Microsoft Teams is full of functionalities and tools to communicate and help teams work together and collaborate. One of the most common questions is when the chat feature should be used and when the channel is more appropriate. Even though, they have similarities they were designed to support different purposes regarding communication in the Microsoft Teams.
- Channels are public to the team, conversation using chat are private to their members.
- A Channel message does not notify users by default, conversations do. If you want to notify you need to @ + profile name.
- Chat history is shown automatically in a channel and optionally in a conversation.
- Even though, both options support tabs, channels support more apps interactions than Chat. Channel has more applications such as planner and many other connectors, bots and teams meeting recorded as video in Stream.
What’s supposed to go into a channel? Obviously, this is very particular to the goal and purpose of the channel, but some order should be followed to keep it organised. We suggested the below for channels:
- Communication you would send to people as CC in an email, as does not notify users.
- Communication in an open space.
- Tasks on wich more than one person should collaborate.
- Important announcements, information, etc..
- On the spot meeting with your team.
- To use apps using tabs channel (One note, planner, website, a SharePoint library, etc.)
Chat in Microsoft Teams is basically for day to day operational conversation. Below you can find our suggestion of what’s supposed to go in a Chat:
- Each message notifies users, so it’s recommended to use it when you need immediate answers from all those colleagues.
- It works like a phone call or a Skype chat
- Day to day discussion, information that could be deleted or forgotten, go into a conversation. The entire team doesn’t need to know about those operational chats.
- Share images to explain what you need to your colleagues, for example.
- Once information or a decision needed to be shared, it goes to the channel.
Chat versus Channels
In the graph below you can check the main difference between both and the situation where they are applicable.
*The article above is based on the information provided here.
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