Practice-Guide: Getting more out of Teams Meetings

Michele Casazza
10.07.20 10:22

With the latest updates for Large Gallery View on video, Virtual Breakout Rooms, and multi-window, Microsoft Teams has taken the Meeting experience to a new level, making it a top competitor in the Online Meetings space. Meetings in Teams have some familiar functionalities from its predecessor Skype for Business, but also presents features and options that can make productivity more efficient and smarter. In this blog we will cover some aspects you should be aware of to get the most out of Meetings in Microsoft Teams.

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Meeting Types

Too many meetings and not finding meeting notes and documents?
Prepare, track and collaborate effectively using “Channel-meetings” and “Private meetings”

Private meetings are the standard meetings we are used to when scheduling from the Outlook client using the Teams Add-in. Channel meetings however are the new paradigm and their main benefit is to be able to keep all the meeting's related discussions and content within the channel, so that it remains in its context.

Private Meetings

Channel Meetings

Visible to invited people only (recipients) All members can see and join a meeting
Can be scheduled from the Teams client or Outlook add-in Can be scheduled from the Teams client
Meeting-related discussions before, during, or after the meeting are accessible via chat Any meeting-related discussions before, during, or after the meeting are part of the channel discussion
Can be started ad-hoc from existing chat conversations or via Meet Now Meetings and discussions are visible to anyone who is a member of the team
  Can also be started ad-hoc from the existing channel conversation (Meet Now). Guests can do this too

 

Meet Now is the option to start a spontaneous/ad-hoc meeting either in Private or withing a Channel. In either cases you can add people "on the go" without having to send a formal invite. A Channel Meet Now has also the advantage of keeping the Meeting information within the Channel.

Meet Now in Private
Meet Now in Private


Meet Now in a Channel

 

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Meeting Options

As meeting organisers we can use the meeting options to set who can bypass the Lobby and who can present. You will find the meeting options in the meeting's event in the Teams client, in your Outlook calendar invite, or even within the Meeting itself once you join (People icon)

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External Users and Document Sharing

Have you ever wondered why guests cannot share content in a Meeting or chat? Let's see what a guest is in Teams and what they can do.
  • Guests are users who have been invited into your organisation (aka Authenticated Guests)
  • Anonymous are users that can join a Meeting without registering (aka Unauthenticated Guests). NOTE: requires Teams global setting “Anonymous users can join a meeting”. This is an all-or-nothing settings for Meetings

  • Guests can share files when joining a channel meeting
  • Guests cannot share files when joining a Private meeting; they can see the files that are uploaded in the meeting and download them, but they cannot attach files

  • Anonymous users cannot see, share or download any content in a meeting

In the following table we can see that members and guests in a Channel Meeting will be able to share files because a Channel stores files in SharePoint. In a Private Meeting however, as there is no SharePoint storage, files can be shared only by members of the organisation. This is made possible by using OneDrive and the shared files will be 'permissioned' specifically for the meeting's attendees only (including guests). Guests and anonymous users cannot upload files in a Private Meeting because they do not have the necessary OneDrive storage in the inviting organisation.


*Depending on OneDrive settings

In Private Meetings Guests can download files (via the sharer's OneDrive) but cannot upload files. 

Files shared in a Private Meeting are assigned the necessary permissions for the meeting's participants (including external users):

Files shared in a Private Meetings (or chat) are assigned the necessary permissions for the meeting's participants (or chat members)

Here we can see what options the different participants have when joining a meeting. Interestingly, anonymous users can also join Channel Meetings, although via audio only.

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Audio conferencing

Audio conferencing is the ability to join a Teams meeting from a regular phone and call out from a meeting to a phone number. This can be handy when the connectivity is poor and for participants who don't have the Teams app. Users can call in to meetings when they can’t use a Teams client/app. An Audio Conferencing license is required only for people who plan to schedule/host an audio meeting (E5 or Add-on), meeting attendees who call in don't need any licenses assigned to them or any other setup.

Audio Conferencing works in a similar way as in Skype for Business, with the addition of some options in the Conferencing Bridge for setting auto-responder and the ability for meeting organisers to control announcing when callers join or leave.

A PIN is used by Meeting organisers to start meetings over the phone. If they use the Teams app to start the meeting, a PIN is not required. Each Teams user who is enabled for audio conferencing gets a PIN

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Meeting Recordings

Meeting recordings are saved in Microsoft Stream indefinitely. There are some prerequisites to be able to record a meeting: 

  • Users need to be licensed for Microsoft Stream (e.g. E1, E3, E5, A1, A3, A5)
  • Users need Microsoft Stream upload video permissions (this is the default if Stream is enabled)
  • The Teams Meeting Policy -AllowCloudRecording has to be se to true (it is disabled by default) for both organiser and the recording initiator
  • Anonymous, Guest, or federated users cannot record a meeting

Technically meetings can be recorded also without a Stream license, in which case they would be stored in Azure Media Services for 21 days. Users are still able to record and download the recordings during that time.

The size of a 1-hour recording is approx. 400 MB. Each Tenant receives a fixed allocation of 500 GB of storage for Microsoft Stream, plus an additional 0.5 GB of storage per licensed user.

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Meeting Policies

Now that we know the Meetings nomenclature, the following policies will be easy to understand. Admins have the ability to control Private Meetings, Meet Now for internal and Guest users. Like other policies in Teams, they can be assigned to specific users which allows granularity in the deployment.

You might have use cases where Private Meetings must be disabled, or where meetings should only be scheduled and Meet Now should be disabled.

As we have seen, Microsoft Teams leverages other M365 services like SharePoint, OneDrive and Stream in a smart way making it transparent to the end user. Knowing some of the details behind the scenes however will give you that extra edge to master Meetings. Here are the take away points:

  • Start using Channel Meetings to keep all related conversations and files in the channel
  • Use Meeting options to control who can present and access the meeting directly
  • Beware of enabling anonymous users in Meetings: it’s an all or nothing
  • Documents sharing in Meetings is smart and transparent but provides a different experience for Channel meetings and Private meetings
  • Audio conferencing is useful on the go without having to use the app, or when connectivity is poor. Meetings organisers require an audio conferencing license, and can start meetings from their phone
  • Meeting recordings are saved in Microsoft Stream and retained indefinitely. Stream data is not available in Switzerland yet
  • Policies can be assigned to specific users, and allow to control what type of meetings users can have or schedule

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