If you have run an event on Microsoft Teams Live Events, you may have come across some stumbling blocks. The platform makes it easy to create and run a live event, but there are also many things you should keep in mind, especially some mistakes you inevitably make the first time.
After running a few live demo sessions, webinars, and our own All Things Microsoft Teams online event, we’ve assembled a list of things to remember. Learn from our experience and check out these Microsoft Teams Live Events Tips and Tricks.
If you’re new to live events, read our How to set up Microsoft Teams Live Events blog for a basic overview of the platform. Now let’s dive right into some essential tips and tricks to remember when running your own live event.
Content Sharing in Microsoft Teams Live Events
Content sharing may be the most significant thing you have to remember when running your event. Only one person can share their screen at a time with the audience. As a producer, you only have one content slot, and whoever shares their screen last fills up that spot.
If another presenter or producer decides to share their screen, it will immediately take over your content. This can be an issue while you’re sharing your own content live with the audience.
The best way to prevent any sudden interruptions is to let all your producers and presenters know about this issue. Remind them to only share their screen when they’re ready to take over and present their content. It’s a small thing, but it can derail your event. So it’s a good idea to emphasize this to everyone beforehand.
Another thing to remember when sharing content is when you click to share content, your entire Microsoft Teams window minimizes. This can be disorienting when you are a producer and need to switch cameras and content actively. Those few seconds of clicking back to Microsoft Teams may cause you to miss the mark on some changes.
It’s a good idea to practice sharing your content and transitioning between different speakers and presentations before your live event.
Time Zones and Scheduling in Microsoft Teams Live Events
When you schedule a Teams Live Event, you are scheduling it from your time zone. A problem can occur when hosting a public event, and your attendees are given only a public link. There is no automatic calendar file that can leave some attendees unsure when the live event starts. This is even more important if you’re running a public international event.
To make sure your attendees don’t log in too early or too late, we suggest you create your own calendar file with the public attendee link and all the essential info embedded into the calendar. This way, instead of sharing the link, you can send attendees a calendar file that will automatically adjust to their time zone. This should make things clearer for them.
Also, be sure to state on your website, social media, and any email correspondence what time your live event starts and list a few different time zones to make it clear. Ideally, try to have the time zone adjust automatically to the attendee’s location. Below is an example of how our new web interface will adjust to the timezone of the viewer.
Registration and Confirmation Flow for Public Live Events
The ability for attendees to register does not exist in Microsoft Teams Live Events. Since the attendee link is just a public link that requires no sign-up, there is no way to see how many people are interested or to gather their contact info. This is where some other webinar platforms have an advantage as they usually include functionality for the whole process. Some include registration, email reminders, as well as post-webinar polls and emails.
When we run our own public events, we want attendees to register to attend. This helps us prepare and lets us know how many people are interested in the specific event topic. It also allows us to message all registrants with the video recording or any last-minute changes, cancellations, or link changes.
We use a combination of email automation software, newsletter campaign apps, as well as apps to record registrants. However, using multiple apps can lead to more issues, as you are using apps that don’t always work well together.
If you end up using other applications alongside Microsoft Teams Live Events, we suggest you test and retest every point in the process so that your attendees have a smooth webinar experience. Everything needs to be well-timed and correct so that the experience from registration, to getting a reminder, to participating in the live event is smooth and flawless.
Manage the Attendee Link
If you want your attendees to register for your live event, sharing the attendee link must be carefully managed. A good tip is to use a link shortener and send the shortened link to all your attendees. This way, if there is an issue with the link and you need to change it, you can update the shortened link, and the attendee may not even notice any change.
If you end up using a link shortener, test and retest this link as sometimes the shortened link can cause problems for your attendees, and they can’t join. Try a variety of web browsers and test it in incognito mode.
Reminders for your Presenters
As much as an organizer and producer can be prepared for a live event, advise your presenters to test using Microsoft Teams Live Events. The last thing you want is your presenters having a technical problem or not being able to log in. The first thing your presenters need is to be using the Microsoft Teams app, or they will not be able to present. They will have to log in with the email address that received the invite to the live event.
Mute your Microphones
If you’re about to go live with your event, make sure you let all your presenters and producers know that they should mute their microphones if they are not supposed to be speaking. If you’re running a more extended event with presenters continually joining and leaving the event while broadcasting, remind your presenters that anything they say will be broadcast live to the audience. Kindly remind your presenters when they enter the event to have their microphones muted.
Screen Sharing Reminder
As mentioned above, presenters shouldn’t share their screen or presentation until they are about to start. If a screen is shared too early, it will end up hijacking any shared content that is currently broadcast live. Remind them of this issue before the live event.
External Guest Presenters
One last thing about having guest presenters is to double-check the domain of their email address. Suppose their domain is not the same as your organization’s domain. There shouldn’t be any issues unless that email address has also been added to your organization’s tenant (as a guest user, for example). These guest users will have to switch tenants in Microsoft Teams to your organization’s tenant, or they won’t be able to log in. That’s why it’s a good idea to have all your presenters and producers test logging themselves into the live event well in advance.
Q&A Functionality in Microsoft Teams Live Events
The Q&A functionality in Live Events is relatively basic. It’s a good idea to remind your audience about the Q&A function at the beginning of your event. Point out that it’s on the top right of the screen and for them to try it out.
As a producer, you can make announcements in the Q&A section. An introductory message to all attendees can get the conversation started. To keep your live event more interactive, remind your audience about the Q&A function and refer to the questions throughout the event to steer the conversation to the audience’s reaction.
Both producers and presenters can view and moderate the questions. A helpful suggestion is to have one person be responsible for Q&A moderation. The moderator can respond to questions privately, dismiss any irrelevant/inappropriate questions, or can publish the questions so that all attendees can see the question and then the moderator’s response.
The part that is not intuitive is you first have to publish the question and then respond to it. When publishing a question, any private responses will not be visible.
If you privately respond to the question and hit the “send” arrow button, your private response will still not be shown to the audience if you publish it after. First, publish any questions you want your audience to see, then respond to them in the chat or have your presenter verbally answer them during the live event.
In any case, it’s a good idea to practice using the Q&A function in a test run to avoid small mistakes like this during your live event.
Reporting in Microsoft Teams Live Events
The Q&A report and the attendee engagement report that you can download after your live event gives you a simple record of what happened during the live event.
For example, the attendee engagement report gives you a sequential list of every user joining and leaving the live event. To make better sense of it, try to use pivot tables so you can see when users logged on and off.
You can still use the Q&A report to respond to attendee questions after the event if you couldn’t answer them all during the live broadcast. Also, by looking at the time users joined and left in the attendee engagement report, you can begin to detect patterns. Maybe there was a section during the event where a lot of people joined or left. We used the reports ourselves to spot that some users joined too early, most likely misinterpreting the time zone. You can manage your reports in the live event settings.
Technical Issues and Bugs in Microsoft Teams Live Events
Like any application, there are always a few technical bugs, especially with many users trying an app they may have never used before. Here are some things to look out for:
Sound issues are probably the most common technical issue when running an online event. Make sure you test all microphones, speakers, and headphones before the event. Once everything is working, do not make any changes. We had an event where we checked all the equipment, and then someone switched microphones in the last second, and we couldn’t hear them at all for the first minute. It’s a good idea to retest your audio if you make any changes to the sound setup. Use the settings panel on the top right of the live event to make any necessary changes.
Besides checking producer and presenter sound settings, your attendees can sometimes have trouble hearing the audio. We have, on many occasions, received messages from attendees on the Q&A chat that they can’t hear anything. If you, as a producer, can hear all audio being broadcast, it is most likely an issue on the attendee’s side. You should reply to the attendee and ask them to log off and log back in again. Other options would be to try a different web browser or log in using Microsoft Teams. There is very little you can do except guide them through these steps and to check their sound settings.
A good idea is to ask anyone with a frozen screen to log out and log back in again. They should also try turning the camera off and on or unplugging and plugging it back in. If you have multiple web cameras plugged in, Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to switch between cameras, so try another camera. Check your video settings on the top right of the live event screen as well. These simple steps will most likely solve the issue that can happen on occasion.
Attendee Link and Login Issues
We’ve mentioned this earlier, but it’s essential to be ready for attendees having problems logging in or having issues with the attendee link. It may be a good idea to have your support team on standby an hour before the event.
Some issues can be mitigated if you test the attendee link thoroughly to see if it works by the time it gets to the attendee. We had one instance where the attendee link went through a link shortener, and due to an extra character being added accidentally, no one was able to log in anonymously. If there is a real problem where the link isn’t working anymore, or the event is canceled by accident, consider having a backup live event ready.
We suggest you send login instructions to your attendees in an email before the live event. It may also help those who are new to Microsoft Teams.
Anything Can Happen
Be prepared that anything can happen during a live event, so don’t let your guard down or get too comfortable. Any mistakes or errors are on full public display during your live event. The good thing is people have come to expect the occasional gaffe in a live online event. The best thing to do is to roll with the punches, make light of it, and move on. People are quite forgiving when it comes to these things.
About four hours into one of our online events, Microsoft Teams Live Events had a problem. Some producers and presenters were logged out of the live event and couldn’t log back in. We received an error message “Some features are unavailable – We’re working on getting live event features back to you”. The presenters who were still in the live event were able to continue and present. But the problem was no producers could log in to change the content. These things happen and are totally out of your control.
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