6 Tips for Successful Online Meetings 💻

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

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In today’s digital age, online meetings have become an integral part of academic and professional life. Whether attending a virtual lecture, collaborating on a group project, or attending a job interview, knowing how to navigate online meetings effectively is crucial for success.

In this blogpost I’m going to share some tips to help you navigate online meetings, and you can also visit this webpage for FAQs and training guidance on using MS Teams.

1) Prepare as you would for an in-person meeting

Online meetings provide the convenience of not needing to leave your house. This comes with the temptation to roll out of bed 5 minutes before the start of the meeting. To give yourself the best chance for success:

  • Dress as you would for an in-person meeting.
  • Give yourself some time to get mentally ready to avoid feeling rushed and get into the right headspace.
  • Take the chance to go over your notes, prepare any questions or gather any files you need to share.

2) Connect early

  • This will give you a chance to resolve any technical issues. Test your software, as it might require updates, causing you to have to restart the app or device.
  • You can use this additional time to ensure that you’re familiar with all the available functions in MS Teams, such as the chat, raise-your-hand, screen sharing and live captions functions.

3) Curate your visuals

Here are the top tips for making a positive, professional impression:

  • Choose a laptop over a phone or a tablet if possible. This can help with image stability, as well as allows you to take notes more freely. If you can’t access a laptop, consider using a device stand.
  • Position your camera at eye level, as this will result in the most natural-looking image.
  • Look at the camera rather than the screen when talking, particularly in group meetings. This is as close as you can get to making an eye contact.
  • Ensure that you have good lighting.
  • Choose the right background. Follow this FAQ for instructions on how to add a virtual background.
Screenshot showing the various virtual background that can be added in MS Teams
Virtual background and effects available in MS Teams

4) Optimise your audio

  • Opt for a carpeted and furnished room, if possible. This will result in a warmer, more natural sound without an echo effect.
  • If possible, use a headset instead of the built-in microphone to help improve with the quality of your audio.
  • Keep your microphone muted when you’re not speaking to prevent any unwanted noise.

5) Minimise distractions

  • Choose private, quiet spaces over communal or public spaces.
  • Silence notifications and inform others not to be disturbed if necessary.
  • There may be times when you need to step away from the meeting (e.g. if someone rings the doorbell), in which case let the people in the meeting know by leaving a brief message in the chat.

6) Mind What You Share

If you need to share your screen during the meeting it’s always better to share a specific window rather than your entire screen, but there may be occasions where this is unavoidable. In which case:

  • Close any irrelevant tabs.
  • Mute or close programs to avoid notifications or other pop-ups. Or alternatively, turn on the do not disturb mode.
  • Move, rename, or delete any sensitive bookmarks or files.
  • Consider deleting your cookies and search history if your browser shows previous searches or uses auto-fill.

Begin a new chapter – Apps to help your reading habits 📖

Blogpost by Shân Saunders (Digital Capabilities and Skills Development Coordinator)

With the advancement of phones and technology there’s now an app for everything – including reading! As an avid reader I like to challenge myself with yearly goals, discuss books with fellow readers and gain reading stats. With my top three reading apps – all of these are possible! 

  1. Goodreads  

Goodreads is great for tracking your current reads and staying on track for your reading goals.  

  • Set yourself a yearly reading challenge and Goodreads will tell you whether you’re on track. 
  • Track your current reads to see how far through you are.
  • Receive a badge if you reach your goal. 
  • View books you’ve read in previous years. 
  • Create reading shelves for your needs like “want to read”. 
  • Scan book covers instead of searching for them. 
  • Discover new books based on your recent reads, new releases and trending books.  

Read More

DigiTip 18 – Express yourself with Emojis with the hidden keyboard shortcut 🥳🤩💖

Emojis have become an essential part of how we communicate, and they can be fantastic for expressing our emotions with just a single character 🥰🤣🙄🤯😴 

Most of us will be more familiar with using emojis on our mobile phones 📱, but there will be times when we’ll want to include emojis when using our laptops or computers 💻. Instead of googling for the emoji you need, why not access it directly from your keyboard!? 

On both Windows and Mac, you can access your emoji keyboard in seconds by selecting: 

  • Windows – Windows Key + “.” (period button/full stop) 
  • Mac – Command Key + Control + Spacebar 

Watch the video below to see how this shortcut works on a Windows device. 

To follow our DigiTips, subscribe to our Digital Skills Blog. Or alternatively, you can bookmark this webpage, where a new DigiTip will be added each week!

DigiTip 10 – Brainstorm new ideas using the whiteboard in MS Teams 💡

Do you need to brainstorm new ideas with your peers for a group assignment? Or perhaps you have a work project that you want to discuss new ideas for with colleagues? The whiteboard in Microsoft Teams is a fantastic tool for this and provides you with a range of templates to choose from.  

Watch the video below to learn how to get started, or please click on this link if you wish to view the below video with closed captions.

We’ll also be showing how to use the whiteboard during our Mastering group work with online tools and strategies session this afternoon (7 November, 15:00-16:00) as part of the Digital Skills Festival! You can join this session directly from the festival programme.

To follow our DigiTips, subscribe to our Digital Skills Blog. Or alternatively, you can bookmark this webpage, where a new DigiTip will be added each week!  

Microsoft PowerPoint Tips and Tricks 💡

Blogpost by Jeffrey Clark (Student Digital Champion)

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Like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint is another Microsoft application you’ve probably used before. Planning for delivering a presentation can be daunting and even a frightening task for some, as not only do you have to speak in front of your fellow students, but your PowerPoint presentation will also be on full display. But, have no fear as this blogpost will give you some valuable tips and tricks to help turn a good presentation into a GREAT presentation!

Tip 1: Inserting Excel data into PowerPoint

If your presentation requires you to show data from an existing Microsoft Excel document, there is an easy way to display it within PowerPoint.

  1. On the slide you want your data to appear on, go to Insert > Object
  2. From the Insert Object window, select Create from file > Browse > then select the Microsoft Excel file where the chart you want to include is located > OK
  3. This will automatically insert both the data and chart from your Microsoft Excel document
  4. You can edit this data directly within your PowerPoint document by double-clicking on the chart on your slide
  5. Click outside of the chart when you are finished, and PowerPoint will produce a chart with your Excel data!

Tip 2: Inserting a YouTube video in PowerPoint

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Develop your Digital Communication Skills

Want to learn how to improve your digital communication skills and especially how to use Instagram to promote your Business or Social Enterprise?

AberPreneurs, part of the University’s Careers Service, are running an exiting online event, Use Instagram for your Business/Social Enterprise – with Kacie Morgan, on 5 September (18:00-19:00). This session will be delivered online on MS Teams.

To book or your place or for any queries, please contact aberpreneurs@aber.ac.uk.