Organizing large Teams meetings

Large face-to-face meetings can be difficult to moderate, online ones can be even more so. So what if you need to organize a Teams meeting/presentation for a large group?

Currently, the limit for a regular meeting is 250 attendees. If you need to host a meeting/presentation for a larger audience, you can create a Teams Live Event. A Teams Live Event can have 10.000 attendees.

Teams has a couple of settings that will make handling a large group of attendees a bit more manageable.

Differentiate Between Presenters and Attendees

When you create a Teams meeting, you are the organizer and everyone else is a presenter and can share content during the meeting, admit people from the lobby, and start or stop recordings. In a nutshell, presenters have the same rights as an organizer, so it’s obviously a good thing to limit the number of privileged users when many participants join a meeting. The need to restrict permissions is much less evident in small meetings.

After creating a meeting, you can nominate people as presenters (and make everyone else an attendee with limited rights). To do this, select the meeting in the Teams calendar app (Figure 1) and click 'Meeting options'. This will open a web page where you can define who can present during the meeting. By default, this is set to 'everyone', but this can be changed to 'People in my organization', 'Specific people' or 'Just me'.

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When the meeting has started you can see who the presenters are, and who the attendees are. The people that have been given the 'presenter' role can also mute participants, make them a presenter, or remove them from the meeting. To see these options, click on the '...' menu item after the participant's name.

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Attendees have limited capabilities in a Teams meeting. In the overview below, you can see the difference between the presenter role and the attendee role.

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Automatically mute all attendees

Another very important option in larger meetings is the ability to automatically mute all attendees in the meeting.

Whenever three or more people have joined a meeting, a 'Mute all' option appears. Clicking on the 'Mute all' button will mute everybody but you, so this means that other presenters will also be muted.

Keep in mind though, that everybody will still be able to unmute themselves, not just the presenters, but also the attendees.

If an attendee has unmuted his microphone during a meeting, people with the presenter role have the ability to mute that user again.

Good luck with your next large Teams meeting. And it might be a good idea to let everyone know about these ground rules before the meeting even starts so that everyone is ready for a productive session.

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