Office 365 notification MC209022 (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 62755) posted on April 9 announces that Teams meeting participants can raise a “virtual hand” to attract the attention of fellow participants. The idea is that raising a hand indicates your desire to speak. The feature will be available in mid-April for PC, Mac, and browser clients. Users in the GCC (government) clouds have to wait until May to allow software validation tests to happen. Linux and mobile clients will support hand raising in the future.
As shown in Figure 1, the raise hand option is in the meeting bar and is available for on-demand (meet now), channel, and personal meetings. Clicking the icon causes the Teams to signal your desire to speak and flags this to other people in the meeting, including in the meeting roster (Figure 2).
The attendee who raises their hand or a presenter defined for the meeting can lower a raised hand.
Who Needs a Raised Hand?
Some will scoff at the need for a raised hand feature. Perhaps these are the same people who cheerfully interrupt a meeting with a raised voice, cutting across whoever’s speaking at that point. A Teams meeting can have up to 250 participants (a limit that’s sure to be increased in the future), and anyone who has ever participated in a large Teams meeting knows how difficult it can be to know when it’s right to make a point.
It’s different in person. People see visual clues that show when people want to speak and those running the meeting can call upon those people to speak. But the relative anonymity of online meetings mean that new etiquette is needed. For instance, people should always mute their microphone when they’re not speaking to avoid background noise interrupting the flow of the meeting. In this context, a raised hand is simply a way to help online Teams meetings run more smoothly by giving additional structure.
Of course, people won’t necessarily remember to raise their hands and will blunder on to make their point regardless. As always, user education and awareness is needed to take full advantage of the functionality available to us.
Important in Education
Corporate meetings can be chaotic, but classes even more so. Much of the current increase in Teams usage is being driven by the education sector and I imagine that teachers will welcome the raised hand feature as another way to introduce some order to the classroom. Then again, I’m not a teacher and perhaps the classrooms of today are calmer places than I remember,
It seems that all people want to talk about today is Teams. But it’s important to recognize that Teams sits on top of so many Office 365 and Azure services. We can’t just focus on Teams, so we take a broader view in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. If you’re involved in Teams administration, you need to understand Office 365 as well.