Getting the Most Out of Office 365: Use Yammer Over Email, Part 1


Email is a terrible way to communicate. Emails are too simplistic and too uniform, which results in adding more to your daily workload. Luckily for people working today, there are better looks for communicating in a business. Some small businesses are flocking to tools like Slack or HipChat, but those are just glorified instant messaging clients. Any truly modern communication tool will provide more nuanced elements of correspondence that exist in the real world.

Yammer is the modern communication tool that Microsoft has been pitching to their enterprise customers and has been including into their Office 365 plans. Yammer offers the full set of tools that people need to communicate, organize communication, and share information properly. If you are sick of email and are interested in trying a new more sophisticated tool, then give Yammer a try. The rest of this how-to will be an email-to-Yammer conversion cheat sheet.

Private Communication

Sending private messages is the essence of email, and there’s a drop-in replacement in Yammer with the no-nonsense name of “Private Message.” These private messages can be sent to one or more recipients just like an email. While have the ability to send a private message is nice, it should be avoided as much as possible, because the point is to move toward a more advanced type of messaging.

Yammer Inbox
Yammer Inbox Resembles Email Inbox

Team Messages

Sending messages to your team could occur via a Private Message, but it should take place in the group timeline. First you need to make a group and add all your team members. When you’ve got that settled, posts made to the group timeline are visible to everyone in the group. These posts can be questions, project updates, schedule changes, etc. Posts can include photos or attachment, which means that everyone is viewing the same document or photo and relevant comments can be posted below.

If you need to ensure that a specific person does not miss a post, then you can easily mention them in the post or a comment. To do this type “@” and begin typing their name, then select them from the list. If you are mentioned in a post or comment, it’s easy to acknowledge that you have read it message by clicking “like.”

The like button sends the message that “I have read this and have nothing else to add.” If you see a post and need to add to the conversation or get some clarification, then leave a comment. However, comments such as “Great” or “Sounds good” are captured by clicking like.

Yammer Group Post
Yammer Group Post

Instant Messaging

Yammer has chatting built in, and it works very similar to how chatting works on Facebook. By clicking the chat pane, you can see who is online and start or continue a conversation with any of them. Instant messaging is very handy when trying to solve a specific problem that requires a string of questioning. A quick chat could take the place of dozens of back and forth emails.


If you get a message that you would like to forward to your team, Yammer makes it super easy. Just click “Move To Group.” This sends messages to the group for everyone to read and respond in the group. Another common use of the forward is as an FYI, and if you want to make sure a particular coworker does not miss a post, then mention them in the comments so they get notified.

How Will You Use Yammer?

Hopefully now you have a better grasp on how to use Yammer as an email replacement. Unfortunately, Yammer cannot completely replace email, but it can replace the majority of inter-company communications. Next, I’ll go over the ways that Yammer surpasses email as a communication tool.

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