Hosting a webinar with Microsoft Teams: tips from the field

Over the past 1.5 years, we have all - by necessity - found our way to tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. I'll talk about Zoom later. Today it's about Microsoft Teams and how to easily set up a webinar or live event with it. Written with years of hands-on experience.


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Tip 1: Use 'Webinar' in Microsoft Teams

For several months now, you have been able to go into Microsoft Teams In addition to a 'New Meeting', create a 'Webinar' in your calendar. Webinar contains some specific features that we as marketers need for organizing online events. I'll go over a few of them:

Create subscription page

When you create a Webinar in Microsoft Teams, a sign-up page is automatically created behind it.
Useful for when you are not so handy with creating this kind of event page yourself. And it gives a very professional impression to your webinar.

Sample Webinar via Microsoft Teams

Confirmation email after registration

Microsoft not only provides a registration form for your event, participants also automatically receive a confirmation email with Outlook invitation attached:

Confirmation email - Webinar via Microsoft Teams

Overview registrations and participants

As an organizer, you can find an overview of the number of registered participants in Teams. After the end of your webinar, you can see in another report who actually attended. So no more manual checks needed.

Attendance and Registration Microsoft Teams

Tip 2: PowerPoint Live

Another relatively new feature in Teams is PowerPoint Live. In addition to your screen, you can now share a specific PowerPoint. This with some very handy features for presenters and organizers:

PowerPoint Live - Microsoft Teams

I zoom in briefly on some very useful features:

  • Presenter Mode: classic view or 'picture in picture'
  • Browse presentation: Are participants allowed to browse your presentation or not?
  • All in one view: current slide, next slides, notes and highlight options

Tip 3: Set your background

With the government again requiring us to work from home whenever possible, as a presenter it is not abnormal to present from your bedroom. But that's why your contestants don't need to see this, right? Even as a contestant, it is a small effort to take a moment to set a personalized background.

How to. Even before you start the meeting, choose 'Background filters' > 'Background settings'.

Background filters in Microsoft Teams

Tip 4: Options for meeting

One feature that many marketers don't know about is "Meeting Options." However, there are some handy options hidden there:

Meeting options in Microsoft Teams

I pick out a few:

  • Lobby: determine who should wait in the virtual lobby
  • Presenting: Can anyone just share their screen, or do you mainly determine who can present?
  • Microphone: Do you allow participants to use their microphones?
  • Camera: if desired, you can disable the participants' webcam here
  • Chat messages: Do you allow participants to ask questions via chat?

Tip 5: Share your screen (in a timely manner)

I regularly attend online events where there is an awkward silence at the beginning with the participants. Especially when participants do not know each other and the presenter does not initiate dialogue. If interaction is not directly the intent of the call or participants are muted, it's better to start sharing your screen well in advance.

Tip: did you know that you can also share your sound? Useful for a video in a PowerPoint presentation, for example.

Tip 6: (Your own) Together Mode

The Together Mode came new to Teams in the spring. It can give an extra dimension to your Teams calls. The only condition is that your participants have selected the view as 'current view'. Ultimately, you as a participant still decide which view you prefer.

Microsoft provides a lot of standard templates (e.g. round table, auditorium, etc), but you can relatively easily create your own Together Mode via the Microsoft Developer Portal. Nice to still have the feeling of meeting in the office, for example, or to work around a certain theme. For example, Halloween:

Developer Portal - Create Teams Background - Together Mode

Tip 7: Breakout Rooms

That Microsoft is listening to the feedback of its users proves the following feature: Breakout Rooms. Until recently a much requested feature. With Breakout Rooms you can divide your audience into 2 or more small groups. As an organizer you can choose to divide the groups automatically or manually:

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

Tip 8: Go for interaction

Last but not least, go for interactive webinars. According to studies, we can only concentrate for 10 minutes during meetings online. So as an organizer, it's a matter of keeping your audience alert. If you want to keep it low key, you can let them answer questions via chat, or use the poll function in Teams.

Poll in Microsoft Teams

Tom Hufkens

Tom Hufkens

Passionate about online marketing & founder of this blog. In daily life Marketing Manager at a Belgian ICT company.

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Just because you present from your bedroom does not mean that participants necessarily have to see it too.