Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Best practices for successful large meetings in Microsoft Teams

Meetings held in Microsoft Teams have evolved significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic started. We have increasingly seen large meetings being hosted online, including company all-hands gatherings, town halls, and product launches.

These large meetings typically involve a structured presentation and a significant number of participants who may be joining from diverse networks, platforms, client or web browsers, and many types of devices. Any disruptions or performance issues might be noticed by many users.

As the event organizer, you want to make sure you are following all the necessary actions to manage the meeting successfully. For instance, hard muting video for attendees can greatly reduce video bandwidth on a network and remove unintended video sharing in large audiences. Microsoft currently supports the ability to have 1,000-person meetings, which can overflow into a view-only experience for up to 10,000 participants. However, only 1,000 invitees can interact by using chat, audio, and video.

Teams meetings offer a collaborative and interactive experience with options to add structure for large meetings. As you extend the meeting to a larger audience, it is important to take appropriate steps to make the meeting more effective. As a supplement to our Virtual Event Playbook in this blog post, we will provide event organizers with best practices, tips, and preparation steps to optimize the large meeting experience and efficiently handle any issues that might occur.

Consider these practices before starting your meeting

Before holding a large meeting, event organizers should structure the meeting according to the following guidelines:

  • For a smooth meeting, event organizers should set pre-defined presenters for the event. This creates the organized structure of presenter and attendee roles. After a meeting has started, presenters also can promote other attendees to the presenter role.
  • Set a co-organizer via meeting options. This feature is in public preview.
  • Pre-configure video and microphone settings to control attendees’ experiences.
    • Disable attendees’ microphones to avoid disturbance. If someone needs to interact during the meeting, allow them to unmute when they raise their hand.
    • Disable attendees’ video to avoid visual distractions. During appropriate times in the meeting, video can be permitted for all attendees or specific individuals.
  • While planning the meeting, the organizer should decide if additional meeting applications such as polls and Q&A will be used during the meeting.
  • For the event organizers and presenters, we also recommend the following to ensure an optimized environment during a large meeting:
    • Present the meeting from a wired connection or network for better and more reliable audio and video.
    • We recommend all presenters and attendees use the Teams desktop app for the highest quality experience.
    • Ensure users are on the latest Teams app on a desktop or mobile device.
    • When using a laptop, check for high network connectivity and sufficient power.
  • Organizers should schedule a dry run prior to the big event to identify devices, lighting, or network issues. Additional practices can be scheduled to verify all issue are handled. Dry runs also ensure the presenters and organizers are familiar with the Teams features during the meeting.
  • Use lobby controls to ensure the appropriate group of participants directly enters the meeting while everyone else is sent to the lobby.
  • For a more effective and engaging meeting, consider using features such as spotlight, PowerPoint Live, meeting recording, captions, and transcriptions.

Recommended IT admin monitoring during meetings

  • When necessary, use additional monitoring and support by the IT administrator for important meeting (Quick start for Admins).
  • IT admins can closely examine the real-time data telemetry to monitor the event and identify any possible issue and its source. That data also can help admins identify specific users experiencing issues such as packet loss or latency that exceeded tolerable thresholds. Once they know which users are causing or experiencing quality problems, they can chat with those users over Teams to run through remediation activities in real time.

Create more interactive and engaging meetings with these tips

  • Use polls to gather information about attendees before and during meetings.
  • Interact with attendees using chat and/or Q&A. Use the Q&A app for both open and moderated meetings and webinars. You can mark best answers, filter responses, moderate and dismiss questions, and pin posts such as a welcome message. Currently, anonymous attendees are not supported but will be available later this year.
  • During meetings, organizers can use different views like Dynamic View, Together Mode, or Presenter mode. In addition, they can use Spotlight to highlight a single or multiple presenters to make them stand out. Note that Spotlight cannot be used in Large Gallery or Together Mode.
  • Remind and encourage attendees to raise their hands before speaking. With ordered raised hands, you know the order of who to call on first so that no participant is missed.
  • Reactions are excellent for the attendees to provide sentiment within the meeting.
  • Enable captions and transcription for a more inclusive meeting. Both transcription and recordings are helpful for those who missed the meeting or need a recap.

Final notes on large meetings

  • When a meeting reaches 1,000 attendees, the meeting organizer and presenters will see a banner indicating that new attendees will join as view-only.
  • View-only attendees cannot join a meeting if view-only is not enabled. These attendees are also not allowed to bypass the lobby.
  • Breakout rooms cannot be created in meetings that have more than 300 attendees, even if the number of attendees drops to fewer than 300 during the meeting. Creating breakout rooms in a meeting automatically limits the number of meeting attendees to 300.

Options you can choose for large meetings

In this post, we provided best practices for scheduled large Teams meetings that generally include back-and-forth interaction among the participants—discussions, sharing, assigning and accepting tasks, making plans, and coming to a consensus.

Event organizers also can choose to schedule a webinar, which is a structured interactive event that is more controlled. The participants in webinars have clear roles, with one or several experts (the presenters) sharing their ideas or providing training to the attendees. Learn more on webinars Finally, event organizers can schedule a Teams Live Event, which is a broadcast scenario with a production team behind the scenes and a viewing audience. That enables you to schedule and produce events that stream to large online audiences. Learn more about Live Events. To get the best overview of your meeting options visit our Virtual Event Playbook which covers the various ways you can host an engaging and inclusive event or take it a step further with our Virtual Event Producer course on Microsoft Learn.

We are here to support you. Join our Virtual Events community, contact Live event assistance portal and as always share your feedback on the Teams Feedback portal.


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