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Delivering online meetings and events

At a moment when organizations across the world are adjusting to remote work, we’re all learning new ways to keep our employees, customers, and business partners connected and informed. Without being able to get together in person, we need new approaches to everything from customer meetings and employee training calls to large events like CEO town halls and global sales conferences.

Many of our customers have asked us: How can we make these gatherings as effective online as in person? Microsoft Teams MeetingsMicrosoft 365 live eventsLinkedIn Live, and—coming soon—PowerPoint Live are all designed to help you create engaging, effective virtual gatherings. And we want to help you make the most of them. Here I’ll walk you through each of these tools and capabilities, and let you know which type of meetings they’re best suited to. Let’s get started.

Microsoft Teams Meetings—collaborative video and audio meetings for 250 people or fewer

If your meeting has 250 or fewer attendees, Microsoft Teams Meetings can be a great tool to enable interactive, collaborative meetings with both internal and external participants. You can meet from anywhere, screen-share, and collaborate on documents in real time while making use of accessibility features like live captions. Prior to a meeting, an organizer can send a note or even post a short video clip within the meeting chat window to broadcast preparatory thoughts. And for brainstorm sessions, you can fire up the Whiteboard app within Teams to bring ideas to life. If an attendee has to miss a meeting, they can also ask other attendees to record it, then catch up later. A recorded video of the meeting, along with a searchable transcript, is automatically available to all meeting invitees. Finally, posted content and chats remain in the meeting on Teams, so you can return to it and easily find what you need.

You can also hold impromptu meetings while you’re already collaborating in Teams on a project or task; persistent meeting recording and notes help keep everyone in the Teams channel up to date. With all the relevant meeting content and discussions in one place, you can spend less time hunting down information and staying focused and engaged on what matters, before, during, and after meetings. And while poor connectivity, or attendees that need to jump into a meeting while they are on the go, can be a challenge with online meetings—with Teams they can connect with their phone number using audio conferencing.

Companies like Cerner and St Luke’s are using Teams chat and meetings capabilities to foster innovation and better patient care.

Earlier this month, our customer, Nuance Communications planned to hold their global Research & Development (R&D) conference in Montreal hosting several hundred attendees. Because of the travel restrictions, they had to quickly change course. They decided to pivot to a virtual-only conference using Microsoft Teams. They successfully made the switch to a fully virtualized conference in a few days’ time. In terms of ROI, last year they spent approximately $700,000 on their Global R&D conference. This year, the cost is close to zero. And because they used Microsoft Teams, there was no carbon footprint impact from global travel.

New to setting up meetings in Teams? Here are some helpful suggestions on how to use Teams Meetings and take advantage of the integrated collaboration experience in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft 365 live events—broadcast-style meetings for up to 10,000 attendees

When you’re gathering more than 250 people, and up to 10,000 people, consider Microsoft 365 live events. Live events is not a standalone product; it is a set of capabilities that enable “broadcast-style” video presentations, both live and on-demand, with distinct presenter and audience roles as well as interactions like moderated Q&As that don’t require external attendee registration. With live events, you can use webcams and screen-sharing for informal presentations, or opt for studio-quality professional production for more formal events.

To deliver live events, you can choose to host them in Teams, Yammer, or Stream. The best tool for the job will depend on the format, purpose, and audience of your presentation.

We suggest hosting live events in Yammer when you want to engage a broad internal community or reach employees company-wide on a topic with ongoing engagement. CEO town halls and Ask Me Anything (AMA) events work well in Yammer. You can use webcams and screen-sharing, or for more studio-quality broadcasts, additional production tools can be used.

Host live events in Stream when you’re delivering internal live or on-demand video for learning, training, or other specialized topics. Live broadcasts can be viewed in Stream or embedded on custom intranet pages or other hosting spots, and when the event ends employees can find them there later. These events also use additional production tools to enable studio-quality broadcasts.

Live events in Teams is a great way to structure and deliver large broadcast-style internal and external events to reach employees, customers, and business partners. When they host live events in Teams, presenters can connect via their camera and share screens in just a few clicks. Attendees can participate from any browser or device just as easily as attending a Teams meeting, and moderated Q&A and live captions are available to enhance the attendee experience. For more formal events, event organizers can opt for professional broadcasts that use additional video production tools. Organizations like Catholic Education of Western Australia are already maximizing their digital presence to help their students and faculty, with use of Microsoft Teams and live events.

To read more about ways to get your teams set up for success, here are some best practices and guidance on how to get started delivering live events today.

This month, we also launched the Microsoft 365 live events assistance program to help teams and organizations start using these new event capabilities to create engaging, impactful virtual events right away.

LinkedIn Live—broadcast events to a broad community of professionals

LinkedIn Live makes it easy to engage the broad professional community of LinkedIn members in real time. You can use it to broadcast keynote speeches, panels, thought leadership talks, news, and announcements to thousands of your LinkedIn page followers and engage even more LinkedIn members with the replay. Institutions like the World Health Organization are using it to host live Q&A sessions and media briefs to share information. And BMWMercedes Benz, and Damier AG all recently used LinkedIn Live to broadcast press conferences unveiling their new cars, when fewer people were expected to attend the in-person premiere.

Here’s more on how to get started with LinkedIn Live.

PowerPoint Live presentations—engage training and presentation audiences in new ways

Coming soon, PowerPoint Live in PowerPoint for the web will allow companies to conduct trainings and engage audiences in new ways. Presenters will be able to use it to share slides. Using a QR code or short link, viewers can join and follow along with live subtitles in more than 60 languages on their personal devices. The feature also includes live reactions and a participant survey; when it’s complete, an automatically generated email to the presenter provides aggregated audience feedback and corresponding recommendations and insights to improve future presentations and trainings. This feature is helpful both for educational organizations and businesses.

What about attendee registration, reporting, and CRM integration?

These Microsoft solutions are great for many types of online meetings and events, but you may have specific requirements to register and manage event attendees. If you need to deliver an external event with attendee registration, attendee reporting, and CRM integration, we recommend you use more specialized solutions. At Microsoft, for example, we use ON24 for external events that require event registration. By integrating it with Adobe marketing automation tools we’re able to do lead scoring and post-event follow-ups.

At a moment when many of us are moving to remote work, many meetings and events are also moving online. We know how important it is to be able to communicate and collaborate with your teams, employees, customers, and partners, and we hope you’ve found this advice helpful in planning your upcoming online meetings and events. With Microsoft Teams MeetingsMicrosoft 365 live eventsLinkedIn LivePowerPoint Live, we want to help you choose the right tool to deliver what is needed for your business.

Photo by Tirachardz on Freepik

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