Hands Up in Teams Meetings

How to raise your hand in a Teams meeting
Figure 1: How to raise your hand in a Teams meeting

Office 365 notification MC209022 (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 62755) posted on April 9 announces that Teams meeting participants can raise a “virtual hand” to attract the attention of fellow participants. The idea is that raising a hand indicates your desire to speak. The feature will be available in mid-April for PC, Mac, and browser clients. Users in the GCC (government) clouds have to wait until May to allow software validation tests to happen. Linux and mobile clients will support hand raising in the future.

As shown in Figure 1, the raise hand option is in the meeting bar and is available for on-demand (meet now), channel, and personal meetings. Clicking the icon causes the Teams to signal your desire to speak and flags this to other people in the meeting, including in the meeting roster (Figure 2).

How the raised hand appears in a Teams meeting roister
Figure 2: How the raised hand appears in a Teams meeting roister

The attendee who raises their hand or a presenter defined for the meeting can lower a raised hand.

Who Needs a Raised Hand?

Some will scoff at the need for a raised hand feature. Perhaps these are the same people who cheerfully interrupt a meeting with a raised voice, cutting across whoever’s speaking at that point. A Teams meeting can have up to 250 participants (a limit that’s sure to be increased in the future), and anyone who has ever participated in a large Teams meeting knows how difficult it can be to know when it’s right to make a point.

It’s different in person. People see visual clues that show when people want to speak and those running the meeting can call upon those people to speak. But the relative anonymity of online meetings mean that new etiquette is needed. For instance, people should always mute their microphone when they’re not speaking to avoid background noise interrupting the flow of the meeting. In this context, a raised hand is simply a way to help online Teams meetings run more smoothly by giving additional structure.

Of course, people won’t necessarily remember to raise their hands and will blunder on to make their point regardless. As always, user education and awareness is needed to take full advantage of the functionality available to us.

Important in Education

Corporate meetings can be chaotic, but classes even more so. Much of the current increase in Teams usage is being driven by the education sector and I imagine that teachers will welcome the raised hand feature as another way to introduce some order to the classroom. Then again, I’m not a teacher and perhaps the classrooms of today are calmer places than I remember,

It seems that all people want to talk about today is Teams. But it’s important to recognize that Teams sits on top of so many Office 365 and Azure services. We can’t just focus on Teams, so we take a broader view in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. If you’re involved in Teams administration, you need to understand Office 365 as well.

27 Replies to “Hands Up in Teams Meetings”

  1. When in May is this feature coming? It will make an incredible difference for teachers!

  2. That is great! It has been on my wish list 🙂 However, will there be further icons (thumb up and down and Smiley would be helpfull)?

  3. When sharing a window, the hands are not visible for the person who shares his window!
    Please change this functionality.

    1. You might want to raise your concern on Teams User Voice.. Commenting here might allow you to let off some steam, but the comment won’t be taken into account by Microsoft.

  4. Needs to be in Teams for Meeting Room and Surface Hub too – big oversight to exclude the ability to view raised hands in these

  5. Question – how can you monitor chat AND hands-up (attendance view) at the same time? If you have a second screen it will show one but if I’m sharing my screen as a presentation (ppt), you can’t see the sidebar (chat or attendance). If I split my screen on one, it seems pretty cumbersome. Am I missing something? Thanks

    1. I think it will be pretty difficult to present and monitor attendee participation at the same time. You wouldn’t be very focused…

      1. That’s the reality for teachers in public schools, district leaders, and university lecturers! And yes, you can still be focused. If the information (chat/hands) is visible, then at the designated times you’re checking them, you’re not wasting time pulling up those screens. If done with preparation the result is fluid, just like it would be during an in-person experience.

      2. Good points to make on Teams user voice where the folks who make the decision about what’s in the product will see your views. Telling me is interesting (to me), but won’t affect the future direction.

  6. Already done. Yes I realize now that posting/asking for support here is, at most, very limited.

    1. This was available on a previous version but somehow got lost after an upgrade to 2.0.11 – Let’s see what Microsoft has to say about this.

  7. Yes. Please let me when this interactive hands raise options will be available on Android’s as well. It would be very helpful for kids while attending online schools

  8. I don’t have the hands up option on my toolbar, checked with colleagues, theirs do, just appears to be missing from only from my toolbar. Any advice welcome.

    1. I really can’t say. The usual things to make sure that the code is on a PC are to a) update your client, b) sign out and sign back in again, and c) reboot your PC.

      I have no idea of your configuration and don’t do remote debugging. Maybe you should ask your local Teams admin to help?

  9. If multiple hands are raised how do you number raised hands? Who raised the hand first, second etc…???

    1. It’s just like scanning a crowded room. It’s up to the presenter to choose which hand to acknowledge.

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