Differentiate Between Presenters and Attendees
One of the biggest complaints about Teams meetings has been the lack of support for roles, specifically not being able to designate presenters for a meeting like you can in Skype for Business Online. In one of the blogs released for the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference, the Teams development group promised to deliver:
“New presenter and attendee controls allow meeting organizers to pre-define presenter and attendee roles for meeting participants. Designated presenters will have full control over the meeting, whereas participants in “attendee” role won’t have ability to share content, take control, mute or remove other participants, admit people waiting in the lobby, or start/stop recordings.”
The feature is now generally available and is being rolled out across Office 365. Even though its implementation is not well integrated into the Teams client, being able to designate presenters is very welcome.
Teams Meeting Roles
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 (see Microsoft’s documentation for a comparison of the different roles in a meeting). 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).
Assigning Meeting Presenters
To nominate people as presenters (and make everyone else an attendee with limited rights), select a meeting in the Teams calendar app (Figure 1) and click Meeting options.
Because only people who are invited directly to a meeting can be presenters, the option to assign people as presenters isn’t yet available for meetings created in a channel. In other words, only meetings created in Outlook or Teams support presenter assignment at present.
Instead of opening a tab within the app, Teams opens a web page to display the meeting options. You can now opt for:
- Everyone who joins the meeting can present.
- Only people in the tenant can present. External people join as attendees.
- Only specific people can present.
- Only me (the organizer) can present.
In Figure 2, I’ve selected two of the attendees as presenters (the organizer can always present). However, the third selected person can’t be found even though they are in the participant list. This is because this participant is a guest user and you can’t nominate a guest user (or anyone outside the organization) to be a presenter.
If the meeting is recurring, the assignments persist for all instances of the meeting.
It would be nice if we always knew the exact set of presenters for a meeting before it took place, but that’s not always the case. During a meeting, if you want to assign someone else as a presenter, you can do by editing the presenter list through Meeting options in the Calendar app.
Alternatively, click the Show participants icon in the meeting controls and find the person you want to be a presenter in the list, and then select Make a presenter from the right-click (…) menu (Figure 3).
There’s no way to set up default presenters for meetings scheduled by an account. Each meeting must be configured seperately.
There’s lots to learn about how Teams work. To get a head start or stay ahead of changes, read the chapters in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.