External presenters in a Teams Live Event

In my organization we often invite external experts to present for education purposes. Of course we already know that externals can present in a Teams meeting, although it really helps if they have a Microsoft365 account. See my earlier post.
But what about externals in a Teams Live Event? Yes, they can attend if the event is made public, but what about presenting?

I had already seen a comment on Twitter suggesting that presenters from outside the organization could not join, and recently I came upon a trick from Samantha Brown to overcome that, so I decided to find out how things work.

I set up an experiment:

  • I organized a public event and an organization-only event
  • I invited 4 external presenters:
    • with their own Microsoft 365 account and membership of a Team in the organization
    • no M365 account, but with membership of a Team in the organization
    • with Microsoft 365 account from another organization
    • with none of the above

I attempted to enter into the meeting, in each of the roles above.

So, what have I learned?

1. Presenters MUST use the Teams desktop app

We knew this already, but in case you have not read all Microsoft help: They must download the Teams desktop app. If they don’t, they will enter as attendee and can do nothing. So, if you have an external presenter joining the show, tell them to download the app to their PC – it is free but essential!

2. People with a Microsoft 365 account can present

Presenters with a Microsoft 365 account can enter both events and present. So again, if you are a lecturer and you are being invited regularly to speak at organizations that use Teams, you may want to invest in an M365 account – it is cheaper than Zoom and will make speaking life much easier for you. (And you will get a nice OneDrive and SharePoint and what not, with it!)

3. Presenters with a Microsoft 365 account best join from their Teams Calendar

They often end up as an attendee or get stuck in a weird sign-in loop if they join from the invitation email.

4. It does not matter if the meeting is public or internal only

If someone can present, they can do so in both event types. I assume they can also do it for a limited group, but I have not tested that.

5. External presenters may need to wait in the lobby, but only for the first entry

When a presenter enters the Event for the first time, they may need to wait in the lobby until someone from the organization lets them in. I found this to be the case for both M365 accounts, but not for the presenter who was only a Guest.
So if they drop out for a minute, or if they have used the Live Event for a practice session (without the producer pushing the Start button), they will enter immediately next time they log in.

6. People without Microsoft 365 account can present if they are a Guest in the organization

When they are a Guest, they do not need a Microsoft 365 account. As Sam mentions, adding them to a Team site makes them a Guest and then they are good to go. The organizer will see (Guest) behind their name when they invite them.
But there’s more: after you remove them from the Team site they can still be a presenter, because they are still on the Guest list and need to be removed from the admin center.
This is a bit of a security nightmare as it is up to an Administrator to remove them permanently, but as they do not know who has invited them, they do not know who to ask. And knowing my colleagues, nobody will ever think of submitting a ticket to remove someone from the systems, unless there is a calamity. So once a Guest, most likely always a Guest. 🙁

In this place in the Admin center you can remove Guest users.

7. People without a Microsoft 365 account that are no Guest can NOT enter the meeting as a presenter

They get an error message looking like this:

If your lecturer gets this message when they try to enter the Live Event as a presenter, they have no account and are no Guest.

Recommendation: Do a test meeting well in advance of the Event

If you are organizing or producing a Live Event, you may want to run a test meeting a few days before the Live Event, in order to check out if people have the Teams desktop app, if they have a M365 account or not, etc. This will give you time to adjust any issues before the Big Event!

Do you have any other tips or recommendations? Please let me know!

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