Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for collaborating with your colleagues, including sharing files and using video calls. But did you know that it is also a fantastic tool for arranging large group meetings even when many of the participants are outside your organization?
Determine How Many Attendees
There are a few questions you will need to answer before setting up a large group meeting through Teams. To begin with, how many attendees are you expecting? If you expect more than 250 attendees for your meeting, then you will need to setup a “Teams Live Event”. This is a custom meeting space for up to 10,000 attendees. However, for meetings with less than 250 participants, you can setup your own meeting easily within the same application.
Set Your Meeting Options
After you’ve created the meeting in either the Teams calendar or from within Outlook using the Teams plug-in, you can adjust the meeting options from the default settings to give the Organizer and Presenters control over the meeting. If you create your meeting in Outlook, then look for the “Meeting Options” link in the Teams signature. Or, after you’ve created the meeting, you can edit the meeting inside the Teams application by opening the meeting and selecting the “Meeting Options” link next to the time zone option.
The next decision you will be faced with is selecting who can bypass the lobby for your meeting. The Teams Lobby is a digital waiting room of sorts where your participants can wait to be admitted by you, the meeting organizer, into the meeting. By default, people within your organization will be set to bypass the lobby, and callers and external guests will have to wait to be admitted. The purpose of the waiting room is to allow the presenter/organizer time to prepare before any participants join. You are able to change this setting to allow all participants to bypass the lobby or you may choose to have all participants wait in the lobby.
You can also choose whether to allow callers joining by phone to bypass the lobby. In addition, you have the option of turning off the notifications that are heard when callers join or leave the meeting. In a large meeting, the announcements can be very distracting, so consider turning them off unless you need the security the announcements provide.
Organizers, Presenters, Attendees, Oh My!
Now, you must assigning roles to your participants. There are 3 types of roles available in Teams: Organizer, Presenter and Attendee. The Organizer is the person who created the invitation and by default has all capabilities enabled for the meeting, but the Organizer does not have to actually attend the meeting. As far as permissions are concerned, the only difference between the Organizer and the Presenter is that the Organizer created the initial meeting.
By adjusting the settings on the “Who can present?” option, you can assign roles to your participants. By default, everyone you invite to your meeting can present, which is not always useful for large meetings. Instead, you may consider adjusting this to “People in my organization”, “Specific people” or “Only me”, based on your preferences.
Organizers and Presenters have the same rights in a meeting basically and they can share their screens, mute participants, remove participants, as well as record the meeting. Anyone you do not assign presenter rights to automatically becomes an “Attendee”, and this particular role is very restricted. The “attendee” role can speak and share video, participate in chat, raise their hand to ask questions and view files shared in the meeting. They cannot mute others, share content, remove participants, admit people from the lobby, change the roles of other participants or record the meeting. No one can remotely unmute another participant in Teams though. Microsoft considered this to be a privacy violation, so neither the Organizer nor Presenters can unmute another participant.
As an Organizer or a Presenter, you can change the role of another participant in your meeting even while the meeting is in session, so you have the ability to promote or demote others as necessary. You can do this from the “Show Participants” menu during the meeting.
Joining a Meeting by Computer or Phone
You can add a special Audio-Conferencing add-on license to your Teams license for a small monthly fee. This will allow meeting participants to use their phones to dial into your meeting with a Call-In bridge number.
Anyone with an email address can be invited to join a meeting setup in Teams. Your meeting invitation includes a web link that invitees simply click in order to join the meeting.
The link will open in their default browser and give them 3 options. If they already have Teams installed, then they will have the option to “Open Microsoft Teams” and connect to the meeting within the application. If they do not have the Teams application installed, they will have the option to download the Windows application and install it or they can Join on the web instead. The “Join on the Web” option will run the entire meeting within their default web browser and they will not need to install anything.
IMPORTANT: Participants are required to join by web or the Teams application in order to see shared content, as the dial-in option is audio only. This would require that the Organizer follow the practices to limit “Presenter” status to specific people in order to avoid members of the public having the ability to mute people or to kick them off the call.
Your meeting guests will be able to ask questions as well during your meeting. All meeting participants will always be able to “raise their hands” in Teams or type questions into the chat window at any time during the meeting. It is up to the Organizer and other Presenters to determine at which point they choose to respond.
For more information on meeting applications or any other network related questions you have, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to check out additional information on our blog.