If your organisation is using Microsoft Teams for meetings, you need to understand some changes to meeting chat conversations. Meeting chat is where some of the greatest value is shared. You need to understand who can access meeting chat when they can access the chat and for how long.
I pulled together a demo to test the different experiences of meeting chat. I tested the different ways a person can be invited to a meeting and join a meeting. This is a sums features and capabilities as of . If you are watching this a year from now, 6 months, heck even 2 weeks from now… you might see a different experience.
Let’s start by talking about online meetings. They are part of everyday life now. Working in the new normal means that online meetings are the most common way to include people working remotely and in the office when we collaborate. But we really should try to reduce the time we are in meetings and try to collaborate through conversation in our own timing – through meeting chat.
If your organisation uses Microsoft Teams for meetings and collaboration, you now need to consider who will have full access to the meeting chat and who will have temporary access.
Full access means you can see the entire history of the conversation. You can join the conversation before the meeting. You can share files and access files others have shared. This is the fullest experience of meeting chat and you can engage in it before, during and after the meeting.
When you have temporary access to meeting chat, it means you can only join the conversation when you join the meeting. You only see chat and responses in the conversation from the time you join the meeting till the time you leave. You can access files that were shared during that time. You can access the meeting recording. But as soon as the meeting finishes and you leave, you can’t see any new posts and you can’t post to the conversation anymore.
Who has full access to the chat?
If you are required in the meeting invite or optional, you have full access too. Required people will add value to the meeting. They share ideas, present, discuss and decide. Optional people will find value from the meeting. They could add value but are not required to attend. When you are required or optional, you’ll be able to access the full chat conversation after the meeting, even when you didn’t attend. But there is an exception to this.
External Guest’s that are Required or Optional are from outside of your organisation. Today, guests have temporary access to the chat.
I have a problem with that. If a guest is invited as Required, the organiser has determined that the guest will add value to the meeting. They are attending to collaborate, share ideas, even escort in Surprise present.
Who has temporary access to the meeting conversation?
Sometimes a meeting organiser edits the invite to add required and optional people. The invite has already been sent. But the additional people are invited because they will add and find value in attending. Let’s call this group the Edited Invite attendees. They only have temporary access to the meeting chat, even though the organiser added them to the invite before the meeting.
I find this strange. The meeting organiser has edited and extended the invite to them. They should have the same experience as those who were included in the original invite. To me, the meeting organiser is like an owner of a file and the invite is the file. When an organiser adds your name to the invite, the permissions are set. Maybe this is a meeting option we need. To be able to define who has full and temporary access to the meeting conversation when we create and edit the invite.
Sometimes a person who has been invited wants to add another person to the meeting because they think they will add value. They forward the invite and it is accepted. The meeting organiser is notified about the forwarded invite and receives the RSVP response. A person who accepts a forwarded invite only has temporary access to the meeting chat. Should they have full access if an organiser accepts their RSVP?
Meeting organisers may need to make a meeting widely available for people to attend. A good example of this is a webinar or an open meeting. They publish a link that people can use to join the meeting. A person joining a meeting using a link has temporary access to a meeting chat. But that makes sense given they don’t have an invite in their calendar.
Lastly, people are invited to join a running meeting. They can add value to the meeting at that moment in the conversation. They have temporary access to the meeting chat. In some cases, they shouldn’t see meeting chat before they joined… They don’t need to see chat after they leave the meeting.
Organising a meeting and giving access to meeting chat access should be simple. But it’s another thing for meeting organisers need to anticipate when planning their meeting. It has become a frustration, especially after the meeting. A meeting organiser or attendee can ask follow up questions, post responses, discuss tasks, share additional resources. Some of the greatest value comes from the conversation after a meeting. But now, it is not immediately clear who will still be included in the conversation.
If some of the greatest value is realised in post-meeting conversation, who do you think should continue to have access? People who have been added to an edited meeting invite should have full access. The meeting organiser added them after the original invite was sent. External Guests should if they were required. But we need more control over this for different scenarios. A Guest may be a collaborator who needs full access to the conversation so they can continue to collaborate. A Guest might be a presenter and need to respond to follow up questions. Or the Guest might just need temporary access to contribute ideas or receive information during the meeting.
This is a changing space. I should start all my videos now with a statement that the information and opinions are based on the experience at the time of the recording.