Managing Meetings and Appointments in Microsoft Teams and Bookings

Vanessa Damaso

by Vanessa Damaso     5 MIN READ

Being productive in your role requires you to keep track of tasks and appointments. But effective meeting planning and appointment management can be daunting, especially if you have many other responsibilities.

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has the best tools to make it easier to manage meetings and appointments.

This article will discuss how you can manage meetings with Microsoft Teams and conclude with information on setting up appointments with Microsoft Bookings.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Teams is a communications medium that makes one-on-one /group chats and audio/video meetings possible, with a built-in group calendar and dedicated areas for file storage. It is like a virtual office with everything you need to effectively communicate no matter where you are.

With Teams, creating meetings is simple and straightforward. Teams suggest available time slots convenient for everyone invited to the meeting, based on individual Outlook calendars.

MS Teams consists of 3 main parts - Teams, Channels, and Groups. Teams are great for managing projects or departmental information.

For example, a single Team for your organization can have Channels for marketing, sales, or support. Groups are like private forums to talk with a specific group of people. In a Group, you can have real-time chats, quick group calls, or share files with a particular group of people within your team.

With Microsoft Teams, you can access documents and files and stay in touch with your team from anywhere —even on the go.

Getting Started with Teams

Microsoft Teams

So, you want to access MS Teams, but you are not sure how.

The good news is that MS Teams comes with your Microsoft 365 subscription. There are two ways to get started: (a) access it from the web or (b) download the desktop or mobile version from your device’s app store.

To access Teams through the web, sign in to https://www.office.com with your Microsoft Account. Once you are signed in, click on the app launcher on the left side of your screen and select Teams.

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To download a desktop and mobile version of Teams, you can go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-ww/microsoft-teams/download-app and click on 'Download for desktop' or 'Download for mobile.'

The mobile app version of Teams is available in iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Just type “Microsoft Teams” into the search bar and follow the prompts to install.

First Time User

If you are a first-time user, you will need to create your first Team. 

1. Click on Teams on the left side of your screen.

2. Click on From Scratch.

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3. Select Private or Public.

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4. Assign a name for your Team and add a brief description.

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After creating a Team, you can add people from your organization to it. In a private Team, only the added people will see it. Anyone in your organization can join after the Team is created if it is public. At Vineforce, we use a single public team for the entire company. 

Once a Team is set up, you can organize it using Channels. Channels group resources within a Team.   

5. Select the Team you created and click on Create More Channels. “Tech. Inc.” is the Team's name in the example below.

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At Vineforce, we use channels to send announcements, such as news and general updates within the company. These may be "coming-to-work issues" or deployment alerts for changes in our app, to name a few. Depending on your organization, Channels can be used as a hub for departmental information or for specific projects.

Creating and Scheduling Meetings 

Scheduling a meeting can be a tedious process, especially when you need to coordinate schedules. With MS Teams, you can see everyone's calendar, so when you're booking a meeting for a team-building activity, you don't have to worry about disrupting other people's schedules.

One of my favorite features of Microsoft Teams is the ability to create meetings quickly for specific people within my team or outside my organization.

To create a Quick Meeting:

  1. Click on the Calendar tab on the left side of your screen. 

    Calendar Tab - Microsoft Teams
  2. Click on Meet Now at the top right corner of the screen and click on Create a meeting. 

    Create a meeting - Microsoft Teams
  3. Select a Meeting Name and click on Get a link to share to generate a shareable link.

    Meeting Name - MS Teams

To create a Scheduled Meeting:

  1. Click on the Calendar tab on the left side of your screen. 
  2. Select New Meeting at the top right corner of the screen. 

    Select New Meeting - MS Teams
  3. Add the Meeting Name, Attendees, Meeting Location (if necessary), Date and Time, Duration, and other details of the meeting to the description. 

    Add the Meeting Details - MS Teams

  4. Click Save.

To Create Recurring Meetings: 

  1. Click on the Calendar tab on the left side of your screen. 
  2. Select New Meeting at the top right corner of the screen. 
  3. Add the Meeting Name, Attendees, Meeting Location (if necessary), Date and Time, Duration, and other details of the meeting to the description. 
  4. Set the recurring schedule of the meeting (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly) or customize it based on your preferences.
  5. Click Save.

Because you can see the availability of your colleagues, you can choose the best time to meet. Instead of limiting yourself to only choosing between today, tomorrow, or next week, you can click More options and choose from any day(s) of any future month.

MS Teams is not just for group chats, group calls, and video conferencing. If you need to have a one-on-one call with one of your colleagues or a person outside your organization, MS Teams makes it super simple. Read this article further to learn more about creating and scheduling meetings.

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Joining Meetings in Teams

Ways to Join a Meeting

Teams provide participants with different ways to join a meeting, whether scheduled or not.

  1. From a link or email invite, select Click here to join the meeting. (See image below)

    Click here to join the meeting - MS Teams
  2. You can use a dial-in number and conference ID from the email to call in. (See image below)

    dial-in number and conference ID - MS Teams

    The number in your invitation may not be local to you. Select Find a local number to get one that is.
  3. Open Teams on the desktop/ web or from the mobile app, go to Calendar and select the meeting. When it opens, click Join. (See image below)

    Find a local number - MS Teams

  4. Open Outlook on the web, desktop, or mobile app, go to Calendar, and click on the meeting; when it opens, click Join now.

If users are outside of your organization when they join, they will be added to the "lobby,” and someone within your organization must let them in.

Your meetings are also integrated into your Outlook calendar, which is one of the critical features of MS Teams. If you go to your Outlook Calendar, you can join the meeting in two ways: Select "Join" or "Click here" to join the meeting if you expand the scheduled meeting. Both options work for desktop and mobile apps.

When you create a meeting, a group is automatically created. Everyone in the meeting will be automatically added to this group.

You can send messages and share files or documents with anyone in the meeting from this group.

Teams truly enhanced collaboration in meetings because all participants work together in a single stream rather than requiring individual chats in separate windows.

When arranging a meeting, you can do an audio-only meeting or turn on cameras for video conferencing, making your meetings more personalized and interactive.

Watch Video: How to manage meetings in Microsoft Teams

What is Microsoft Bookings?

Booking appointments with MS Bookings allows people to schedule time with you within or outside your organization.

You can customize your availability, services, or products to ensure that people can only schedule times around your free time.

Bookings is an alternative to the app Calendly. MS Bookings comes with your M365 subscription for free. When you have scheduled meetings on your Outlook Calendar, it stops people from booking.

To avoid being overbooked, add all your meetings/ appointments to your calendar, for example, doctor's appointments, gym time, etc. This will ensure people cannot book when you are not available.

You can add different calendars to Bookings that can be used for other things. For example, you can have a Bookings calendar for interviews and a different one for customers to reserve services.

Also, staff members outside your organization can be added, like independent contractors or part-time workers.

Setting up Microsoft Bookings

How to Access

To get started with Bookings, access it through the web by going to https://www.office.com/ and signing in with your Microsoft Account.

Once you are signed in, you will see the applications included in your subscription on the left side of your screen, through the App Launcher, and select Bookings.

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Bookings is a web-based application, but it is also accessible via the Microsoft Bookings mobile app. To download the mobile version of Bookings, you can go to the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store for US and Canada and then click on Install or Download.

Business Information

One of the crucial things you need to set up is your Business Information. This is where you will put your business’s booking page information.

To start your Business Information page, provide information about your company, such as your company name and address, phone numbers, website link, privacy policy, company logo, and business hours.

This information will be shown on the Bookings page that your clients will use to book appointments with you, which is also included in the email messages and reminders.

Setting Up Your Business Information

To set up your Business Information, here are the steps:

  1. On your M365 account, click on the App launcher (left-hand side of your screen) and select Bookings.
  2. On the top right corner, click on Settings.
  3. Choose Business Information.
  4. On the Basic details page, enter your business name, address, and the phone number that you would like to use for your Bookings calendar.
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  5. Send customer replies to the preferred email address where your customers or clients can send responses. This is also the same email address where the details about the booking and reminders are sent.
  6. You may also enter your business Website URL in the Website URL field.
  7. Indicate your Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions URLs.
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  8. Upload your Business Logo by clicking on Add Logo.
  9. Set your business hours the same as your operational hours or based on your preferences.
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  10. Once you are done, click on Save.

Offered Services for Booking Page Setup

Apart from setting up your business information, adding your Offered Services is needed to set up your booking page.

Identifying services offered include the service name, description, location (this could be meeting with the client at a specific location or creating a virtual meeting), duration, reminders to the client and the staff, and the pricing.

Clients who book an appointment will be able to see the availability of appointments, names of the staff, and the service cost.

To set up your Offered Services:

  1. On the top right corner of your screen, click on Settings.
  2. Go to Services.
  3. Click on Add service.

On the Basic details page, you will need to enter the following information:

  • Service Name, Description, Location, Duration, Pricing, Maximum number of Attendees.

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You can enable or disable the Add online meeting depending on your preferences as to how you would like to have a meeting with your clients. This option is for coaching if you sell those types of services.

Customizing your Bookings Page

As a company, you would want your booking page to look professional and, at the same time, user-friendly. MS Bookings allows you to customize the page your clients will see once they book an appointment with you.

Customizing and publishing your bookings page is easy; just follow through with these steps:

  1. Log in with your Microsoft Account at https://www.office.com/.
  2. Go to Bookings through the App Launcher on the left side of your screen.
  3. On the top right corner of your screen, click on Settings.
  4. On the left side of your screen, select Booking page.

There are a couple of things on this page that you can customize depending on how you would like your booking page to appear to your customers or clients.

  1. To ensure only those who received the invitation link via email can book an appointment, disable search engines such as Google, so your booking page does not appear on the search results.

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  2. You can also set your customer data usage consent. You can indicate your terms in collecting personal data and usage in this part of setting up your booking page.

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  3. Click on the default scheduling policy to set up how you would like email notifications to be sent and manage your availability and staff settings. Your availability by default is your business hours, but you can customize this based on your preferences.

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  4. Make your page appealing to the eyes of your customers and clients by choosing colors and logos to establish brand consistency.

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Publishing and Sharing your Booking Page

Finally, it is time to share your booking page with your customers and clients. After customizing your booking page, you can publish it so anyone who receives a link can book an appointment with you.

Publishing your Booking Page

You will have to sign in to https://www.office.com with your M365 account, go to the App Launcher and then select Bookings.

  1. Click on Booking page.
  2. Click on Scheduling policy and ensure that the details are correct depending on your preferences.
  3. Click on Save and publish.
  4. Click on Open published page to see what your booking page looks like on the web.

There will be times when you want to make changes or updates on your booking page. Unpublishing is easy. You must go to your settings, click on the Booking page, and select Unpublish.

There are different ways you can share your booking link. You can send it via email, add it to your email signature in Outlook or embed the link on your company website.

You must log in to your M365 account and go to Bookings from your app launcher to get your booking page link. Your booking page link will only be available once you are done publishing which requires the steps above.

  1. On the left side of your screen, click on Booking Page.
  2. It would look like this:
    (image)
  3. Copy the link if you want to add it to your email signature.
  4. To send it via email, click on the Email button.
  5. Click on the Embed button to add it to your website. The example below is the Vineforce booking page link.
    (image)

Watch Video for summary of MS Bookings: Microsoft Bookings - How to get started

Vineforce as the Bridge

At Vineforce, we have been working remotely for almost seven years, and we are experts in building tools for transforming Microsoft 365 into a remote workplace.

We help people experience less burnout and connect with team members while getting more done.

What if you decide to use Microsoft Bookings to manage your appointments? In that case, the Vineforce App will help you be more productive by automatically pulling your meetings along with your tasks and break time in one view so you can manage your day more efficiently.

Working Remotely? Use Microsoft 365?
Vineforce is the tool for you.

It helps you keep tabs on your team's morale, work progress, time spent working, or projects completed - from anywhere.

Plans start from $15.83 per user per month; when paid annually