Ag Communication Web Services

Tech info, tips & tricks


Microsoft Lync - Great for a Quick Chat vs. Email

If you’re not already using Microsoft Lync you’re missing out on some great functionality offered when NDSU migrated over to Microsoft Office 365 in September. When you migrated back then (remember you had to choose a new password to log in to Microsoft Office, including the email portion of Outlook), you had the opportunity to install Lync.

To see if it’s on your machine, click on the Start menu (the round button with the Microsoft quad-color flag in the lower left of your screen) and type in Lync. If it was downloaded, you’ll see it. If not, you can download it here.

Once downloaded, you can start using it right away. Send a quick chat to one of your co-workers – just search on them in the Contacts search bar and click on their name. If their status is “available” send a quick chat to see how it works.

There are some great reasons to reach someone via Chat vs. email:

1. Instant Messaging/real time chat and video. Some people have their email set up to only get notifications a few times a day. But if they are listed as “available” on Lync, that means you can get your message to them right away without having to go through the server and any email notification limitations. Bonus is that you if you have a webcam, you can do a video chat, similar to Skype.

2. More visibility and audio. Let’s face it, many of us have an inbox full of messages. How can you make sure your message gets seen? With Lync, if you send a chat, the default setting of audio not only sounds an alert, but a new window will pop up to the recipient, notifying them of your request to chat. With email, we can only hope the message gets seen right away after we press send.

3. Quick messages not worthy of email. Maybe you just need to ask a quick question and don’t need to type up an email, send it and wait for a response.

(Me): Do we need to bring a laptop to the meeting?

(Bob):  No

4. In sickness and in health. Recently, a co-worker of mine came down with laryngitis and it was very difficult for her to speak. We were able to chat on Lync so that she didn’t need to struggle in speaking to me.

5. Save a trip up the stairs. OK, I know we all need more exercise, but if you’re like me, I have co-workers spread throughout Morrill Hall. If I wanted to visit with one them, I could check their Lync status first to see if they are available instead of me going all the way up to 3rd floor just to find out the person I want to speak to is away from his desk.

6. Status can be insightful. Lync allows you to choose your status so that people know if you’re available to chat. One nice feature is that it will sync with your Outlook calendar so if you’re in a meeting (and it’s on your Outlook calendar), your status shows “busy” and so people should not interrupt you. You can also manually set your status. I often change mine to “available” even though I’m listening to a webinar because I don’t mind answering questions while listening to a webinar. Likewise, if I have someone stop by I would set my status to “Busy” so that our impromptu meeting isn’t interrupted.

7. Group Chat. With Lync you’re able to chat with more than one person at a time. I might be chatting with someone and can easily invite others to the conversation.
(Me): Where are we holding the event?
(Becky): Bob was checking on that
(invite Bob to the chat)
(Bob): at the Holiday Inn

8. Share your screen. To be honest, I haven’t used this feature yet. But being that I often do technical support, I can see this come in handy when I need to “see” what someone else sees on their screen so that I can help resolve the problem.

If you can think of more scenarios of how Lync works for you, please say so in the Comments section.

If you need assistance setting it up or have any questions, please let me know.

Sonja Fuchs
Web Technology Specialist/Agriculture Communication


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