Should your event be a Teams meeting or Live Event?

Thursday 2 July 2020

With Orientation week quickly approaching, use this guidance to help you plan your virtual event.

What are the options?

  • Online meetings, which you can set up yourself and have likely already organised and taken part in many
  • Teams live events, which you can request through IT Services

If you’re unfamiliar with either of these, you may find these earlier blog posts helpful:

Teams meetings

Reasons to choose Teams meetings

  • Your audience is less than 300 people
  • You’d like to interact with your audience verbally or have them interact with each other
  • If you need more than one presenter on the screen at once
  • Event type is training, discussion or webinar


  • Set your Meeting Options ahead of time. This limits what your audience can do during the event.
  • If you want to format the meeting invite yourself, set up Teams meeting (or meetingif you’re planning breakout rooms) in Outlook. Then, copy the hyperlink for each space and embed the link into your email.
  • Advise the audience whether you’d like to take questions during or after the event, and how to participate (raise hand or chat),
  • Give audience members a heads up if you’ll be recording so they can turn off their camera.
  • Remember to click ‘End meeting’ rather than just hang up, otherwise it will keep running in the background.

Teams live events

Reasons to choose Teams live events

  • Your audience is over 300 people
  • You don’t need to interact with your audience beyond a text-based Q&A
  • Chat needs to be moderated
  • Event type is corporate, live performance, formal


  • IT Services can set up your event for you but we’re currently offering organiser training so you can do your own. Get in touch with if you’re interested in this training.
  • Ask your presenters if they’d like presenter training beforehand. This is recommended if they’ve never used Teams before.
  • Have a colleague monitor the Q&A, provide a quick intro and introduce speakers.

Past events and how they were organised

Ask the experts

Format: Panel interview with live Q&A

Option: Live event

IT Services set up event and shared the link which staff and students would use to access it with the event organisers. This was then shared in In The Loop and Principal’s email.

Questions could be submitted beforehand or on the day using the Q&A function in Teams live events. We used Microsoft Forms to collect questions ahead of time and shared this along with the watch link.

Once the panel members had been identified, we set up group chat in Teams to discuss pre-submitted questions and content and to set up a test event. There was a Word document which we shared with everyone so they could co-author together and decide who was answering each question.

Ahead of the event, IT Services set up a test event and presenter training if needed. One of the presenters was worried about their internet connection, so we also set up an individual meeting to see if there were any ways to improve wifi strength ahead of time.

For this event, they opted to elect a moderator who was external to the panel. This role was to introduce the event and speakers, review and filter Q&A, and ensure the event ran on time.

On the day of the event, the presenters joined 15 minutes early to recap the order of events and announcement was made to the audience that the event was scheduled to start on time. Unlike Teams meetings, the event doesn’t start until you press ‘Go live’.

Behind the scenes, we had members of IT on hand to respond privately to technical queries and to switch the camera view to whoever was speaker (in live events, you only see one person at a time).

During the event, if a speaker wanted to answer a question or make a point, they’d raise their hand on camera. This worked really well as presenters which aren’t currently speaking aren’t shown to the audience – only to other presenters and those helping backstage. For queries, they used a private chat which only the presenters could see.

The event ran smoothly and we’d recommend this as a template for anyone wishing to do a Q&A or panel interview.

A similar set up could be used for live performances where no audience participation is needed, similar to a Facebook Live. The benefit with Live Events is that you can limit it to University staff and students only.

If you’d like an introduction to your event from a colleague but they aren’t available, you can opt to play a pre-recorded video.

Staying safe online while working from home

Format: Webinar

Option: Teams meetings

Since the event was internal only, we opted to create a sign up list using University events. We advised those interested to sign up and they’d be sent an appointment the day before.

Tip – this can often put pressure on you as an organiser as you’ll need to manually forward the appointment to last minute sign ups. More recently, we’ve created a shortened link (we used, which read ‘’. We then added this to the first sentence of the event description. This meant that when attendees added the event to their calendar using University events, the link also appeared and we didn’t have to send them an appointment.

Once the meeting was set up, we went into Meeting options and set ‘Who can present’ to the speaker. This meant that only he could share his screen, see the ‘Record meeting’ button, mute other people’s microphones and remove participants.

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