Chat Useful for Most Teams Meetings
Now rolling out worldwide, Microsoft is giving Teams meeting organizers more control over chat between meeting participants. By default, Teams allows meeting participants to chat before, during, and after online meetings. As soon as a meeting is created, the online workspace for the meeting is available. Chat is one of the most useful of the resources available for meetings. It allows participants to share ideas, ask questions, note follow-up actions, and swap opinions. Because the chat is available before the meeting, participants allowed to bypass the meeting lobby can prepare for a call by posting links, agenda items, or anything else deemed useful.
In most cases, open discussion and interaction between meeting participants is what you want to encourage, and organizers are happy to let chat proceed. However, it’s also true that sometimes extra control is needed. For instance, if you want attendees to stay focused and pay attention to formal presentations, you can disable chat. People can still be distracted by other applications running on their workstation, but at least the constant ping of chat notifications is taken out of the equation.
Applying Control to Chat Through Meeting Settings
Disabling chat completely is possibly more likely for Teams meetings in the education space rather than commercial enterprises. As described in MC224359 (last updated 21 November, Microsoft 365 roadmap item 67175), after a meeting is created, the organizer can update its settings to:
- Disable chat for the meeting completely.
- Enable chat only during the meeting. In other words, participants can only access access after the meeting is started by an authenticated user.
- Enable before, after, and during the meeting (the default).
Meeting organizers always have access to chat. For instance, if a meeting chat is limited to just while the meeting is active, the organizer can set up questions, meeting notes, and meeting polls that they wish to use after participants join. People can access the chat before the meeting starts but they’ll see a notice that chat is unavailable (Figure 2) and the compose box for new messages is hidden.
Meeting organizers can update the meeting chat option after a meeting starts through Meeting options (Figure 3).
The control is per meeting and you cannot change the default so that all meetings created by an individual user or the tenant as a whole has chat disabled or enabled just during meetings.
The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is much more concerned with tenant management than features like control over Teams meeting chat. But it’s important to keep up to date with what’s going on, and that’s what we do.