In this post I explain which options you have to bring people in a virtual meeting space together using Microsoft Teams and how you can schedule these meeting types. I also describe some technical configuration options which you might want to adjust depending on your company’s user profiles and needs, if required.
Online meetings in Teams
Microsoft Teams online meetings can be scheduled or ad hoc and are for up to 250 people at max. To schedule it you must be assigned with the appropriate licenses. An audio conferencing license is complementary and not required but I’d recommend it in case you expect that some attendees might dial in using their phone (PSTN) instead of enjoying the online experience.
Schedule an online meeting (example)
In this section you can get a glance on organizing an online meeting by using Microsoft Teams on a Windows client. This is just one approach to organize an online meeting. You can also set up an online meeting using Outlook with the Teams add-in installed, your mobile device Teams app etc.
To schedule an online meeting you can start by opening the Teams Calendar in the left-hand navigation rail and click the button “New meeting” in the upper right corner of the desktop (or web client).
You are now seeing the form for scheduling meeting and to enter all the input – as required – to get your online meeting ready.
- select time zone, e.g. +1 h UTC Berlin
- add a meeting subject, e.g. Teams User Adoption Planning (be specific!)
- add attendees
- specify the date and time for online meeting (using the scheduling assistant to check on free/busy for your colleagues)
- specify the date and time for online meeting (without the scheduling assistant)
- (optional) add a Teams Team channel if you want to use one (e.g. if it is related to an project – regular project status update calls or all-hands meetings)
- (optional) add a room or address, e.g. add a room with a Microsoft Teams Meeting Room device or a Surface Hub
- write an invitation (I recommend to include a meeting purpose and defined meeting goal/s and outcome/s!)
- save it (to send it out)
If the online meeting invitation is saved and sent you can modify it, review it to see the join link and the meeting details you entered. In case you have to cancel the meeting you can do this on this view, too.
Online meeting configuration [admin]
To provide and adjust the online meetings you (as an Teams admin) can set up policies depending on your requirements via the Teams Admin Center (admin.teams.microsoft.com). The next illustrations show where you can find and modify these settings.
Teams meeting settings
You can modify the Teams meetings settings. Please note that these settings are global (org-wide/tenant-wide) for all users enabled for Teams (meetings).
- Teams Admin Center –> Meetings –> Meeting settings
- Enable/disable if anonymous users (anyone) can attend the meeting
- (optional) insert a URL to a publicly available (Internet) logo file (jpg/png, < 188 w x 30 h pixels), e.g. on your company’s website
- (optional) insert a URL to a publicly available (Internet) legal page
- (optional) insert a URL to a publicly available (Internet) help or support page
- (optional) write a footer, e.g. “All meeting contents are confidential if not otherwise stated. Contents must not by shared with third parties without explicit authorization by the meeting host. …” or what fits best for your meetings.
- save it to enable your customized meeting settings
I don’t describe the network part in the meeting settings section. This is intended to configure quality of service (QoS) for Teams clients.
Teams meeting policies
To set different “permissions”, enable/disable certain meeting experiences or features there are some pre-defined meeting policies which you can assign per user. Additionally, custom policies can be created and assigned to users. You can find this also in the Teams Admin Center underneath the meeting category in the left navigation rail.
- Teams Admin Center –> Meetings –> Meeting policies
- Check the available policies and what’s allowed within each
- (optional) create a new custom policy
- assign the policy to user/s [option 1]
- assign the policy to user/s [option 2] in the user section (recommended)
Live events in Teams
Are you looking for or planning a large virtual communication event? You might want to use Teams live meetings. It’s no meeting although you can produce and attend a live event with Microsoft Teams. Live events are for up 10.000 attendees, up to 4 hours en block and you can have up to 15 concurrent live events in your Office 365 tenant. Live events are broadcasts and no meetings, i.e. you provide content (like audio/video/desktop or app shared…) in a more advanced way in one direction towards the attendees. The attendees can only interact with the hosts (producers, presenters) via a Q & A chat. Producers are the live event hosts and “manager” and presenters can support in delivering content to the attendees. Producers supervise and run the live event.
To schedule or run (producer, presenter) a live event you need to have the correct licenses, e.g. Office 365 E1/E3/E5/A3/A5 with Teams and Stream license assigned.
Schedule a live event using Yammer
With the right permissions you can schedule a live event using Yammer from within a group as the next screenshot shows.
Afterward selecting Microsoft Teams and “Next” the scheduling wizards guides you through the live event scheduling process.
Schedule a live event using Teams
In Teams the procedure is similar to scheduling an online meeting.
Instead of “New meeting” and “Schedule meeting” you need to click on “Live event” to schedule it.
Invite attendees to a live event
To distribute the join link after you have scheduled the live event you need distribute it manually, e.g. via your SharePoint Online intranet, Yammer, internal or public website, mail, social media or else.
Teams live event settings [admin]
There are global (org-wide/tenant-wide) settings for live events.
- Teams Admin Center –> Meetings –> Live events settings
- (optional) attach a support URL
- – 6. (optional) third party provider use for video distribution, if needed
- save it
Teams live event policies [admin]
Same as with meeting policies, to set different “permissions” and enable/disable features there are some pre-defined live event policies which you can assign per user. Additionally, custom policies can be created and assigned to users. You can find this also in the Teams Admin Center underneath the meeting category in the left navigation rail.
You can create a new custom live event policy and assign it to users which need the capability. In this example I created a “Allow-All” custom policy which can be assigned to users via the “Manage users” button or within the users administration pane.
- Teams Admin Center –> Meetings
- Live events policies
- Enter a name for the policy
- Enable/disable scheduling
- Enable/disable transcriptions for attendees
- Choose scale (internal <-> public)
- Enable/disable recording
- Save your policy
I would recommend to test live events thoroughly to really understand how it works with the roles (producer, presenter) and getting the content “live”.
When to use what?
Online meetings are suited for a interactive and collaborative kind of meeting whereas live events are for larger uni-directional broadcasts, e.g. company management announcements or external-facing events/webinars.
Conclusion, summary and opinion
Depending on the size and virtual “gathering’s” purpose you can bring together people virtually either in Microsoft Teams online meetings or live events. However, the latter is as mentioned above more a one-way communication. As soon as you want to share and collaborate you can initiate an online meeting. Online meetings are straightforward and provide key online conferencing capabilities (audio/video/sharing) for company-internal as well as external people.
- Producing live events in Yammer just got easier
- What are Microsoft Teams live events?
- Plan for live events in Microsoft Teams
- Produce a live event using Teams
- Get started with Microsoft Teams live events
- Meetings and conferencing in Microsoft Teams
- Limits and specifications for Microsoft Teams [see section meetings and calls as well as live events]
- Meetings in Teams [schedule, start, join, share, call in | user guidance]
- Join a meeting in Teams [user guidance]
- Manage meeting settings in Microsoft Teams [admin]
- Live events in Yammer