5 Things every Microsoft Teams Meeting Newbie Should Know

Reading Time: 7 minutes

[UPDATE March 2020] All screen prints and instructions have been updated and validated as of March 20, 2020.

If you’re new to Microsoft Teams and need to get up-to-speed quickly on how to organize and participate in a Teams meeting, this post provides 5 things to start with.

The meeting tool-of-choice in Office 365 today is Microsoft Teams – a fantastic tool to enhance the meeting experience in several ways. This post covers the basic components of Microsoft Teams to organize and participate in a Teams meeting. If you’re a Microsoft Teams newbie, these features are a great place to start!

This is a joint post with a co-worker of mine, Ali Fadavinia. Ali and I work together on a large team rolling out Office 365 capabilities, including Microsoft Teams, to an organization.

Ali’s technical background is Network and Computer Software Engineering. He enjoys working with cutting-edge technologies and implementing them across infrastructures and organizations. He works with the Office 365 suite of products such as Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business in his daily work environment.

You can reach out to Ali via LinkedIn.

This post will cover:

Let’s dive in…

Setting up a Teams Meeting

In the past, many of you have used Skype for Business (SfB) for meetings by including a virtual link to your Outlook meeting invitations. You can do the same with Microsoft Teams!

What actions should be taken to see “New Teams Meeting” in your Outlook ribbon? You will need to install the Teams Desktop client and, once installed, Outlook will automatically show the new icon on the ribbon.New Teams meeting

As was done for SfB, this will add a Teams Meeting link at the bottom of your meeting invitation body so when the time comes, meeting attendees can join with the provided link:

Meeting invitation

Meeting with External Attendees

One of the really neat things about running a Teams meeting is anyone with an email address, both inside and outside your organisation, can take part! Here are the 3 main types of external attendees:

External Attendee 1: A user with no Microsoft Account (any email address)

Anyone with an email address and internet connection can access the call via the browser, simply by clicking the ‘Join on the web instead’ button (or dialing the dial-in number if you have that configured – refer  to External Attendee 3 option below):

This is what an external attendee will receive (this example is a gmail account):

Sample gmail meeting invitation

As the meeting organizer, you will be prompted to allow external people in from the lobby.

Lobby wait

External attendees can share their own desktop or app (this is dependent on the browser they’re using – refer to ‘Sharing content with other Attendees’ section below for more detail) making this an excellent way to have a conference call in Teams….without all attendees being in Teams!

External Attendee 2: A user with any Office 365 Account, as a Guest User

If the guests have Microsoft accounts, they can either use the web link as above or, if they click the ‘Open Microsoft Teams’ option and sign in to their Microsoft account, they can launch the Microsoft Teams client to get a richer user experience within the Teams meeting.

External Attendee 3: Anyone with a phone to dial in and join

You can also have a dial-in conference option so attendees can join the Microsoft Teams meeting from any device, anywhere. This requires Audio Conferencing which comes with an Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription or as an add-on to Office 365 E1 or E3. Where Audio Conferencing has been enabled by an Admin, users will automatically see the dial-in options for Microsoft Teams’ meetings added to each Teams meeting invitation (blurred in image). This is a great option if you anticipate some attendees to have low band-width.

Dial-in options

Recording your Teams Meeting

Why not record your meetings in Microsoft Teams? You can record Video, Audio, and shared screen activities for your Teams meeting. The recording is automatically saved to Microsoft Stream so later you can download, manage or even share it with your organization.

What’s the benefit? You have a record of what was discussed in the meeting to review and/or share with absent attendees. Also, the recording can later be used for other business use-cases in your organization such as: new product announcements, corporate news, training demos, etc.

How do we record our meeting in Microsoft Teams? Both the meeting organizer and internal attendees can start or stop the recording. External attendees will not be able to do this.

  • Start or join the meeting
  • Click on the ellipse “…”and then select “Start Recording” as shown below:

Start Recording

As the organizer, you will be notified you’re being recorded and will be given a reminder to tell your meeting attendees they are being recorded:

Meeting recording as organizer

This is what the meeting attendees will see:

Meeting recording as attendee

To stop recording, go to the meeting controls on the ellipsis “…” and click “stop recording” from the same menu.

How do you replay a meeting in Microsoft Teams? Both the meeting organizer and all internal attendees can replay a recorded meeting.

Note: external guests CANNOT replay a recorded meeting.

To do this, you will go to either the Channel conversation history in Teams if the meeting was created in a Teams channel OR the chat history in Teams if the meeting was created outside of a Teams channel (directly from Outlook or a Group chat). Find the video recording for the meeting, and click “Play” to automatically play the meeting recording thru Microsoft Stream.

Meeting record in Stream

Further details on how to record a meeting in Teams can be found here.

Blurring your Background

If you work in a busy or open cubicle environment, this is a useful feature for meeting and video calls. Sometimes you may have confidential information on your walls, you may be on your commute, or you may be working from home or a coffee shop with lots of visual distraction in the background. The background blur feature cleverly blurs the surroundings behind you while leaving you clear and un-blurred.

To activate Background Blur for yourself during meetings, click on the ellipsis “…”on the call menu and select “Blur my background”.

Blur my background

Sharing Content with other Attendees

If you want to share any content during the meeting (your desktop, a presentation, a document, etc.), you can do this by following these steps:

Select Share:

Share desktop

You will receive a prompt to share your desktop or any of your open applications individually. The options you see depend on if you are using the Microsoft Teams client or the web app (see ‘Good to know’ section below). You can also share a Microsoft Whiteboard which is a great option for group collaboration on a virtual whiteboard. If you don’t see what you want in the options shown to you, you can browse to find your content to share. If you need to include system audio (For example, sharing a youtube video with your attendees), make sure you check the ‘Include system audio’ checkbox:

Sharing options

Note: If you have multiple monitors and you share your desktop, a red border will surround the monitor’s desktop being shared with attendees.

To stop sharing, click the Stop sharing icon:

Stop sharing

Good to know…

  • In the Teams client application, both desktop sharing and application sharing is available.
  • If you share your desktop, your entire screen will be displayed. If you share one of your open applications (e.g. PowerPoint, Word), it will be the only one displayed. The screen/application being shared will be surrounded by a red border.
  • If you join via a web browser, the sharing options available to you will vary depending on the browser being used. As of March 2020:
    • Chrome: can share desktop/window, apps, and whiteboard
    • Chromium-based Edge: can share desktop/window, apps, and whiteboard
    • Edge: can share apps and whiteboard (no desktop/window)

Ending the call

Last, but not least… to end/leave a meeting, simply click the big red button to hang up!

End the call

Extras based on feedback

Limit of 4 people shown in Teams meeting UI: As of March 2020, you will only see the active video for the last 4 people that have spoken in the chat/meeting. Increasing this is on the product roadmap for Teams. If you want to vote on the Uservoice, here’s the link: Show all people in Teams Meeting

What’s Next?

There’s lots more to learn about Microsoft Teams and meetings is only one part of what it does. Hopefully you found this post helpful to get you comfortable organizing and joining a Team meeting.

Thanks for reading!

Ali and JCK


  1. Great quick overview! Something I learned from experience which is a huge improvement over Skype for Business is that even if you are the organizer and owner, if you have an unexpected computer event, the meeting will continue, as will the recording, while you scramble to get back up. With SfB this would at minimum cause the recording to be lost.

  2. Hi Joanne,
    Great post — lots of good info. One question: in Sfb or webex if you share an application and then move focus off that app (on the same monitor), attendees see a grey or black image until you (as the moderator) refocus your screen on that app. Do you know if that occurs in Teams? It’s a real limitation.

  3. Thanks Joanne, great post. one the this I am struggling with is that i use the tool for interviews and need to type answers into a document whilst “meeting” the person. when i move to the work document (which I do not want them to see) I lose the video and thus need to flip back and forth between seeing them and typing answers. any advice?

  4. I’d still love to just a) How to see who attended a Teams meeting after the meeting without having to do screen captures of the attendee list at various points during the meeting b) How to do screen captures of the shared content without having the Teams status/icon bar pop up at the bottom of the image.

  5. Is there anyway that we can hide record notification to others like i have started recording?? also after finishing call it should not send in the same conversation group??

  6. Hi Joanne, Is there a way to send a sound effect to a MS Teams group? Also, Is there a way to create a meeting for a preset team within the team app. That is, without having to add individuals?

    1. Hi Stephen, I don’t know of a way to send a sound effect. I think you need to add at least 1 individual for a preset meeting.

      1. Hey Eric, thanks for making this clarification… i was thinking they wanted to send a wave file in a chat.

    1. Hi Azad,
      There’s no awesome solution to this at this time – you would have to export it from Stream and send it to them that way.

  7. Is there a way to record both the audio and the visual with the recording feature? When I clicked record on a recent meeting all that got recorded was the audio, and I’d like to get the visual element too.

    1. Hi Lauren,
      The recording is for both audio and video. Were you sharing your desktop/app with the attendees? This is what will be recorded.

      1. I was hoping to record the faces of the individuals calling in (similar to what Skype does when you record a conversation). Would sharing my screen still allow me to see everyone who is showing their faces in Teams and allow that conversation to be recorded?and have the conversation recorded?

        If it helps, my goal/hope is to use teams to create a video that shows people talking back and forth and engaging with each other in the windows similar to the opening of The Brady Bunch.

  8. Hello – Question regarding recording the meeting and screen share. I held a meeting this morning, began the recording and activated the screen share. When I went to review the meeting afterwards the only thing I could see was the participants, not the screen share. Am I missing a step? – Appreciate your help!

    1. Hi Jenn,
      Thanks for reaching out! You should also see the screen share in the recording. Hard for me to troubleshoot much after-the-fact… however, were you sharing an app or your desktop? Look for the red border around the thing you’re sharing. It should be recording the same thing everyone in the meeting is looking at.

      1. Hi,

        I had the same problem as Jenn Cole above. The shared screen did not show on the recording, only the participants . The issue seems to be random, a couple of people at my organisation experienced the same thing, although it worked well for some of us before.

      2. Hi Dimby and Jenn,
        Not sure what the problem could be. If you’re sharing your desktop or app and have confirmed with everyone else they’re seeing it and you have hit the ‘Start recording’ button, and then stop the recording at the end of the meeting, I’m not sure what the problem could be. If you have done all of these things and the recording doesn’t have your shared desktop/app, my best advice would be to open up a ticket with MSFT.

  9. If you only have a free account can you still start and run a meeting ? It is not clear as most posts on MS Teams assume at least one person has a paid subscription.

  10. Thanks Joanne, the MS page is open to a lot of interpretation !

    By nothing scheduled you mean I think scheduled via the MS Teams scheduling facility.

    You can of course still arrange it outside MS Teams by email, phone or whatever as one group I am involved in does. All we do is send all the members the meeting time & date & the link by email. However the person who creates the link does this from their office MS Teams account.

    I am not sure the MS Teams scheduling will work with the Linux Client in fact I have a suspicion it might ‘corrupt’ a Linux Evolution Groupware contacts file but I need to prove that.

    1. Hi John, yes i mean scheduled as a Teams meeting using built-in functionality . Sorry i can’t help you much more than this, particularly with the Linux client.

  11. Hi! Is there a way to show all participants on screen at once vs only the person who is talking? I know I can do that with Zoom but can’t seem to find this capability on Teams.

    1. Hi Judy, you can currently only show up to 4 participants at a time in Teams – this is 1 of the current differences from Zoom. There is a uservoice on this exact request.

      1. my screen only shows their circle with initials unless they are talking then they go full screen? How do I see 4 others?

      2. Hi Debbie, you should be able to see up to a maximum of 4 attendees/speakers at once. I’ve heard there are others currently experiencing this issue. I’ve seen this mostly in the Teams Web App, if you are using that try the desktop client instead. Please let’s me know if that fixes it so others can benefit by reading this thread.

  12. Hi there, thanks for this really useful post. As someone said above, I can only see the person who is speaking on screen and not the other participants (even if only three or four of us). Is there a setting so that I can see everyone in a meeting at once (up to four people)? I couldn’t find it.

    1. Hi Emmanuelle, you should be able to see up to a maximum of 4 attendees/speakers at once. I’ve heard there are others currently experiencing this issue. I’ve seen this mostly in the Teams Web App, if you are using that try the desktop client instead. Please let’s me know if that fixes it so others can benefit by reading this thread.

  13. Hi, how do I moderate a discussion in Teams? If I work with a larger group and I ask a question, how do I know who wishes to respond and how do I “call on” that person? Thanks!

    1. Hi, the ability for an attendee to raise their hand in a Teams meeting (to help with moderation) is not currently available (March 2020) however that capability is coming.

  14. Hello Joanne Klein,
    I am setting up classroom in Teams. I was intending to add all the students as members but maybe I could just post the invite on the LMS. Would that impact the students experience? I get the impression that an external client has less functionality on Teams but I am not sure what qualifies a participant as an external client?

  15. Hi, I am unable to use whiteboard in a teams meeting. even if I share the application with other attendees, they are unable to see whiteboard. Could you please help

    1. You could also try opening up the whiteboard and either sharing it directly or sharing your desktop. Also, you can pre-share the whiteboard link to your attendees and get them to open it either from the browser(whiteboard.microsoft.com) or their own desktop app. Let me know if any of those work for you.

  16. Hi,
    We are a team of 10 using Teams every day now.
    During a call, we can only see 4 participants on our screen at any one time.
    Is there a way of showing all 10 of us – if we have our cameras on?
    This would be really helpful whilst we are all working from home.

    1. Hi Kari,
      No, this is not possible. The maximum right now is 4 – this is on the roadmap for Teams and I imagine they are working hard to roll out this change as soon as they can as a lot of teams are wanting this.

    1. Hi Gabriel, not that I’m aware of. It’s based on who last spoke. You can pin members but i think that’s just for each person to control.

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