Meeting options explained

Tuesday 3 November 2020

When we speak about Teams meeting options during our sessions, it’s normally the first time our attendees have heard the term. Find out how to tailor your meeting options to suit the security requirements of your meeting.

What are meeting options?

Meeting options in Teams lets you set what features attendees have access to throughout the course of the meeting. Depending on the type of meeting you’re running, you can give your attendees as much or as little freedom as you like.

Read the Microsoft guide to find out how to change your meeting options.

Features you can control

The lobby

This is a virtual waiting area which holds your attendees until you or another attendee admits them.

The benefit of a lobby means that you are the first person into the meeting and can welcome attendees as they join. This is generally more for formal meetings or teaching scenarios. Otherwise, anyone you’ve invited to the meeting can start the meeting – potentially hours or days before the actual start time. If you’ve posted the meeting link online on a public web page, you’d ideally want to set up a lobby to avoid this.

You can also decide whether you’d like everyone to wait in the lobby or just externals. This is more appropriate for project meetings which involve a few externals – you don’t mind if your colleague starts the meeting but you’d rather the externals waited in the lobby.

The disadvantage of the lobby is that everyone in the meeting gets a notification that someone’s waiting in it. This can be disruptive if you have several late arrivals and your attendees are trying to focus on your presentation.

By default, there is no lobby – you need to go into ‘meeting options’ to enable it. Also by default, anyone can admit attendees from the lobby unless you change this in the ‘who can present’ settings (covered in meeting roles below)

How callers are treated

Callers are attendees which dial-in to the meeting from their phone. Meeting options lets you decide whether to:

  • hold callers only in a lobby
  • announce when callers join or leave

Normally in practice, attendees only resort to calling into a meeting if they have poor internet connection or are on the move. If they have poor internet connection, they’ll usually joining the meeting late from their phone after a few failed attempts from their laptop. For this reason, we usually turn off the lobby and announcements for callers so they can slip in quietly.

Meeting roles (‘who can present’)

The meeting option titled ‘Who can present’ is probably the most important as it organises your attendees into one of the following roles:

  • presenter
  • attendee

You, as the person that created the meeting, are known as the meeting ‘organiser.’ As the organiser, you have priviledges over and above the presenters. You can:

  • change the meeting options
  • download the participant report (this details who joined the meeting and at what time)
  • end meeting for all

To select a presenter to help you run the meeting, you need to invite them to the meeting directly. At the moment, you can’t set externals as presenters and these settings aren’t supported in channel meetings. Organisers and presenters can both:

  • share content from their screen
  • take control of someone else’s PowerPoint
  • mute other participants
  • prevent attendees from unmuting themselves
  • remove participants
  • admit people from the lobby
  • change roles of other participants during the meeting
  • start or stop the recording

Attendees can only:

  • speak and share video
  • participate in meeting chat
  • view content shared by presenters

If you’re teaching or running a large meeting, we recommend setting the ‘Who can present’ option to ‘Only me’. If you’re co-presenting, set it to ‘Specific people’ and add in their username.

Find the full list of meeting roles on the Microsoft website.

Allow attendees to unmute

This is a new option which mutes all attendees and prevents them from unmuting unless you choose to unmute them. If you use this feature, encourage participants to use the ‘raise hand’ feature to indicate they’d like to speak.

Read more about this on the Microsoft guide.

Coming soon

Later this year, you’ll be able to disable meeting chat either during or after the meeting. This is good for interviews where you’d prefer the interviewee to follow-up afterwards via email rather than Teams chat.

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