How to Start a Conversation in Skype for Business

By Rosemarie Withee, Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

To start a conversation from the Skype for Business application, hover over your contact’s photo. A set of icons will display, allowing you to start the conversation via instant message, phone call, or video call (see the first 3 icons shown). You’ll also see the contact card icon and more settings for additional actions.

Everywhere else in Office 365 where you see presence information, in Outlook, Word, etc., you can initiate a conversation by clicking the user’s photo to display the icons for IM, phone call, video call, or email (see the following figure).

Unlimited audio conferencing between Skype users within your organization (and federated organizations) is included in all Office 365 enterprise plans. However, if you plan to allow your users to make traditional phone calls, like dialing out or receiving calls from the public switched telephony network (PSTN), you need to subscribe to an Office 365 E5 plan ($35/month).

There are also third-party Microsoft partners who can provide traditional phone calling capabilities with just an E3 plan. For example, VoIP Connections recently announced that they crossed 1 million PTSN minutes per month of voice services usage from their customers.

If you manage a small- or medium-size business and would like to try VoIP Connections’ service for free for 30 days, please contact Jenn Reed at the following email address for more information and availability of their special promos:

Enhancing the conversation

From an instant message, you can enhance the conversation by using the controls from the IM window. When you click the Share Screen icon, a whole selection of collaboration tools are available at your fingertips, such as: Present Desktop, Present Programs, Present PowerPoint Files, Add Attachments, and More (Whiteboard, Poll, Q&A).

Reviewing past conversations

Sometimes you may need to go back to prior conversations to check your understanding of the conclusion. In Skype for Business, your recent interactions are saved in the Conversations tab. To view older conversations, click the View more in Outlook link. All Skype for Business interactions are saved in the Conversation History folder in your Outlook mailbox.

From the Conversations tab, you can re-connect with your contact and pick up where you left off by double-clicking the conversation.

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