Microsoft Teams as a webinar solution

Microsoft Teams is evolving at a rapid pace. New features are released frequently and the technology seems to be keeping pace with the features that users are clamoring for. When Teams was first released, we considered canceling our webinar service, however, the webinar features we needed were not available in Teams.

This week Microsoft Teams is rolling out webinar capabilities within Microsoft Teams. This latest update to teams results in webinar support for up to 1000 attendees if interacting, and up to 10,000 for view only webinars.

In addition, another new feature is rolling out in Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint Live. This is an exciting announcement and will result in a better experience for the audience and the presenter. With PowerPoint Live, upcoming slides, notes, the meeting chat, and the audience can all be viewed in a single interface, making it easer for the presenter and audience members to interact with one another.

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A true webinar solution

We had several reasons for not immediately shifting over to Teams to host webinars. Primarily, we found that Teams didn’t have features like presenter controls, registration pages or post-webinar engagement metrics. We had gotten comfortable with the tools that provided these features. While some of this functionality could come from a third-party tool, we didn’t want to cobble together a solution just so we could use Teams to host an occasional webinar.

We have good news! These features are all available now within Teams.

Microsoft has provided detailed instructions on how to set up a webinar in Teams in this article.

Highlights of the new webinar capabilities in Microsoft Teams:

  • Hold interactive meetings and webinars for up to 1,000 attendees with Teams.
  • Custom registration pages and attendee emails
  • Rich presentation options
  • Host controls including the ability to disable attendee chat and video
  • Post-event reporting to understand participation and to follow up with attendees.
Image of meeting being set up in Microsoft Teams
Image: Microsoft

PowerPoint Live delivers a better webinar experience, for everyone

Screen sharing in Teams is a practical way to share information and collaborate, but PowerPoint Live is a true upgrade to screen sharing. It takes the webinar experience into into consideration and offers audiences a better experience overall. With PowerPoint Live, users can zoom in on content, chat, and offer feedback. And, as a presenter, You can view upcoming slides, notes, meeting chat, and the audience in a single view while presenting.

Webinar attendees can now privately navigate the content that is being presented at their own pace or using high contrast mode and screen readers to make content accessible. This is a feature that seems well conceived.

Image of PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams
Image: Microsoft

When can you start hosting webinars in Microsoft Teams?

New webinar features in Microsoft Teams are available in Microsoft 365 E3/E5, Microsoft 365 A3/A5, and Microsoft 365 Government G3/G5 plans. Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium plans can also use the features, but they are limited to up to 300 attendees. Over the next several months, we would expect to see more features added that enhance the capabilities of Microsoft Teams for this particular uses case.

If you are still using a mix of third-party tools and haven’t fully leveraged Microsoft 365, let’s talk. We can help you leverage the investment, reduce costs and leverage the full Microsoft 365 suite. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our experts.

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