You may be thinking, “Now that I have Lync, who needs to talk to someone, use the phone or e-mail. I will instant message them or video call them anytime I want something.” Wait!
There are a few things you should remember when instant messaging or video calling someone with Lync. For one, the technology allows us to barge into others’ space without knocking. Knocking accomplishes a few things, like asking, “Are you there, are you busy and do you have time to talk now?”
How do we knock with Lync? Check the presence.
Lync “sees” the Outlook calendar. If someone’s calendar says he or she is in a meeting between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., his or her presence will automatically change at 10 to “Busy – in a meeting.” Likewise, when someone locks his or her computer or it is idle, the status changes to inactive and displays the amount of time since changing.
Presence includes not only someone’s actual status, but his or her location and an optional message about what he or she is doing. How does this help? If someone has logged into Lync using a mobile application, Lync will display his or her location as mobile – meaning his or her access might be limited or he or she might not be as fast to respond.
Even with the aforementioned automation, individuals should set their presence to let others know if they are available when they are working on something, have an impromptu meeting that isn’t on their calendar or need to step away for a few minutes. Presence is set as:
Available – The person is online and available to be contacted. Free until XX:XX a.m. or p.m. shows when the next automatic, calendar-based update will occur.
Busy – The person is online but in a meeting, a Lync call or has manually set the status and don’t want to be interrupted.
Do not disturb – The person has manually selected this status and does not want to be disturbed. He or she will see conversation alerts only from people in his or her workgroup.
Be Right Back – The person has stepped away briefly.
Appear Away – The computer has been idle for a period of time (15 minutes by default – this setting can be changed Tools/Options/Status).
Off Work – The person is not working and is not available to contact.
Offline – The person is not signed in. You will always appear offline to individuals whom you have blocked from seeing your presence.
Unknown – The person’s presence is not known.
Once you have determined someone is available, send a quick IM asking if he or she has time to talk before starting a conversation. This gives him or her a chance to agree to the conversation or video call and give you his or her full attention.
After adding contacts in Lync (and possibly putting them in a special group), you can right click on the person’s name and put him or her in a special group called “Workgroup.” This allows the person to interrupt you through a Lync IM or video call even if your presence is red (Do not disturb or Busy).