Microsoft Teams may be one of the most popular Workstream Collaboration apps available right now, but there’s no denying that the free version of Microsoft Teams has always lacked something really important – the ability to have private ad-hoc meetings.
Up until now, Microsoft Teams Free users could only have meetings in team channels. And any member of the team who had access to the channel could join the meeting. Of course, there were workarounds for that: you could create new channels with restricted access or create Group chats and meet there. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was a lengthy road to privacy. But that has finally changed now!
Microsoft Teams Free now has a dedicated ‘Meeting’ tab where you can host private meetings at any time. These meetings are invite-only, unlike the channel meetings that are still available. The new Meeting tab has also added additional support for hosting scheduled meetings that was not available for Microsoft Teams Free users till now. All in all, it is a good update!
Start a Teams Meeting without a Teams Channel
It is quite simple to use. Open the Microsoft Teams desktop app or go to teams.microsoft.com to use the web app. The feature is not available on the mobile app, yet.
Click on the ‘Meetings’ option on the navigation panel on the left in Teams app.
Note: If the option isn’t yet available in your desktop app, try updating Teams app. If it isn’t available even after updating to the latest version, then waiting is the only option as the feature has only begun rolling out and will reach different users at a different pace.
The Microsoft Teams meeting screen will open. Click on ‘Meet now’ to have a private ad-hoc meeting.
You will be able to tweak a few settings before starting a meeting like audio and video settings, setting a virtual background, meeting name, etc. When you’re ready, click the ‘Join now’ button.
The meeting will begin and you will be able to invite people to join the meeting by either copying the meeting link or via email. You can invite organization members as well as outsiders (guests) to join the meeting.
Schedule a Meeting in Microsoft Teams
On the new Meeting panel in Microsoft Teams, you’ll also notice the ‘Schedule’ option which lets you effortlessly schedule video meetings with team members and guests alike.
To schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams, click on the ‘Meetings’ option on the left side and select the ‘Schedule a meeting’ option from the Meetings screen.
On the pop-up dialog that shows, add a title/name for the meeting and configure the start and end time. When you’re done setting the scheduling options, click the ‘Schedule’ button on the bottom-right of the dialog.
Teams will schedule the meeting and give you options to copy the meeting invitation details to share with the participants you want to invite, or you could also use the ‘Share via Google Calendar’ option to send everyone an invite and mark their calendars as well.
Meetings got a whole lot better in Microsoft Teams. You can still have meetings in channels when you need to meet with your whole team. But for meetings that are only open to certain people, there is no need to go through lengthy manoeuvres anymore. The Meeting tab is there for you!