How to host a structured meeting with Microsoft Teams

In my previous blog post (How to lock a Microsoft Teams meeting), I showed how easy it is to lock a meeting to prevent late-joiners to join the meeting when it’s already started.

But there are some other useful features that help keep meetings organized. For example: “How to make sure everyone is on Mute without asking”, “turn off all cameras” or “Making sure that the Attendees can only see the shared content and the video of the people you (as a presenter/organizer) spotlight”. Let’s call this a “Structured meeting”.

All these options can be found in “Meeting options”, but only if you are the organizer.
Meeting options can be set before the meeting start but can even be changed during the meeting.

Before meeting

Before the meeting is started, you can access the Meeting options via Teams or Outlook. In Outlook it is possible to directly set the meeting options when creating the Microsoft Teams meeting invite. In Teams, you first need to schedule the meeting and invite people before the Microsoft Teams meeting will be created and the meeting options will become available.

In Teams

Go to the Calendar view and select the meeting. Then go to “Meeting Options”

Meeting options in an already scheduled Teams Meeting

The meeting options page will be opened in your default internet browser.

Recommended Settings view from Teams before the meeting started

In Outlook Meeting invitation

In Outlook, go to your calendar and select the “New Teams Meeting” button to create a new Teams meeting.

A new Meeting window will be opened with the Teams Meeting details in it.

You will also see the Teams meeting buttons. To see the meeting options you only need to click on “Meeting Options”. This is similar when opening an already scheduled Teams meeting.

A pop-up will be displayed that shows you A pop-up is displayed with the meeting options

Recommended Settings view from Outlook before the meeting started

During the meeting

Click on the ellipsis (••• More Actions) at the top of the meeting windows and select “Meeting Options”

The Meeting options are displayed in the right sidebar

Recommended Settings view from Teams during a meeting

Recommended meeting options

Let’s go through the different options for having a Structured meeting. I will also give you some recommendations on how to set these in a way that will make your meetings more organized and productive.

Who can bypass the lobby?

There are a few options, see below the options and explanation:

OptionWhat it will do
EveryoneAnyone that has access to the meeting link joins the meeting directly, including the people that use the dial-in number
People in my organization, trusted organizations, and guestsOnly people in your Teams org, external participants from trusted organizations, and guests can join the meeting directly. Everyone else needs to wait in the lobby until they are allowed/denied to join the meeting.
People in my organization and guestsOnly people in your org and guest (even If they have a different email domain that is used by your org) can join the meeting directly. Everyone else needs to wait in the lobby until they are allowed/denied to join the meeting.
People in my organizationOnly people in your org can join the meeting directly. Everyone else needs to wait in the lobby until they are allowed/denied to join the meeting.
People I invite*Only the people you invite, and the people where it’s forwarded to, can join the meeting directly. Everyone else needs to wait in the lobby until they are allowed/denied to join the meeting.
Only meOnly you, as the organizer, can join the meeting directly. Everyone else needs to wait in the lobby until they are allowed/denied to join the meeting.

With this option, you can decide who gets into your meetings directly, and who should wait in the lobby for someone to let them in.

Recommended option: All options are fine, select an option based on what it will do.

Always let callers bypass the lobby

When enabled, people that will dial-in using the phone number will automatically be allowed to join the meeting.
When disabled, they will be put into the lobby until someone admits them into the meeting.

Recommended option: Both options are fine, just select an option based on what is needed.

Announce when callers join or leave

When enabled, you will receive an alert when someone enters or leaves the meeting using the dial-in number.

Recommended option: Both options are fine, just select an option based on what is needed.

Who can present?

There are 4 options to choose from, see below for an overview and explanation:

OptionWhat it will do
EveryoneAll meeting participants can be presenters. This is the default value
People in my organization and guestsOnly people in your org and guest (even If they have a different email domain that is used by your org), can be presenters. External participants will join as attendees
Specific peopleOnly people you choose from the list of invitees will be presenters. Everyone else will join as attendees
Only meOnly the meeting organizer can be a presenter. Everyone else will join as attendees
Recommended option: For this, use “Specific people” and only add the presenters or the option “Only me” if you will be the only one that is presenting.

For more information and a guide to change the defaults, you can check out my blog post “Who can present“.

Managed Mode

With this option enabled, Attendees can only see shared content and the video of the people you spotlight. The video of all other meeting participants will not be visible to the Attendees.

Recommended option: Enable the “Managed Mode” so only shared content and the video of the people you spotlight will be visible for meeting participants.

Allow mic for attendees? & Allow camera for attendees?

When you need to present in a larger meeting, you want to make sure that there will be no distractions from people that haven’t their microphone on mute and/or having a “No Pants Day” with a mirror behind them (like the mayor of Antwerp, Belgium) while having their camera on.

To prevent attendees from un-muting the microphone and/or turning on their camera you only need to turn off the toggle next to the option you want to disable.

Recommended option: Disable “Allow mic for attendees” to prevent participants to go on un-mute
Recommended option: Disable “Allow camera” to prevent participants to turn on the camera

 

The attendees will be informed that the microphone and camera have been disabled with banners, see below.

To make sure that your meeting will still be interactive, but in a structured way, you can inform the attendees to use the “Raise hands” feature for questions and sharing.

When someone uses the “Raise hands” option, the presenter or organizer can temporally “Allow Mic” and/or “Allow Camera” to give the option to the person to un-mute and start the camera.

When you click on “Allow Mic”, the attendee is informed that the microphone is enabled and that they can un-mute themself.

My advice for the presenter/organizer is to click on “Lower hand” as well to make sure that the “Raised hand” will not confuse everyone. 

When the attendee is done with talking, the settings can be changed back again via right-click and clicking on “Disable mic” and/or “Disable Camera”.

The Attendee is informed when you click on any of the options, in this case the “Disable mic”

Allow meeting chat

TheThe default setting (Enabled) is that meeting participants can chat before, during, and after the meeting. There are 2 other options:

OptionWhat it will do
DisabledMeeting chat is disabled at any time (before, during, and after)
In-meeting onlyMeeting chat will only be possible during the meeting. Meeting chat will be disabled before and after the meeting.
Recommended option: Depends on the needs. I will say, use the “In-meeting only” option to prevent any spamming before or after the meeting.

Allow reactions

This option gives you the possibility to enable or disable the live reactions during the meeting. Raise hand will not be affected when disabling the “Allow Reactions”

Recommended option: Keep this option enabled, this gives feedback to the presenter.

In addition to all the above settings, you could think about using the option “Lock the meeting” when a meeting is ongoing for 5 a 10 min. This is to prevent any distractions when someone joins late that could cause a pop-up to inform someone is in the lobby.

Is this something you will use in your future Teams Meetings when presenting? Or maybe you are using other options as well that you want to share?

Let me know in the comments below!

For now,
Thanks for reading!

Kind regards and Stay Healthy,
Mitchell Bakker

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