing an individual’s audio feed and uses specially trained deep neural networks to filter out noise.

As the world adjusts to remote working on a larger scale as a standard business practice, the ability to meet virtually – either one-on-one or in small or large groups – will become critical to the overall success and relevance of a company. Not just because it enables senior management to communicate effectively with their staff, but because it brings all the varied elements within a single company together. From copywriters and designers, to human resources and finance, virtual meetings are helping to oil the engines of change.